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The Mighty White Cane Corso: One Loyal and Powerful Breed

Written by

Elaine Navajo

Reviewed by

Updated on:

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Ah, the brave Cane Corso! This breed is one that is sure to turn heads wherever it goes. I know it did mine. With its strong, muscular build and regal stance, it's hard not to be in awe of this impressive Italian dog. 

While I love all dogs, there is a special place in my heart for the big ones. And the white Cane Corso is truly a memorable dog, with its noble look, grand stature, and intensely loyal nature. 

It was such a fun experience researching Cane Corsos, and I’m even more excited that I can get to share with you everything I learned about this magnificent breed.

What is a White Cane Corso?

The White Cane Corso is a large and powerful breed of dog that originated from Italy. It goes by many names, such as Cane da Pagliaio, Straw-Stack Dog, Straw Cane Corso, 

It is one variation of the Cane Corso, which is also known by many names. Italian Mastiff, Cane di Macellaio, Cane Corso Italiano, and the Sicilian Branchiero are all names this ancient dog breed goes by. 

The white in the name of the Cane Corso refers to its color. You might wonder why a color is attached to the name of the breed. I’ll tell you why.

Acknowledged purebred dogs are held to a standard for that breed. This means that certain traits or characteristics must be adhered to. Sometimes, however, a deviation from those standards will resurface. Enter the White Cane Corso.

The Cane Corso is supposed to have black, gray, fawn, or red coat colors. The white is a non-standard hue that turns up unexpectedly in some litters. But this color does not come from a recent breeding. It is a recessive gene, a throwback to a historical color that may have come from the early days of the Cane Corso, and most probably from one of the parent breeds that made the Cane Corso what it is today. 

Since the white is not really considered a substandard color in the Cane Corso, unlike tan, it is somewhat looked upon as a controversial color. Breeders are divided whether it should be accepted or not. 

There are some people in the breeding industry who are against the acceptance of the White Cane Corso as an AKC breed standard (AKC stands for American Kennel Club), while others even market it as a rare color to commandeer a higher price.

I’m not a breeder so I can’t say what is acceptable or not, but being a dog lover myself, I’d be fine with Cane Corsi (proper plural term for these dogs) of any color.

Fun fact: Technically, White Cane Corsi are not really white. They actually have a straw or cream color.

The Mighty White Cane Corso: One Loyal and Powerful Breed 1
Image from Modern Molosser

Fast Facts About The Straw Cane Corso 

  • Pedigree: Purebreed
  • Parent Breeds: Cane Corso
  • Breed Group: Working Dog
  • Breed size: Medium to Large Breed
  • Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall
  • Weight: 90 to 100 pounds
  • Energy level: Medium
  • Lifespan: 9 – 12 years

What Does a Cane Corso Look Like?

The White Cane Corso is a large and powerful breed that exudes strength and confidence. They have a square-shaped head with a powerful jaw, which gives them a distinctive appearance. Their eyes are almond-shaped and set deep within their skull, giving them an intense and focused expression.

They are often praised for their alert expressions and imposing appearance that usually serves as a nice deterrent against intruders. The dogs have a royal air of competence about them and a presence that people who are not familiar with the breed may find intimidating.

Size

The size of the Straw Cane Corso ranges from medium to large, but the way it holds itself is often awe-inducing. 

Combine that significant height and weight with a stocky physique and strong muscles rippling underneath and you’ve got yourself a dog with a majestic and very distinguished profile. 

Males often range in height from 25 to 27.5 inches tall, with females running slightly smaller at 23.5 to 26 inches tall. 

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Markings and Coat Color

Straw Cane Corsos are, as we mentioned, unsurprisingly rare. Its color comes from a recessive gene that hails back from its stint as a farm guard. Italian farmers historically preferred Straw-colored Cane Corsi because their shade allowed them to blend in easily with the light and dry surroundings of typical Italian regions dedicated to farming.

Experts believe that straw-stack dogs, as they were once known, come from crossbreeding the Cane Corso with the Abruzzese Sheepdog. 

They’re not albinos, though, although it may be possible that some albinos can be mistaken for Straw Cane Corsos. Albinism is a completely different genetic makeup that removes all pigment from fur. 

Today, Cane Corsi do more than guard Italian farms, and there are now acceptable breed standard color genetics in place. However, the straw color is still genetically present in the DNA of these dogs and may come out from time to time in any given litter.

As for non-Straw Cane Corso dogs, these are the coat colors accepted:

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

According to the AKC, the brindle pattern is acceptable in this breed as well as black or gray masks as long as these do not extend beyond their eyes. 

The Mighty White Cane Corso: One Loyal and Powerful Breed 2
Image from Royal Blue Cane Corso

Personality and Temperament

If you haven’t encountered a Straw-Colored Cane Corso yet, chances are you’ll find this dog a little bit intimidating. Not only are they big and powerful-looking, but they have a certain assertiveness about them. An inexperienced owner, for example, may find himself being owned by these dogs instead of the other way around. 

The Straw Cane Corso was bred to be a guardian and fighter. It’s not meant to be a lapdog, or a playmate for children, or a companion for the elderly because they are strong-willed. It has a protective instinct that makes it wary of strangers, and it is independent in nature. 

But don’t make a mistake. These guys are not aggressive. They are all cool and calm competence while protecting you, very much like what you’d expect from a professional bodyguard.

They’re also intensely loyal and affectionate, although they do act like grownups with the serious way they take themselves. 

Intelligence

Straw Corsos are deeply intelligent pups who take well to training and commands. They are wilful, though, so they need a proper and experienced hand to guide them and give them direction. But they learn easily, and respond positively to love and rewards. 

Barking

This straw-colored dog breed is not known to bark too much. In fact, it barks even less than other breeds. But since these are highly sensitive and protective dogs with a territorial instinct, even the slightest sign of danger or distress can trigger excessive barking if your pup is not trained or socialized enough.

Drooling

There are two types of Straw Color Corsi. Some have tighter lips and will not drool much. However, if your pup has heavy jowls that hang like other mastiff’s do, get ready to place towels in different spots around your house because that magnificent pup will slobber.

The Mighty White Cane Corso: One Loyal and Powerful Breed 3

Health

Coat Color Is Tied To Health

A little known fact about the Cane Corso is that its coat color has a direct effect on its longevity and health. Brindle Cane Corsos live longer than solid colored ones, with the black brindle dogs making the list of the longest living group. 

Among the solid-colored Cane Corsos, the gray and black dogs have some of the shortest lives, rarely living beyond nine years. And the Formentino Cane Corso (blue fawn) has an even shorter life at 8 years.

According also to research, Cane Corsos with pale-colored coats also tend to be more susceptible to skin problems, while solid black ones are more prone to heat exhaustion.

Health Conditions The Straw Colored Cane Corso Are Prone To

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These straw dogs are generally healthy, but they do have certain medical conditions that they can be prone to. A responsible breeder will usually scan their dogs for these:

  • Hip dysplasia – A common illness among purebred dogs, hip dysplasia are problems concerning the joints making walking difficult or painful.
  • Bloat – Straw Corso pups, like other deep-chested breeds, are susceptible to bloat. It happens when the stomach fills up with food, gas, or fluid and twists. It is a sudden and life-threatening condition when not treated immediately.
  • Demodex mange – Straw dogs are prone to parasitic mites that live in their hair follicles.
  • Idiopathic Epilepsy – These are seizure disorders with no known causes. A responsible breeder will make sure that their Straw-Stack pup is screened for this.
  • Eye Issues – The Straw-Colored Cane Corso may be prone to eyelid abnormalities.

History of the Cane Corso Breed

The Cane Corso is a historied breed that goes all the way back to ancient Rome and beyond. Many believe that it’s even descended from the giant Molossus dogs of Greece. 

The Romans brough these dogs back with them and began to breed them, which resulted in the development of the Neapolitan mastiff and the lighter Cane Corso. 

These dogs are warriors who fought bravely alongside the armies of Rome, guarded their flocks and property, and hunted with them for food and prey. 

During World War II, they almost went extinct. Most of the Italian farmers who kept these pups and bred them were drafted into the war, and as a result, were no longer able to care for these dogs. 

Fortunately, in the 1970s this breed was rediscovered working in a remote farm and a group of men got together to revive the dogs of their childhood. By 1980, the model for the first standard was produced, and by the 90s, the Cane Corso finally had breed recognition. 

The Mighty White Cane Corso: One Loyal and Powerful Breed 4
Image from Fidecore Cane Corso

Caring For The Cane Corso

Exercise Requirements

Although the Corso is not a high energy dog, it needs outdoor exercise and walks of about an hour every day to keep up the tone of their muscles. Take them with you on your bicycle ride or running session. 

Since these dogs were bred to do jobs for their family, they will also expect you to let them carry tasks for you to keep them happy. 

You don’t have to let them guard your farm, but do give them something that looks a bit like work. An obstacle course or something like a play hunt are great as past times. These will not only give them the physical stimulation they need but also provide lots of mental exercise that burns off even more energy.

Maintenance and Grooming

Brushing

These dogs are only medium shedders, so normally you would only need to brush them down twice to three times a week. However, they have double-layered coats and their undercoat can shed a lot during spring season. In this case, brushing should be done daily. 

Bathing 

You don’t need to bathe the Cane Corsi often. The pups will be fine with one proper bathing every 4-7 weeks. 

Ear Care, Oral Care, and More

Trim nails regularly, about once every two weeks. Their noses and mouth should also be cleaned every other day. Toothbrushing, meanwhile, can be done every 2 to 3 days.

Training

An independent dog, the Cane Corso needs a strong hand to rein it in and keep it from excessive barking, howling, or being too mistrustful of strangers. 

The key to this is consistency in training to develop an awesome companion dog that will be absolutely loyal. 

Start your socialization and training at a young age and continue this throughout the life of your dog. Your Cane Corso is all about instinct and will see most things outside of your family as a threat if not properly guided.

Food

The Cane Corso needs high-quality food and not just any kibble. Whether you give him dry food or wet, do make sure that it is high in protein to keep your pups’ muscle tone maintained. 

Your veterinarian will be able to advise you best on how much food your dog needs daily.

The Mighty White Cane Corso: One Loyal and Powerful Breed 5

Pros and Cons of Owning the Breed

Of course, any dog breed will come its advantages and disadvantages. Let me list them down for you so you can decide if Cane Corso dogs fit your lifestyle.

Pros:

  • These dogs make excellent guard dogs because of their loyal and protective nature.
  • They are intelligent and highly trainable, making them ideal as working dogs. 
  • They don’t shed much unless it’s spring and shedding season.
  • Their strong and muscular build makes them a great deterrent against potential intruders.

Cons:

  • They require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, which isn’t ideal for owners who have busy schedules.
  • They can be stubborn and dominant, and not recommended for first-time pet owners.
  • They have a relatively short lifespan of around 9-12 years, which can be difficult for owners who become attached to their pets.
  • Their protective instincts can be too overt and turn into aggression if they are not properly trained and socialized.

Conclusion

Prospective owners should carefully consider their lifestyle and experience with dogs before deciding if a Cane Corso is the right breed for them. Owning a Cane Corso entails setting aside a lot of time and effort to care for it properly. 

If you do decide that this breed is right for you, congratulations! The Cane Corso is one dashing pup that will fill your life with plenty of affection and loyalty, and we hope, a truly rewarding experience for you.

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