Is a Cane Corso a Pitbull? Let’s Find Out!

Simply put, no, the Cane Corso is unquestionably not a Pitbull. This Italian Mastiff is a breed of its own with several features and identity traits indicating he’s unique compared to the rest of the other dogs. Even though the Cane Corso has established a consistent appearance already, there will always be some cases wherein a dog of this kind would resemble a different type of canine. That’s why some who are new or not serious in their interest in the breeds would end up mistaking the Cane Corso as a Pitbull.

Let’s find out why this is so and learn how to correctly spot a Cane Corso from Pitbull-type dogs.

The above image shows a Cane Corso. Take note of his appearance and the details behind it as we will compare this later with the Pitbull’s.

Why Are Cane Corsos Not Considered Pitbulls?

First and foremost, the term “Pitbull” does not refer to a breed. Instead, this is an umbrella term for dogs who fall under a certain type of category. They are visually judged to have short snouts, large, blocky heads, and muscular builds, all of which the Cane Corso also share. However, what disqualifies this Italian Mastiff from the Pitbull classification is its origin. His DNA indicates that he has not descended from Bulldogs and Terriers.

Instead, what we know about is that the ancestor of the Cane Corso breed is the Molossus dog which is now an extinct type of hound. Their historical purposes also help in explaining why Cane Corsos are not Pitbulls. Mainly, Pitbull-type dogs were used for blood sports, particularly dog fights. The Cane Corso, on the other hand, was a popular choice for guarding estates, flocks, and homes, as well as coursing. 

Which Is More Powerful Between the Cane Corso and the Pitbull?

Both the Cane Corso and the Pitbull are strong, but hands down, should there be any fight sparking between the two, the Mastiff would have the advantage when it comes to strength, size, motivation, and agility. Let’s not forget that this big dog from Italy was widely used to hunt down boars, rabbits, and birds. A truly intelligent and natural hunting dog!

This shouldn’t mean, however, that we can downplay the abilities of a Pitbull-type dog. Back in the past, Pitbulls were developed to be muscular, quick, and athletic. They never back down to any fight as it runs in their blood to face their foes. They were consistent participants in bull-baiting and bear-baiting which were common pastime activities of the average folks. Moreover, it can be said that among all medium-sized dogs, Pitbulls are by far the strongest when it comes to bite force with around 242 PSI.

Although we acknowledge how fierce the Pitbull is, his abilities and all the other things mentioned are clearly not a good match to those of a Cane Corso. When a Mastiff of this type causes a serious bite, the subject is surely going to experience what 700 PSI feels like.

Reasons Why Cane Corsos Are Mistaken as Pitbulls

Years before and even until now, people have had this level of fear toward Pitbull-type dogs. Canines that fall under this category are known to have a bad reputation worldwide and they have been a subject of many news reports as they have either killed or maimed 3,569 people in Canada and the USA from 2009 to 2018.

Before we go on further, here’s a clear image regarding how Pitbull-type dogs look like:

Of all Americans who were killed by dogs, 80% were caused by Pitbull-type canines. Their stereotypical looks were then inculcated subconsciously into the public’s minds. With the usual description for Pitbulls, an individual who isn’t keen at observing the totality of the features of a dog can easily make an erroneous judgment, particularly toward Cane Corsos.

Here are all the details why:


No doubt, Cane Corsos have massive, bulky heads and muzzles that can inflict serious injury. Their eyes also contrast to their skin, making them stand out which is the same with the Pitbull. Both types of dogs are also well-built with prominent muscles around the chest, neck, and forelegs. 

Another thing is the color. Cane Corsos have limited natural shades while Pitbulls practically have wider options. However, if you place a Corso and a Pitbull in one place with the same coat colors, they can be mistaken as dogs of the same breed. 


Another factor that contributes to everyone’s confusion is personality. Both dogs are great for families who know how to properly raise them. Cane Corsos are protective, loyal, dignified, and affectionate. However, these personality traits are not exclusive to the Italian breed since Pitbulls also exhibit these behaviors. 

Features to Look For to Identify Which Is a Cane Corso and a Pitbull

Because the Cane Corso and the Pitbull share similar characteristics, it’s just best if you know how to determine which is which. After all, some dog owners can get easily offended if you label their dogs as Pitbulls, considering the negative connotation the term entails. On the other hand, some folks will raise their eyebrows if you claim that their Pitbull-type buddy is a Cane Corso.

To save you from this awkward situation, here are some of the features to look for so you’d be able to know which is a Cane Corso and a Pitbull:


This is a clear giveaway for those who cannot recognize both dogs easily. Cane Corsos are and will always be bigger than Pitbulls. The Mastiff reaches a height of 23.5 to 27.5 inches as per the breed standards stated by the American Kennel Club. Moreover, he is expected to weigh at least 85 to 110 pounds.

Meanwhile, Pitbulls are generally just around 17 to 21 inches in height. As for their masses, they are more lightweight than the Corso as they boast of their 30 to 65 pounds mass. 

Coat Colors

There are only 7 major shades found in the Cane Corso breed compared to the 16 Pitbull colors developed by ethical breeders. 

Cane Corso Coat Colors:

  • Black
  • Fawn
  • Gray
  • Brindle
  • Red
  • Black Brindle
  • Chestnut Brindle

Pitbull Coat Colors

  • Black
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Blue Fawn
  • Fawn
  • Fawn Sable
  • Tan
  • Fawn Brindle
  • Buckskin
  • Seal
  • Reverse Brindle
  • Tricolor
  • Blue Fawn Brindle
  • Blue Brindle
  • Black Brindle
  • Red Brindle


Regarding face shape, Pitbulls have nearly a circular figure while Cane Corsos sport a rectangular one. Pitbulls also have wider muzzles, almost as if they’re grinning. Corsos, on the other hand, have moderate and well-sculpted jaws. In some cases, their jowls droop due to age or other reasons.

Are Both Dogs Great With Kids and Other Pets?

It highly depends on how both pets are raised from puppyhood to adulthood. Generally, they do well with others even with strangers as long as they are socialized. Owners have to be firm in handling these fearsome canines to avoid causing injury not just to your kids and pets, but as well as to those around them. Overall, Cane Corsos do have a few similarities with the Pitbull, but they are, in no way, a Pitbull-type dog.