Cane Corso vs Great Dane: Which Big Dog Is Better?

There’s no such thing as a better dog breed when we talk about the Cane Corso and the Great Dane. It all boils down to which canine suits your taste and preference, lifestyle, and capabilities to handle these large dogs. 

Historically, both of them come from Molossus dogs, an ancient breed that is now extinct, but the line of massive Mastiffs continues to thrive in this modern era.

Don’t know what to choose between the two? Get to know them better through this article and find out which breed resonates more with you.

Breed Origins

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso comes from Italy. He’s a true descendant of the great Roman war dog famed to have helped significantly in winning battles. When the Roman Empire failed to survive, people switched the Cane Corso into becoming a dog with more important purposes. This Italian Mastiff became a farmhand, an estate guardian, a family protector, and a hunter of wild boars and other big animals.

When industrialization and the two world wars kicked in, the breed’s number declined dramatically, to the point it got almost extinct. There were some left in Southern Italy in the 1970s which were then used by Dr. Paolo Breber in his breeding program. It proved to be very successful after some time.

Great Dane

Often called the gentle giant, the Great Dane hails from Germany. It’s believed that this massive breed dates back to 3000 BC since drawings of similar-looking dogs were discovered in the Babylonian temples. The same build of dogs was found in Tibet thanks to the written reports found in Chinese literature around 1121 BC. 

The first Great Danes were used as hunters that would go after boars, but then their roles changed as they became handsome dogs which German nobles would keep in their homes. The name of the breed had several tweaks to it as it was called a Chamber dog, Boar Hound, Great Danois, Great Danish Dog, German Dog, and eventually, Great Dane.

Size, Appearance, & Coloring

Cane Corso

A black Cane Corso with cropped ears sitting on the ground.

First impressions-wise, the Cane Corso displays a serious, yet majestic face, dignified manners, and a muscular appearance. As per the breed standards, he has to be anywhere between 23.5-27.5 inches at height in withers and be over a hundred pounds proportionate to his height.

Due to how they look, they’re considered a popular choice for many properties and homeowners. Other identifying features include a muscular and stocky build with a large, heavy head. There are white markings present in his body like chest, chin, throat, or pasterns, but these shouldn’t appear on the face. 

The most common colors found in the breed are gray, red, black, fawn, and brindle.

Great Dane

A blue merle Great Dane relaxing in the grass.

Don’t be fooled by the size of the Great Dane. Although he reaches 28-32 inches in height and 110-175 pounds in weight, the German dog is far from aggressive and dangerous. 

He’s known for his rectangular head, deeply set eyes, and a very thoughtful expression making countless dog lovers instantly fall in love with the breed. There’s also this sleek, long, and athletic physique with graceful necks that are set high.

A Great Dane’s coat colors may come in black, blue, brindle, chocolate, fawn, merle, silver, white, merlequin, or harlequin.


Cane Corso

Due to the Cane Corso’s long history as a working dog, his temperament may seem serious and extremely sensitive. He takes pride in what he does and has little tolerance toward unwelcome guests on his master’s property. 

As with all dogs, socialization will come a long way for this Mastiff. A trained one shouldn’t react aggressively without any strong reasons or else that would mean he needs more drills and firmer handling.

He’s not a dog for everyone, but if he ends up with a home that has the right people in it, he’ll show a very friendly and affectionate side. This dog is gentle around kids and would lick people in their faces.

Great Dane

The American Kennel Club would describe its general temperament as friendly, patient, and dependable hence why he can be found in several homes in the US. Thanks to the efforts made by wealthy German breeders, they were able to eliminate the breed’s aggressive behavior.

He’s extremely sweet and nice toward children. You’ll observe him as the calmest dog there is particularly to small kids, only that his size can intimidate some. He accommodates friends, family, and strangers alike due to how people-oriented he is. 

Exercise Needs

Cane Corso

Being a hardworking dog, the Cane Corso as a pet needs some activities where he can pour out all his energy. That means taking him out for a walk or granting him a large fenced yard for free play.

Incorporate training such as skills learning and agility sports to keep his mind enriched and his well-being satisfied generally. In a day, an hour of exercise would inhibit him from showing bad behaviors.

Great Dane

Great Danes are not meant to spend their time in solitude. Let them enjoy their day by spending time or letting kids play with them. Monitoring is essential to avoid mishaps due to how heavy they can be. 

A large yard would make him happy as this means stretching time and free play. Take him out for a walk a few times each day too to keep the muscles and bones strong.

At least an hour of exercise is required for the breed.

Grooming Requirements

Cane Corso

Thanks to his low shedding tendency, the Cane Corso is one of the low-maintenance breeds out there. A good quality slicker brush run down his skin a few times weekly will effectively remove his loose and dead hairs that can cause allergy. Baths are not necessary, so wash him every 6-8 weeks only or whenever he’s dirty.

To keep his hygiene excellent, check the areas that are prone to infection such as the ears, brush his teeth, and trim his nails.

Great Dane

As an easy-care breed, the Great Dane wouldn’t require much brushing thanks to his short coat, but watch out during shedding seasons as he’ll release a great amount of fur considering his size. Baths have to be occasional and other grooming routines must never be taken for granted. 

Health Problems

Cane Corso

The dog’s lifespan is 9-12 years on average which speaks that he’s generally healthy. Still, there are a few health issues to look out for as no dog breed is 100% free from medical problems. The most common ones that strike the Corso are gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, ectropion, cancer, allergies, and hip dysplasia. 

Great Dane

Sadly, the Great Dane is also prone to a few health issues. With only a 7-10 years average lifespan, owners have to ensure he’s well treated if he has signs of illnesses. Bloat, heart disease, autoimmune thyroiditis, hip dysplasia, and eye conditions strike him the most often.

Breed Popularity

The AKC breed popularity ranking of the Cane Corso and the Great Dane is shown below:

Cane Corso: 32nd

Great Dane: 16th