Cane Corso vs Pitbull: How Are They Different?

There are a plethora of noticeable differences when we compare two handsome dog breeds which are the Cane Corso and the Pitbull. Size, appearance, origins, personality, needs, you name all the areas you can think of, they both seem to carry themselves distinctly from each other. What we can agree upon, however, is that although they are strikingly different, there’s no doubt that both of them are excellent family additions.

Know which dog resonates more with you by learning more about them through this article.

Breed Origins

Cane Corso

It’s an undeniable fact that this Molosser from Italy, along with several other Mastiff-type dogs, has descended from the great Molossus. Throughout its history, the Cane Corso was tasked to either guard, protect, or hunt. He has fought alongside armies in battles and is arguably a skilled hunter of various games.

It’s commonly known how people came up with its name. The Italian word for dog is Cane and “cohors”, which is a Latin term, roughly translates to “protector” or “guardian”. Despite the significant societal contribution of the Cane Corso, there still was a remarkable decline in its numbers beginning World War I. It may have had something to do with food shortages and families could no longer feed their pets, especially considering that Cane Corsos are massive in size and appetite.

It was in the 1970s when dog enthusiasts revived the Italian breed using the remaining small number of Cane Corsos. In 1988, the first Corso arrived on American soil.


The history of the Pitbull mainly started around the 1800s in the UK. He descended from the Old English Bulldog and he instantly became a hit on the British Isles all because of a cruel blood sport known as bull-baiting. Ideally, one or two Bulldogs are set out loose in an arena just to harass a bull until it dies from fatigue, exhaustion, or injuries. This was entertainment for the struggling classes back in time. 

It was until the British Parliament enacted the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835. With that, the public diverted their focus by placing the rats in a pit and then see how many can be killed by each dog. This is where “Pit” in “Pitbull” came from. When all these horrendous and inhumane activities got banned, several groups and organizations are on the move in clearing out the name and reputation of the Pitbull and attempting to have it recognized. Sadly, due to its association with dogfights, the proposal was turned down.

Size, Appearance, Coloring

Cane Corso

In the image above, the Cane Corso gives off an incredible impression just by how he looks. 

He’s built to be strong, powerful, and vigorous. These alone are enough to intimidate anyone. His head is generally broad and heavy with breathtakingly powerful jaws. Some owners opt to crop the ears for an added menacing effect, but in all honesty, this is not necessary at all. The breed’s chest is wide and muscular and the forelegs stand straight. The body is streamlined down to the tail that is also sometimes docked for aesthetic purposes.

This Italian breed is measured to be 23.5 to 27.5 inches in height and at least 85 to 110 pounds in weight. Males are expected to be bigger than females, so know which of them can your home accommodate. Know your preferred color as well as there are several options to choose from should you get hooked by the Cane Corso breed:

  • Black 
  • Fawn
  • Black brindle
  • Chestnut brindle
  • Gray 
  • Red 


Pitbulls are often described to be bulky and muscular with blocky heads just like what’s shown above. 

Due to how common they are nowadays, one can instantly recognize what a Pitbull is. At times, we even end up mistaking a breed as a Pitbull! To avoid confusion, Pitbull-type dogs are medium-sized canines with broad and heavy heads and small sharp eyes. They look serious with jaws that are strong enough to snap anyone’s bone.  

His other features also include a broad chest and muscular legs. A handful of owners share that their Pitbulls tend to drool, so if you’re a prospective owner, see to it that you can cope with this habit. Just like the Cane Corso, a population of Pitbulls has their ears cropped for a more threatening look.

Its natural colors have a variety of options such as the following:

  • Black 
  • Brindle
  • White
  • Gray
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Tan
  • Fawn


Cane Corso

You got it all if you have a Cane Corso at home! Not only would you have a dedicated guard dog but a truly loving family member as well. Despite the rough exterior, this massive Mastiff remains to be naturally sweet toward people he loves. He’s patient and understanding which makes him a great companion for older kids. 

Just like most other dogs, this one would do well with other people and pets. Upbringing is a major factor in this success, however, so make sure you have intensively exposed him to new faces and scents when he was still a puppy. 


Despite the bad rap, the Pitbull-type dog is, in fact, one of the most loving and affectionate dogs! No matter how prominent their history is, this dog is often deemed as a great home buddy. Of course, the owner must help in bringing out all his desirable traits. Pitbull attacks are mostly the outcomes of incompatible or bad ownership. Before adopting a puppy, make sure you can provide the kind of leadership a Pitbull requires.

When this dog is raised right, you’ll always feel glad remembering the day when you decided to bring him home. He’s gentle with the kids and other people provided that he’s been socialized since puppyhood. 

Exercise Needs

Cane Corso

This fairly active dog would require an owner who also has a moderately active lifestyle. Compatibility is very important in dog ownership or else the exercise needs of the dog will be compromised. It only takes at least 60 minutes a day to fulfill your Cane Corso’s need to sweat. After all, you don’t want to end up having to deal with a pet who has not released all his pent-up energy. What this often leads to are behavioral issues that may eventually be hard to eliminate.


Pitbull-type dogs need LOTS of exercises as they have an endless amount of energy. Let them run around in a wide and fenced area, but this shouldn’t be done in public places where there are other dogs and people. Keep him healthy and full of vigor by allocating an hour or two for his physical sessions each day. Walking in the afternoon would be a great way to end the day just as long as he’s leashed or harnessed.

Grooming Requirements

Cane Corso

It won’t take more than 30 minutes to groom a Cane Corso because this one is typically a light shedder! You only have to brush him a few times every week just to remove all the loose or dead hairs. His double-coat requires minimal grooming which, aside from brushing, would only include bathing. Just be prepared for the spring and fall seasons though since these are the times when dogs blow off their entire coat for a new one. 


With his fine fur, a Pitbull-type dog would only need a couple of baths in a year. Brushing him a few times a week is considered helpful as well in removing all loose hairs. To keep his coat healthy and shiny, start from within by providing him with the right food and diet. 

Don’t forget to keep his nails short, the ears and teeth clean, and the anal glands free from stinky odor and substances. 

Health Problems

Cane Corso

Being well-informed on how to properly take care of a dog such as the Mastiff is a major key in keeping him healthy. Unfortunately, the breed remains susceptible to genetic diseases such as:

  • Demodectic mange
  • Seizures
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cherry Eye


Pitbull-type dogs live longer than Cane Corsos, generally speaking. This may be shortened, however, due to some health issues they may acquire at one point in their lives. Know what these are below:

  • Gastric dilation
  • Thyroid disease
  • Ichthyosis
  • Allergies

Breed Popularity

Cane Corsos are 32nd out of 202 dog breeds in terms of popularity ranking set out by the American Kennel Club. Meanwhile, Pitbulls are a common choice for several households as their type comprises about 20% of the dog population in the US. 

Which Dog Should You Adopt?

It depends on your lifestyle! Both dogs are energetic, but the Pitbull exceeds the other. When it comes to size, Cane Corsos are bigger and would require a wider space in your home. They will also have to eat more compared to Pitbull-type dogs who are just medium-sized. Their personality varies a lot, so spend some time getting to know your targeted puppy before coming to a decision.