The Cane Corso is a spectacular breed. Its large size and muscled body can be quite intimidating. However, its personality is calm and confident. It’s loyal and affectionate with family, making it a great choice for families.
The Corso is an Italian Mastiff, which explains its large size. It’s more agile than other Mastiffs. In fact, it was originally bred for boar hunting, which requires fearlessness, strength, speed, and agility.
Today, they often serve as a guard dog. In fact, their name roughly translates to “bodyguard dog” in Latin. Everything, from their size to their attitude, matches up with this. They have the mass and strength of a bodyguard. They have an aura of confidence and power, while posing no threat to the person or people they are meant to protect.
The breed is highly intelligent and wonderful with children. However, they do not tolerate strangers or small animals very well.
Cane Corso Colors
Cane Corsos have a range of colors, all of which are beautiful. According to the AKC, black, gray, fawn, and red are all acceptable Corso colors. In addition, brindle color patterns are also accepted by the AKC.
It’s important to note that some colors of Corso are rarer than others. Even more important, the color of the Corso can affect its lifespan and the likelihood of health problems.
Let’s take a closer look at Corso colors, and what you should know about them before choosing a pooch.
Black Cane Corso
Black is the most common Corso color. However, there’s a catch. It’s actually difficult to find a black Corso that meets AKC standards. Many have what’s known as an incorrect coat.
This has no bearing on the dog’s temperament or health. It simply means that their coat doesn’t meet the breed standard. The Corso is intended to have a thick undercoat. This helps keep the dog warm in winter, and allows the coat to repel water.
Black Corsos have a shorter undercoat than most other colors. This is because their coat is black. If you’ve ever worn black clothing in the summertime, you noticed that the black absorbed the sun, making you hotter. This is also true for dogs.
Because the black coat absorbs more sunlight, the dog naturally needs less undercoat to keep it warm. The shorter undercoat can make the coat oily, or shorter than it should be.
One reason the black Corso is popular is because the color doesn’t exist in other Molosser breeds. These breeds are closely related to the Corso, and include the Bull Mastiff and Boxer.
The black gene is dominant, which means that if one parent is black, the puppies will be black as well. This is what makes it more common than other colors.
Black Corsos can be more prone to overheating than other breeds, so be vigilant in hot temperatures.
Fawn Cane Corso
Fawn Cane Corsos have a luxurious undercoat. Their color can range from light tan to a darker brownish tan. They have a black or gray mask, which makes them stand out in a crowd.
According to the AKC, the mask can’t extend beyond their eyes. White markings on the throat, chin, or chest are accepted by the organization.
The combination of fawn or tan, black or gray, and white makes this color absolutely striking. It’s one of my favorite Corso colors.
Fawns have been around for most of the existence of the Corso. Those with a black mask are known as true fawns. It’s said that it’s easier to produce a correct coat with a true fawn. An incorrect coat can be too long or oily.
Like the Black Corso, this has no bearing if you are choosing a Corso for a pet. However, if you want to show your prized pooch, the coat does matter.
Brindle Cane Corso
Brindle Cane Corsos have a longer lifespan than their solid colored counterparts. Black Brindle Corsos have the longest lifespan of any coat color, at an average of 10 years.
The brindle Can Corso appears in both black and grey. The black brindle has a base color of red or brown, with black stripes overlaying the base color. This causes them to appear mostly black, with lines of red or brown.
In Italy, this color is known as tigrato, which means tiger-like. This color was often used for hunting in Italy, because it blended in with the natural surroundings well.
Grey Cane Corso
The gray Cane Corso is very popular. One reason for this is, like the black Corso, it’s a color that’s not found in other Mosseler breeds.
Gray is created by a recessive gene mutation known as dilute. These dogs produce the same color as black Corsos, known as eumelanin. However, they don’t produce as much of it as black Corsos. This leads them to be gray, rather than black.
To breed a gray Corso, you’ll need two parents with the recessive gene. Two black parents can produce a gray Corso if they both have the gene mutation. Two gray Corsos will produce gray puppies.
Gray Corsos are at a higher risk of a type of Alopecia, or hair loss. This is known as color dilution alopecia. This isn’t a particularly harmful condition, but it does increase the risk of other skin conditions. Flaky or itchy skin are common problems. Patches of hair loss are also at a higher risk of infection, because the hair offers protection from the elements.
Blue Cane Corso
The blue Cane Corso is actually a gray Cane Corso. The two terms are used interchangeably. Many breeds list gray color as blue, because, let’s face it, it sounds cooler. It’s not completely untrue, either. The gray color can often have a blue tinge or tint.
When it comes to the Corso, the opposite is true. The official name for a gray colored Corso is gray. However, many dog owners and breeders use the term blue, because it’s commonly used in other breeds.
Red Cane Corso
Red Cane Corsos are one of the rarer colors. Like the fawn color, these pooches have a black or gray mask.
They can vary greatly in terms of shade. Colors range from a light ochampagne color to mahogany, which is deep and rich. All shades of red are created by the same pigment, pheomelanin.
The different shades are due to the pigment traveling through different genetic pathways.
Blue Brindle Cane Corso
Just like the blue Cane Corso, the Blue Brindle Corso has a recessive gene mutation that causes the black to turn to gray. As mentioned previously, there is no difference between gray and blue Corsos, both reference the same color and mutation.
Like other brindle Corsos, the blue brindle has a slightly longer lifespan than solid Corsos.
The blue, or gray Brindle Corso is rarer than the solid gray Corso. It has a brown base coat, with gray or blue stripes. This causes it to appear mostly gray, with stripes of brown.
Despite being rarer than the gray Corso, they aren’t particularly difficult to breed. Two gray brindles will produce a litter that has about 50% gray brindle puppies.
The blue or gray brindle was a favorite for Italian cowboys. They blend in to the environment, allowing them to surprise potential predators. They protected the cowboys and their herds of horses.
Does Color Matter When Choosing a Cane Corso?
Generally speaking, color should be far from your first consideration when choosing a Cane Corso. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
All Corso colors have the same regal, loyal, and protective temperament. The Black Corso is considered to be the most intimidating and majestic in appearance, but all colors are beautiful and impressive in their own way.
Brindle Corsos, particularly black brindle Corsos, have the longest life expectancy, living about a year longer than solid colored Corsos.
Blue or Gray Corsos, including gray brindle Corsos, have a risk of dilute alopecia. This puts them at a risk of hair loss, itchy skin, and other skin issues.
Should You Choose a Rare Color?
Ironically, the colors thought of as rare in the Corso are colors that go against the breed standard. These include Isabella and Chocolate. Tan points, which are standard on Rottweilers, are also not accepted in the Corso.
While these colors can appear unintentionally, reputable breeders do not breed for colors that go against the breed standard. They seek to retain the integrity and quality of the breed, including the color.
In standard breed colors, some are rarer than others. Fawn and Black are the most common Corso colors, with brindle, red, and gray being less common.
However, the temperament and health of the dog are much more important than color. There’s nothing wrong with preferring a particular color, but it should always be second to a healthy and well behaved pooch.