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What dogs can take down a Cane Corso?

Kangal vs Cane Corso: What’s the Difference?

With all of the giant dogs breeds out there, you may be wondering what the difference is between a Kangal and Cane Corso. What do these two dog breeds share with one another, and what differences drive them apart? In this article, we will attempt to answer all of these questions and more.

We will address the appearances, ancestries, and behavior of both of these breeds. Additionally, we will go over what they were originally bred for, their lifespans, and what you might expect out of owning either of these two regal dog breeds. Let’s get started and talk about Kangals and Cane Corsos now!

Comparing Kangal vs Cane Corso

Kangal vs Cane Corso

KangalCane Corso
Size30-32 inches tall; 90-145 pounds23-28 inches tall; 80-110 pounds
AppearanceLarge and impressive, with fawn fur and a black muzzle. Can come in other colors as well, though fawn is the most common. Floppy ears and a thick coatMuscular and powerful, with short, shiny fur. Comes in multiple colors, including black, red, gray, and fawn. Unique erect ears and a large head
AncestryOriginated in 12th century Turkey; used for livestock and home protection from a variety of predators, including lionsOriginated in Italy and used for guardianship and protection; used in war, though the breed almost went extinct in the mid-1900s
BehaviorExtremely loyal and protective of their family; may have trouble adapting to strangers given this protective nature. Very even-tempered and gentle when trained properlyMay challenge their owners in an attempt to be the leader, but thrives in a home with plenty of training and assertion. Very loyal and protective, capable of gentleness and confidence in many situations
Lifespan10-13 years9-12 years

Key Differences Between Kangal vs Cane Corso

Kangal vs Cane Corso

There are many key differences between Kangals and Cane Corso. The Kangal dog grows larger in both height and weight compared to the Cane Corso. Additionally, the Cane Corso has short, shiny fur, while the Kangal has thick and coarse fur. The Kangal originated long ago in Turkey, while the Cane Corso originated in Italy. Finally, the Kangal has a slightly longer lifespan than the Cane Corso.

Let’s take a look at all of these differences in more detail now.

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Kangal vs Cane Corso: Size

Kangal vs Cane Corso

One of the main things you will notice looking at a Kangal and a Cane Corso side by side is the fact that the Kangal is much larger than the Cane Corso. This is saying something, considering that they are both large to giant dogs. But just how much larger is the Kangal compared to the Cane Corso? Let’s take a closer look now.

The Kangal measures 30-32 inches tall on average, while the Cane Corso only measures 23-28 inches tall. The Cane Corso weighs 80-110 pounds, depending on gender, while the Kangal weighs 90-145 pounds on average. This is a fairly large size difference, especially if you aren’t expecting just how large the Kangal dog is!

Kangal vs Cane Corso: Appearance

Kangal vs Cane Corso

You can easily tell a Kangal apart from a Cane Corso using a variety of physical features. For example, the Cane Corso has short and glossy fur, while the coat of the Kangal is thick and coarse. Additionally, the Kangal typically has a fawn coat with a black muzzle, while the Cane Corso is found in a variety of colors, including black, fawn, gray, and red.

The ears of the Kangal are floppy and large, while the ears of the Cane Corso are pointed and small. While both of these dogs are extremely muscular and well-built, the head of the Cane Corso looks larger and more square compared to the head of the Kangal.

Kangal vs Cane Corso: Ancestry and Breeding

Kangal vs Cane Corso

While both of these dogs were bred for their protective qualities and fighting abilities, there are some differences in the ancestry of the Kangal and the Cane Corso. For example, the Kangal was originally bred in 12th-century Turkey, while the Cane Corso was originally bred in Italy. They were both used for protection but in slightly different ways. Let’s talk more about this now.

The Kangal is a millennia-old shepherd breed, also known as the Anatolian Shepherd or “Anatolian Lion.” Smarts, independence and an extremely strong bite are why it was bred to protect families, herds of livestock, livestock, and farmland from threats. These dogs excelled at guarding their families and homes against lions, jackals, cheetahs, wolves, and people.

The Cane Corso was originally bred to fight for and protect soldiers in battle. Later on, people began using the breed more to help hunt wild boar, and guard farms. It’s very fortunate that Italian enthusiasts brought this majestic breed back from the brink of extinction during the early 20th century.

Both of these breeds maintain their protective natures to this day and are prized for them. Let’s talk about their behaviors in a bit more detail.

Kangal vs Cane Corso: Behavior

Kangal vs Cane Corso

Both the Kangal and the Cane Corso are powerful protectors and watchdogs. They are ideal for families with plenty of space to roam, as these big dogs need a decent amount of stimulation to feel satisfied. However, the Kangal is less likely to challenge the dominance of its owner compared to the Cane Corso.

Both of these confident dogs need consistent training and assertiveness in order to find their place in their families. However, with adequate training, both the Cane Corso and the Kangal make fantastic family companions and watchdogs!

Kangal vs Cane Corso: Lifespan

Kangal vs Cane Corso

The final difference between the Kangal and the Cane Corso is their lifespans. Despite the Kangal being larger than the Cane Corso, their lifespan is slightly longer. Most large dogs live shorter lives than smaller dogs, but this doesn’t appear to be the case with Kangals and Cane Corsos.

For example, the Kangal lives an average of 10-13 years, while the Cane Corso lives 9-12 years. However, it always depends on the health and wellness of each individual dog. Make sure your Kangal or Cane Corso gets a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise to keep healthy!

Could a Kangal Beat a Wolf in a Fight?

We know that Kangals were bred to protect livestock from wolves and other threats – but how well would they do in an all-out fight? Actually, the answer, if you consider bite force only, is that the Kangal could almost certainly win against one lone wolf. A wolf has a bite force of 400 PSI – but a Kangal has a bone-crushing bite force of 743 PSI. The wolf may or may not be a better fighter – but the Kangal’s jaws could do more damage.

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Cane Corsos

Black Cane Corso puppy sitting down

The statuesque Cane Corso is a huge Italian guarding dog. Its name in Latin literally means ‘bodyguard dog’ and they have the physical stature to match.

Since being used as war dogs in Roman times they have since evolved into hunters and farm dogs used to look after livestock. These days they’re more commonly companion dogs, although they’re still a very rare breed in the UK.

Cane Corsos aren’t a breed that’s recognised by the UK Kennel Club, but the Cane Corso Kennel Club UK is a group of enthusiasts that provide lots of information about these dogs. They were recognised by the Italian Kennel Club in 1990.

Cane Corso types and colours

Cane Corsos usually come in a range of black to grey colours, but they can also be found in brindle, merle, or even white.

They’re sometimes referred to as ‘King Corso’ or ‘King Cane Corso’, but there’s no real difference and this isn’t a variant.

Some people believe the Cane Corso is a banned breed in the UK, but this isn’t true. There aren’t actually any banned breeds, just ‘types’ which have characteristics described in the Dangerous Dogs Act.

But as Cane Corsos aren’t recognised as a breed in the UK, they could potentially resemble the types on the list, including Dogo Argentino or Pit Bull Terrier, especially if they’re crossed with other large dog breeds.

You might see some Cane Corsos with sharp, pointy ears and short tails. This isn’t a different type and they’re not born like this. Their tails and ears will have been cruelly cropped and docked – both of these mutilations are illegal in the UK.

Cane Corso temperament and characteristics

Cane Corsos are mastiff-type dogs with strong working roots. While that means they’re highly trainable, without the proper training and socialisation their behaviour can become problematic and they’re not a dog for the inexperienced owner.

They’re independent and strong-willed, which combined with their huge size and strength could make them dangerous in the wrong hands.

They do love a job to do, so to avoid behaviour problems owners can focus training on imitating tasks like herding or guarding, or even fun games like agility and scent work.

Cane Corso insurance

Although Cane Corsos are a pretty rare breed in the UK, they’re fairly popular with our customers. We covered 1,000 in 2021.

That might be because some other insurers just won’t cover them. For example, Co-op Pet insurance and Animal Friends both list them as one of the dog breeds they won’t insure.

That might be because they consider them high risk and have concerns that their huge size and strength have the potential for third-party liability claims. Or simply because of the bigger vet bills that very large dog breeds can rack up.

But even though we cover plenty of Cane Corsos, they’re not cheap to insure – their policies cost on average £792.75. That’s nearly double the average pet insurance cost of £421.60 for all dog breeds.

The higher insurance cost might be partly due to their scarcity – it’s harder to work out the risk of a claim for a breed that vets don’t see so often.

Larger breeds are also usually more expensive to treat than smaller ones and Cane Corsos are susceptible to a few health conditions that are costly to put right.

Cane Corso health conditions

The large and heavy Cane Corso can suffer from a number of genetic conditions that are fairly common in bigger dog breeds.

Make sure you choose pet insurance with a high enough vet fee limit to cover the sort of costly conditions that can affect Cane Corsos and other large breeds of dog.

If you’re choosing a Cane Corso puppy, make sure you see both parents and ask plenty of questions about their health history.

Cherry Eye – Cherry eye is the common name for a prolapsed gland in the nictitans – or third eyelid – which causes it to protrude and redden, resembling a cherry.

Unfortunately, it’s very common in Cane Corsos and was the most common claim we saw for them in 2021. It needs to be treated with surgery and claims cost £733.55 on average.

Epilepsy – Epilepsy is more common in Cane Corsos than in many other breeds. Seizure disorder was the third most common Cane Corso claim at an average cost of £590.90.

Epilepsy is a lifelong condition that’s likely to need repeated pet insurance claims, which can really rack up the vet bills over the years. All our policies are lifetime pet insurance, which means they have a vet fee limit that refreshes each year so you don’t run out of cover for long-term conditions.

Hip dysplasia – Hip dysplasia was the fourth most common condition for Cane Corsos. Although the average claim cost was £433.04, this is likely to be for managing the condition with medication. If your dog needs surgery, the cost is usually £5,000+ per hip.

Cane Corso

Cane Corso

The laid-back, even-tempered Cane Corso from southern Italy is unofficially also known as the Italian Mastiff or Italian Molosser. It is slowly becoming more famous outside of Italy and is mainly suited to sporty owners with plenty of space and experience with dogs.

Table of contents

  1. Appearance
  2. Origin and deployment
  3. Character
  4. Health
  5. Cane Corso diet
  6. Care
  7. Training
  8. Activity
  9. Is a Cane Corso right for me?
  10. How to find your Cane Corso


The Cane Corso is a large, strong dog: Males can reach up to 68cm in shoulder height and females up to 64cm. They weigh a maximum of 50kg and according to the standard, should be built slightly longer than they are tall. Due to the striking forehead furrow and emphatic eyebrow ridges, the Cane Corso always looks slightly pensive. The head is broad and surrounded by triangular lop ears. In addition, the short, shiny coat is very dense with little undercoat and is found in black, grey, fawn and red, whilst brindle varieties are also allowed for all shades.

Origin and deployment

The Cane Corso is also said to be a descendant of the ancient canis pugnax. The ancient Romans deployed these powerful canines as war and herding dogs. Cane Corsos were deployed as watchdogs, cattle dogs and livestock guardian dogs on farms in southern Italy. The Cane Corso is considered to be an independent working dog to this day. The exact origin of the name Cane Corso is unknown: ‘Cane’ is the Italian for dog and ‘corso’ could come from the Celtic word ‘corso’, meaning ‘powerful’. However, a connection to the Latin ‘cohors’ for ‘herder’ or ‘guardian’ is possible. The FCI only recognised the Cane Corso as an independent breed in 1996. Nowadays, these dogs are also found as protection, police and tracking dogs, as well as for hunting big game. Cane Corsos are happiest working in a pack. It is still rare to encounter these imposing canines outside of Italy.


Providing that they have been well trained, Cane Corsos have wonderful character traits. They are considered obedient, playful, loyal and fond of children. As excellent watchdogs, they don’t tolerate strangers – whether animal or human – in their territory. Moreover, they are quite reserved, meaning that they are ignorant to dismissive of strangers. Their family is everything to them and will be defended in emergencies. Although a Cane Corso is never aggressive for no reason, it is willing to uncompromisingly defend its territory and loved ones. The Cane Corso is a confident and loyal companion with consistent training and clear subordination.

Cane Corso puppy


Like many large dog breeds, the Cane Corso also tends to suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia. Responsible breeders try to prevent this as far as possible – ask before buying a puppy what precautionary measures they have taken. These large dogs should not have to regularly climb stairs. A balanced diet and sufficient exercise (without too much jumping or compressions) contributes to maintaining healthy joints.

Some dogs of this breed are prone to cardiac disease. In this case too, the breeder can reduce the risk. Signs of a cardiac disease can be, for instance, fatigue, shortness of breath or coughing. Speak to your vet in such cases, because timely medical treatment can relieve the heart and often slows down the course of the disease or even stops it for a while. The Cane Corso often has sensitive eyes, so you should protect it from draughts, ventilators and air conditioning. Pure-white Cane Corsos are now occasionally offered, but beware: These dogs can be genetically affected by deafness. A healthy Cane Corso can live to up to 12 years of age.

Cane Corso diet

As early as the puppy phase, diet makes a huge contribution to your dog’s health and wellbeing. If you have been given stock of your puppy’s usual food from the breeder but don’t want to use this permanently, slowly get your dog used to its new food. This works best if you still give it its usual food when it enters your home in order not to put it under additional stress. Puppies are particularly at risk of growing too fast if the protein content of their food is not adapted, which can lead to skeletal problems. Make sure there is a high meat content, regardless of whether you choose dry food, wet food or BARF. Avoid pet food with grain. You should calculate treats as part of the daily food intake to prevent weight gain. Water should of course always be freely available to your Cane Corso.


It’s sufficient to brush your Cane Corso every few days to remove loose fur. This can also be removed with a trimmer during the moulting period. These dogs normally don’t need a bath – you can wash out stubborn dirt with a mild dog shampoo. Since these Italian Mastiffs have firm skin in the jaw and snout area compared to other mastiffs, they barely salivate. Special dental snacks or dried chew sticks from specialist stores are suitable for dental care.


Training this breed requires plenty of expertise and some intuition. The Cane Corso needs an empathetic, consistent and clear pack leader. It isn’t a dog for beginners, because it can be almost uncontrollable if not trained correctly due to its size and protective instinct. Clear training for a Cane Corso demands a high level of consistency and responsibility and cannot be mastered with theoretical knowledge, but only in combination with experience with dogs. Early socialisation of puppies and young dogs is particularly important, which is why you as a Cane Corso owner should definitely attend a dog school.


Only occupied Cane Corsos are even-tempered – they were and are still working dogs. Despite its bulky appearance, the Cane Corso is a sporty dog that likes to accompany its owner everywhere. It will run alongside on bike rides following the right training and makes an excellent riding companion dog. It is suited to obedience, being a medical service dog, or even as a tracking dog. Due to its weight, it is not suited to agility.

Cane Corso dog in water

Is a Cane Corso right for me?

Before you take a Cane Corso into your home, you should determine whether you can cope with this headstrong breed. The breed isn’t suitable for living in a city or apartment: It needs plenty of space and its own territory to guard. However, it cannot be left to its own devices for too long: These dogs are very drawn to their pack and need family contact and plenty of activity in the form of exercise and tasks to complete. A Cane Corso owner should be sporty and enjoy spending plenty of time with their dog – best of all in the great outdoors. These dogs are considered very fond of children, though of course mainly older children aware of the rules for treating family pets with respect. The breed can live in peace with cats and other pets if it was socialised with them as a puppy.

A breed which requires great attention

Consider that your Cane Corso will demand a lot of your time on a daily basis for over a decade. Care provision during holidays or in case of illness should be minutely planned. Before the dog enters your home, take time to sort basic equipment such as a collar and lead, harness, dog blanket and/or basket, toys, transport case for the car, bowls, brushes and practical aids such as lint brushes or tick tweezers. There are of course ongoing costs with these canines weighing up to 50kg. They need a high-quality dog food with high meat content, as well as a veterinary check-up at least once a year. Liability insurance also forms part of the ongoing costs.

Cane Corso: a breed for knowledgeable owners

Due to its authoritative appearance, this breed has unfortunately in the past attracted some owners who see these proud dogs more as status symbols than furry friends. Combined with laziness and a lack of canine knowledge, this is a scenario in which the Cane Corso’s protective instinct and stubbornness can take on a dangerous dynamic. With knowledgeable and responsible owners, these powerful Italian dogs are reliable, confident family members with no aggressive tendencies. Certain requirements may be needed for owning this breed.

How to find your Cane Corso

If you have chosen to take a Cane Corso into your home, you can get searching for a suitable breeder. The breed is found most frequently in Italy, its country of origin. These stately dogs are rare sights in other countries, although the number of breeders is increasing. Nevertheless, it is possible that you won’t find any breeders close by and may have to consider longer trips.

What to look for in a potential breeder

Can you visit the breeder at their home to observe the surroundings of the dogs and their parents? Do they respond patiently and with expertise to questions on their breed, as well as on the parents’ healthcare provision? Are the puppies comprehensively socialised? Do the parent animals there appear healthy and even-tempered? And not least: Is the breeder also interested in your ability to offer a good home? You should be able to answer all these questions with a ‘yes’ before signing the purchase contract.

As part of the handover of the puppy, you should receive a portion of its usual food, along with the vaccination and pedigree certificate. A good breeder will remain a port of call for questions about the breed even after their dogs have moved out. They will be happy if you let them take part in the puppy’s development through photos.

Definitely steer clear of breeders who don’t belong to an association and are offering supposedly pedigree Cane Corsos at bargain prices. Breeding requires plenty of expertise regarding the specific breed and precise selection of suitable animals in terms of character, type and health to avoid nasty surprises. This is an investment of time and money that irresponsible breeders don’t want to take on.

Try your luck with online research

If you want to give an older Cane Corso a home, the search can prove time-consuming, especially outside of Italy. Due to the low population, the breed can rarely be found on an off-chance at local animal shelters. However, a promising option is online research. These are often associations specialising in Mastiffs and other Molossers. These organisations can usually make a good assessment of the character of older dogs and will determine whether the dog is suitable for your circumstances and experience. Whilst there are of course also some well-trained Cane Corsos being rehomed, which may have lost their home due to a move, for instance, there are also some that have ended up in an animal shelter because they overwhelmed their previous owners and only belong in the hands of very experienced canine experts.

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