Traditional vs. Nontraditional Corsos: What’s the Difference?

If you’re reading this, it can be assumed that you’ve either already adopted a Cane Corso into your family or that you’re at least researching the option. Do you consider yourself a Cane Corso expert or are you still a curious student? No matter the extent of your Corso know-how, there’s always room to learn more.

You might think you know everything there is to know about this ancient dog breed, but Cane Corsos are full of surprises. Did you know that the breed actually comprises two distinct bloodlines? It’s true. Not all Corsos are bred equally. While there is only one AKC-recognized Cane Corso breed (registered as the 165th official breed in the United States in 2010), many Corso breeders and enthusiasts hold that there are in fact two separate lineages that have developed over the years: the traditional Cane Corso and the nontraditional Cane Corso.

‘Traditional’ Cane Corso refers to the population of Corsos descended directly and exclusively from those first dogs that came to the United States from Italy back in 1989. Sometimes referred to as ‘all American,’ these dogs are the continuation of the old Italian bloodline—these are the true Corsos. We at Americana Cane Corso are proud of our commitment to breeding nothing but this pure, traditional line.

Traditional Cane Corsos are more imposing than their nontraditional counterparts due to their impressive musculature, bigger bones and generally larger frame, typical of most mastiff breeds. In fact, a strong skeleton is one of the trademarks of the breed. These dogs are the big, athletic linebackers of the canine world: a.k.a. the perfect guard dog with a loving disposition to boot. Traditional Corsos have long, coarse coats and big, white teeth reminiscent of a wolf.

On the other hand are the nontraditional Corsos. Like all-American Corsos, the nontraditional Cane Corso bloodline was also derived from those first few Corsos to arrive in America from Italy, but that’s where the similarities end. While Corso purists were focusing on keeping the future generations as ‘Corso’ as possible, there were others who thought it best to augment the then-shallow Cane Corso gene pool. So it was that nontraditional Corso breeders began incorporating other breeds into their Corso populations, producing litters of mixed genealogy. Great Danes and Boxers were two of the most commonly chosen breeds for this process. As a result of mixed breeding, nontraditional Cane Corsos exhibit a wider variance in physical appearance and temperament than traditional Corsos. Additionally, nontraditional Corsos tend to be taller, skinnier, and more agile than their traditional cousins, though not necessarily more athletic (think defensive backs as opposed to linebackers).

Nontraditional Corsos can be fine dogs, but they’re simply that: fine. If you’re in the market for a Cane Corso, you don’t want to settle for “fine”; you want exceptional. Do your research leading up to the adoption and make sure you select a true Cane Corso and not a “Cane Corso” that’s actually an amalgamation of several unknown dog breeds. Choose a breeder that can back up their pedigree claims both for your sake and the sake of the continuation of the traditional old Italian Cane Corso bloodline.

Interested in learning more? We’d love to have a chat! For information on upcoming litters, please visit our puppies available page.

Americana’s Ursa Major