Cane Corso vs. Pitbull: What’s the Difference?

Cane Corso vs. Pitbull

At first glance, the Cane Corso and Pitbull may look similar to each other because they share the same domineering facial features. However, these breeds are very different in terms of their temperaments and personalities.

Both the Cane Corso and the Pitbull are medium-sized dogs. However, the Cane Corso is slightly bigger than the Pitbull. It is also more docile compared to the cheerful temperament of the Pitbull. Overall, both breeds make great house pets and guard dogs.

In this article, you will learn about the distinctions between these two outstanding dogs. This way, it will be easier to decide which dog breed fits your preference.

Cane CorsoPitbull
23–27.5 inches
17–21 inches
90–120 pounds
30–90 pounds
Affectionate, Intelligent, Docile
Loyal, Intelligent, Friendly
Activity Level:
Activity Level:
Above Average
9–12 years
8–16 years

Breed History

Cane Corso and Pitbull side by side

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a purebred dog that existed in ancient Rome and was historically believed to have fought as a war dog for the Roman empire. Its primary purpose was to hunt wild animals and guard properties.

At some point after the Second World War, the Cane Corso breed was on the verge of extinction. Thankfully, the breed went through a resurgence in the 1970s and was imported to the United States 10 years later.

Today, this Mastiff-type breed has gained popularity across the world and is even recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).


Just like the Cane Corso, Pitbulls have a rich but controversial history behind them. They used to participate in dog fighting that illegally took place in the United Kingdom in the early 19th century.

There is more than one classification of Pitbulls, and all of them were believed to be descendants of the British Bull and Terrier. These dogs were shipped and bred in North America in the 1870s and are called the American Pit Bull Terrier. 

Twenty years later, Pit Bull breeders decided to have the breed registered but were painfully rejected because of their association with illegal blood sports.

However, the sport was decriminalized soon enough, and the American Kennel Club decided to register Pitbull under different breeds, including the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and American Bulldog.


Cane Corsos are standard-sized dogs that weigh over 90 to 120 pounds and stand at 23 to 27.5 inches. They are slightly bigger than Pitbulls, who weigh only 30 to 90 pounds and stand from 21 to 27 inches tall.

Both have strong, muscular body frames and limbs that enable them to hunt and protect actively.

Pointy ears, glaring eyes, and huge heads that sit on top of strong, muscular necks make up the Cane Corso’s overall imposing features. 

Meanwhile, Pitbulls look more friendly with their round eyes, square-shaped heads, and droopy ears.

These beautiful dog breeds have short, double-layered coats in various colors such as gray, red, fawn, chestnut, brown, white, and black. Some Cane Corso and Pitbull puppies are also born with brindle coats.

All Pitbulls have short, smooth coats that come in basically all canine colors, including the controversial merle coat.

The American Bully is probably the closest Pitbull breed comparable to the Cane Corso. It stands at 21 to 27 inches and weighs over 100 pounds as well.

Temperament and Personality

Pitbull playing with a ring outdoors

Two of the breeds that are highly misunderstood in the canine world are the Cane Corso and the Pitbull. They may both look dangerous, but they are very approachable and have very warm personalities once they get comfortable.

Cane Corsos are devoted, loyal, intelligent, and fearless dogs that aim to secure the well-being of their human families at all costs. Not only do they make excellent guard dogs, but they are also great playmates.

Likewise, Pitbulls are sweet, affectionate, and loyal to their owners, like most dogs. They are an absolute ball of sunshine, and having them around is a treat.

Cane Corsos love showing affection to their owners at any time of the day. They need constant attention and mental stimulation, or they may display destructive behaviors.

Pitbulls also love being involved in anything that their human family does. Whether you are cooking, cleaning, or just lounging around, Pitbulls would love to keep you company.

Pitbulls earned the nickname ‘’nanny dog’’ because they are very cautious and tender towards children. However, they can project fear of aggression against other dog breeds if not socialized properly.

These dogs are naturally friendly but may appear quite reserved around strangers and other pets. Make sure to properly socialize them as early as puppies to avoid aggressive tendencies.

Watch this adult Pitbull playing with a cute Cane Corso pup:

Pitbull plays with cane corso puppy.

Exercise and Training

Cane Corsos and Pitbulls are active dogs that need to release their pent-up energies. Otherwise, they may develop behavioral problems such as digging, escaping, and excessive barking.

At least 45 minutes to an hour of activity daily is enough to keep a Cane Corso mentally and physically healthy. Anything beyond that can cause fatigue and low energy levels.

0n the other hand, Pitbulls have higher energy levels and require more time to exercise than Cane Corsos. Normally, they need a minimum of one hour of exercise per day, depending on their current mood and state.

Some exercises that your Cane Corso can do throughout the day are walking in the park, muscle training, obedience training, and mentally stimulating games like frisbee toss, joy ball, and fetch.

On the other hand, strength work, running, obedience training, and walks are some of the rigorous training that your Pitbull can do. Because of their build and size, it is important for them to have consistent muscle training as adults.

Since both breeds are extremely intelligent and athletic dogs, training them won’t be a problem. Using positive reinforcement is most effective in training canines. Give them words of affirmation or treats when they do a good job.

Much like the Cane Corso, Pitbulls are food motivated and are highly intelligent breeds too. Their focus and determination during training make it easier for their owners to teach complex commands.

Nutrition Needs

Cane Corsos and Pitbulls are carnivorous dogs. Hence, their diets should include around 35% of protein. You may feed them high-quality dog food or raw meat to get sufficient nutritional value.

Meat is an essential part of Cane Corsos’ growth and development. As you can see, their bodies are mainly composed of lean muscle that allows them to perform dog tasks easily.

Like Cane Corsos, Pitbulls eat much more than the average dog. Their diet should also include portions of meat, poultry, and vitamins. Without protein, the Pitbull may grow weak and lose all its muscular gains.

If you are feeding your Cane Corso and Pitbull dog food, make sure it is high quality. Making your dogs their own meal prep at home is also a good option. It’s fun to do, and you can regulate the ingredients in their meals.

How much food you give your Pitbull and Cane Corso a day depends on their age, size, height, and weight. Bear in mind that overfeeding them can cause them to suffer from obesity and gastric torsion.

Be sure to include exercise in their diet plans to avoid cases of dog obesity and other health problems brought by improper diet. You may feed your Cane Corso or Pitbull treats once in a while or during training.

Make sure that they are also getting the right amount of exercise to effectively burn and use the minerals brought by their food.

One of the things you need to consider as well is the cost of feeding these dogs. A breeder colleague of mine who has concentrated on Pitbulls tried to venture into breeding Cane Corso because he was amazed at their large and muscular build.

However, after producing his first litter, he realized that puppies require 2.5 cups of dog food each day, while the parents usually consume 7 to 8 cups a day, which hit heavily on his production costs. Hence, he went back to concentrating on Pitbulls due to their smaller size.

Grooming Needs

Cane Corso and Pitbull side profile

Taking care of a Cane Corso’s beautiful, medium-sized coat does not require a lot of energy. Bathing it every six to eight weeks should be enough to keep its fur clean.

Similarly, all types of Pitbulls have short, low-maintenance coats that are naturally odorless. Because of this, grooming them only takes a couple of minutes. Bathing them weekly is enough to maintain cleanliness.

Before you decide to groom your Pitbull, make sure to check its delicate parts to avoid accidentally scrubbing them.

Both breeds shed throughout the year. They heavily blow during shedding seasons. Having a fine-tooth animal comb around can help get rid of excess fur and minimize shedding as well.

The Cane Corso and a Pitbull’s bath essentials include pet shampoo, hydrating spray, conditioner, and anti-flea powders. Purchase only from trusted brands to avoid skin irritation and unwanted medical expenses.

Start grooming your Pitbulls as puppies so they can get used to the routine.

Don’t forget to regularly clean the ears of your Cane Corso and Pitbull to avoid bacterial build-up. Brush its teeth regularly, and make sure to clip its nails as needed.

Lifespan and Health Problems

A Cane Corso lives up to 9 to 12 years, while a Pitbull lives longer at 8 to 16 years. These breeds are generally healthy but prone to health problems with various symptoms and severity levels.

To know whether or not your Cane Corso and Pitbull pup is healthy, you should get a copy of their medical records from your chosen dog breeder. This is to ensure that you know which diseases are most likely to affect your pup.

The common conditions that affect a Cane Corso include joint problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis, eye problems such as ectropion, and shortness of breath or dyspnea.

If not groomed well, they may get ear infections because of bacteria. Always keep their ears clean, especially after playtime.

On the other hand, each Pitbull sub-breed has a different exact lifespan from one another, and just like the Cane Corso, Pitbulls suffer from similar diseases.

Some common health issues in Pitbulls are ear infections, hip dysplasia, and cataracts. They may also suffer from hypothyroidism, skin infections, and heart problems.

Nonetheless, these diseases are not fatal, and only the most severe cases need emergency assistance. To keep your Pitbull’s health in check, regularly visit your veterinarian.

Puppy Price

Cane Corso puppy sitting on the grass

Before you consider bringing a Cane Corso home, you have to make sure that you can afford its price and expenses. A Cane Corso puppy costs between $1,000 and $4,000.

A Pitbull costs pretty much like the Cane Corso, but they can be cheaper depending on the breeder’s pricing. A Pitbull puppy costs about $1,000 to $2,000.

If you can’t afford a high-quality Cane Corso or Pitbull from a breeder, you may also opt for adoption from a rescue. Several rescue organizations are available to contact online across the state.

It will take around $300 to adopt a Cane Corso or a Pitbull puppy. Adopting can cut your costs by a lot. However, ensure the pups are healthy and have been treated before being fostered when adopting.

Moreover, spending does not stop at the initial cost when buying a Cane Corso or a Pitbull. Expenses like emergencies should be part of the budget. Likewise, a Pitbull’s yearly expenses depend on the lifestyle you wish to give them.

Similarities Between Cane Corso and Pitbull

In a way, a Cane Corso and a Pitbull indeed have numerous similarities. Both breeds are seen as the ‘’tough dogs’’ in the canine world, but their personality balances out their appearance.

Both are loyal, dedicated, and protective breeds that will risk their lives to protect their human families. They are also excellent guard dogs because of their cautious nature, which is very reassuring for most families.

There is never a dull moment when a Cane Corso and a Pitbull are around. These breeds both exude sunshine energy when goofing around. But when it’s game time, you can expect their concentration to heighten.

However, their body build and size might scare your toddlers, so you should be on the lookout when kids are around. 

Pitbulls and Cane Corsos take time to warm up, so make sure they are familiar with the young ones in your home.

Cane Corso vs. Pitbull: Which Is Better for You?

Full grown Cane Corso resting outdoors

No breed is better than the other. Both the Cane Corso and the Pitbull are amazing dogs. Nonetheless, looking into what sets them apart will make it easier to decide which furry friend you will take home.

Choosing which breed to get for you and your family depends on your lifestyle, preferences, location, and personality trait.

You can be more of a Cane Corso pet owner if you:

  • Like bigger dogs.
  • Enjoy daily exercise and love to train your dog.
  • Can constantly give this dog affection and attention.
  • Love outdoor activities.

Meanwhile, you might choose to get a Pitbull instead if you:

  • Prefer more cuddly, cheerful, gentle giants.
  • Love being showered with cuddles and affection.
  • Are patient in obedience and dog training.
  • Have enough time to provide for all their playtime and daily needs.

Regardless of which breed you choose, owning a pet comes with great responsibility. Meeting their needs in terms of maintenance, exercise, and training should always be your priority as an owner.

Final Thoughts

Overall, both Cane Corsos and Pitbull breeds combine all the good traits of an effective guard dog. Because of their rich history, the Cane Corso and the Pitbull have also been deemed good family protectors.

Both these strong-looking breeds are capable of compassion and affection for all their family members. Their loyalty is unmatched, and you won’t regret getting either of the two breeds.

No matter which breed you choose, it all boils down to your bond with the dog and how you treat them.

Before deciding, weigh the pros and cons so you can easily choose between a Cane Corso vs. Pitbull. Don’t forget to leave your comments!

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