Let’s be clear from the start: This is a guide that compares the two breeds, not a sick quest to explore which would win in a fight. Dogfighting is a deplorable activity supported by criminals and despicable human beings who enjoy the barbaric spectacle of seeing dogs tearing each other to pieces.
It is illegal in all forward-thinking countries in the developed world, and rightly so. If you came here looking for gruesome facts about dogfighting, we’re happy to say that you’ll be very disappointed.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take an in-depth look at these two amazing breeds in our Cane Corso vs. Pitbull quest to discover the differences and similarities!
Also known as the Italian Mastiff, the Cane Corso is a powerful beast, originally bred as a working dog. They acted as guard dogs, protecting livestock and remote farmsteads from bandits and wild animals, as well as rounding up and herding cattle or pigs to market. Some dogs assisted in hunting large game.
Their name comes from the Latin Cane, meaning dog, and Corso, which could either mean ‘guardian’ or ‘robust.’ Both meanings are equally appropriate!
These dogs are thought to be descendants of the Molosser breeds of ancient Rome, meaning that the Cane Corso breed has a long history stretching back more than 2,000 years. They were huge, fearsome creatures that joined the Roman army as war dogs, striking fear into the enemies of Rome.
Eventually, after the fall of the Roman Empire, they found a role in the agricultural landscapes of southern Italy, where they became a familiar sight for centuries as they protected livestock and farms. They were still fearsome when required but gentle and placid around their owners and the other beasts.
However, the dog we see today is the product of selective breeding during the 1980s, as the Cane Corso had almost become extinct by that time due to the increased mechanization of farming methods.
Also known as the Pitbull (or Pit Bull), this dog has been the subject of debate and controversy for decades. We’ll look at the term Pitbull in more detail later, but just to be clear, we are referring to the American Pitbull Terrier in this article.
The sad fact is, the dogs themselves are largely blameless. When you look at the facts, including the highly arbitrary and misleading dog bite statistics, you’ll realize that humans are to blame in most cases.
The American Pitbull’s history as a fighting dog doesn’t help matters: the name Pit Bull comes from the days when dogs were placed in a small arena (the pit) where they fought against a range of large beasts, such as bulls and bears (and in some cases, rats). Wagers were placed on each dog to see which would last the longest or bring down the unfortunate animal.
This led to breeds like the English Bulldog and the Bull Terrier, from which all of the later Pit Bull breeds came. When the appalling ‘sport’ of bull/bear-baiting was eventually outlawed in England in 1835, people began to breed smaller, more powerful dogs that were set against each other.
The ancestors of the American Pitbull arrived in America in the mid-1800s, where they continued their role in dogfighting, although they were also used on farms and ranches, herding livestock and hunting hogs. They also became highly valued as loyal companions. The breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1898 when it was officially named the American Pitbull Terrier.
Thankfully, we now (mostly) live in more enlightened times, although dogfighting sadly still remains popular in some countries, including the U.S. The American Pitbull is used extensively in this evil practice, and criminal elements frequently use them as a means of protection against law enforcement.
Despite this, the American Pitbull Terrier is a loveable, fun-loving companion that adores its owners and is generally friendly. As with most breeds, it’s important to train and socialize them as pups, as this helps eliminate any problems later. Even so, some Pitbulls (especially males) aren’t great around other dogs, so you may need to keep them on the leash.
One way to ensure you get an even-tempered dog is to use a reputable breeder. If you select your dog from a breeder that has produced fighting lines, or you buy from a stranger on Craigslist, you’re asking for trouble.
Pit Bull vs Cane Corso: Origins
Pit Bulls were originally bred from Old English Bulldogs in the United Kingdom during the early 19th century. They were primarily used for bear and bull baiting until the practice was banned, after which many owners sadly turned to rat-baiting instead – a terrible sport played out in a pit, hence the dogs name.
Before long, the dogs were being taken to the US by settlers where they were loved for their protective qualities. But there isnt actually a single Pit Bull breed. In the US, the name is used in reference to the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully and, in some instances, the American Bulldog.
The same isnt true of the Cane Corso – which is very much a single breed. These dogs have also long been prized for their guarding instinct while proving to be very capable hunters too. Part of a sub-category of breeds known as the Molloser, the Cane Corso became popular in Greece where they caught the attention of invading Romans.
After breeding them with native Italian breeds, the Romans used them as war dogs and for gladiator games – they would fight bears and lions to the death. Eventually they became working dogs on Italian farms and pets in homes across the world.
Pit Bull vs Cane Corso: Grooming
If youre wondering, “do Cane Corsos shed?”, or if youre thinking the same of Pit Bulls, then the answer is yes in both cases. Thankfully, shedding is moderate despite occurring all year round. Since both breeds hair is short, however, its not much of a problem – a good vacuum cleaner will work wonders but just watch out for excessive shedding which can be a sign of dehydration or stress.
In general, you only need to brush regularly with the best dog brushes and, while youre at it, invest in the best dog nail clippers to keep their paws in tip-top shape and a good toothbrush to keep their teeth clean. It makes both breeds relatively low maintenance and it also means youre not going to be splashing the cash at the groomers. When considering how much does owning a Cane Corso cost you can be certain grooming isnt racking up the bills.
Pit Bull vs Cane Corso: Exercise needs
Although a Cane Corso has less energy than a Pit Bull, both breeds still need to be kept active. Trouble is, they both have a high prey drive and that poses a challenge for any owner. Not only is it crucial that these dogs are kept mentally and physically active, you cant simply take either to a park, take them off the leash and let them run around – in fact, in many cases, youre going to have to keep them muzzled.
Instead, youll need a good-sized, securely fenced yard to allow them to burn off their excess energy as well as the best dog toys to keep their mind ticking over. In that sense, theres very little between the breeds. Youre looking at between 45 minutes to an hour of exercise as a bare minimum but you will find that they can both rest as hard as they play which will be a welcome relief at times.
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These dogs also have a mighty jaw and a strong prey drive. Thanks to their large size and endurance in the pit, this breed can easily dominate, making them one of the best fighting dog breeds. Today, they are also used in the military and becoming a popular dog in police work.