Cane corso colors range from popular, common shades like black, to unusual, recessive hues like fawn and grey. Which one is your favorite?
- All of the Cane Corso colors
- Most common and rarest Cane Corso colors
- Links between color, health, and temperament
- Grooming Cane Corso dogs
The Cane Corso is a large, intelligent and loyal breed originally found in Italy as a guardian dog. They have a short, smooth coat that comes in a huge range of colors. And, their grooming needs are relatively easy, particularly since they are not heavy shedders. The coat color they express will depend on the genes they inherit. So, let’s take a closer look at each Cane Corso shade, and if any will impact the breed’s temperament or health.
About the Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is a working dog breed that was accepted by the AKC 2010. However, despite their relatively recent acceptance, these dogs and their ancestors have been around as guardians and companions for several decades.
These dogs grow up to be quite large, and have a muscular, athletic physique. They are intelligent, energetic, and very loyal to their families. So, it’s important to train and socialize them well from a young age to reduce the risk of territorial aggression.
All the Cane Corso Colors
All dog fur colors come from two basic pigments: eumelanin (black) and pheomelanin (red). Puppies inherit genes from their parents which will impact these base pigments to produce different shades and patterns. But, that doesn’t mean that Cane Corsi can come in all possible colors. Let’s take a closer look at the officially recognized Cane Corso colors.
One of the most popular and most common Cane Corso colors is black. The genes that cause a solid black coat are dominant, so they are more likely to express than colors with recessive genes acting on the same base pigment.
Black Cane Corsi are very popular, because many potential owners believe this increases the ‘fierce’ appearance of their dog. But, Corsi with this coloring may need special care in the summer, as their black fur will become very hot in the sun.
Fawn is also sometimes referred to as tan, cinnamon or sable. This coloring is caused by a dilute gene, which acts on red pigment. But, dilute genes are recessive. So, puppies need to receive a copy from both parents in order to show up as fawn.
Some fawn Cane Corsi may also have a black or grey mask on their face. Their coloring will usually be uniform over their entire bodies, but some may have slightly darker pigmentation over certain areas.
Grey coloring, like fawn, is also caused by dilute genes. But, instead of acting on the base red pigment, they dilute black pigment. Grey is also often called blue or silver, so some breeders may market their grey Corso puppies with these terms to make them seem more unique.
It’s also not unusual to see these dogs with small patches of white fur, particularly on their chest, throat, chin, and toes. Shades of grey can vary in their intensity, just like the fawn coloring.
Red Cane Corso dogs can have a black or grey mask. The genes that cause red fur are dominant, so a puppy only needs to receive one copy of the gene to express this color. But, red can still vary in its intensity. So, red Cane Corsi can range from a brighter orange to a deep, rusty red.
Brindling is available on all of the Cane Corso colors. This type of color is caused by an irregular pattern of contrasting eumelanin and pheomelanin. It creates a striped pattern on your dog’s fur.
The distribution of this pattern and the exact placement of each pigment can really vary from one brindle Corso to the next. So, each one will be completely unique. Some may also have a black or grey mask, or white patches.
Which is the Most Common Cane Corso Color?
The most common Cane Corso colors are those caused by dominant genes. This is because a puppy only needs to receive one dominant gene to express that color. Black and red are both dominant shades. But, black is still more common than solid red, as to express as solid red without any eumelanin in the coat, a dog must receive two copies of the recessive red gene (ee).
Another factor that can influence how common a color is, is its popularity. This can change over time. Being popular or on trend can mean that more breeders are purposefully breeding for those shades. But, it can also mean that there’s a higher demand for those colors. So, since black is such a popular color, you might actually find yourself on waiting lists to get a black puppy, despite its prevalence over other colors.
Which is the Rarest Cane Corso Color?
The rarest Cane Corso colors are usually those caused by the dilute gene. This is because the dilute gene is recessive. So, fawn and grey coloring won’t show if your dog only receives one copy of the dilute gene. Instead, they will express as red or black.
Some breeders will purposefully plan their breeding to try and achieve dilute coloring in their puppies. But, at other times, recessive genes can go unnoticed over generations, so a dilute puppy could appear seemingly at random in a litter!
Either way, popularity can again impact the availability of these puppies. Marketing dilute shades as ‘rare’ and ‘uncommon’ is often a way to drive up their value and demand with new owners. And, in some cases, it’s a sign of a disreputable breeder. But, the higher demand is for these recessive colors, the harder it can often be to find a puppy.
Links Between Color and Health
It’s important to consider the links between your dog’s health and fur color when evidence arises. For instance, research has suggested that dogs with paler coats can show a higher intensity of skin problems. One specific example is the potential predisposition to color dilution alopecia in fawn and grey Cane Corsi. Dogs affected with this problem may experience fur thinning and fur loss, as well as itchy or irritated skin.
Cane Corso dogs with black fur may also be prone to overheating and heat stroke in hot weather. So, make sure they have constant access to fresh, cool water, and plenty of shade when they’re outside.
Aside from these color-linked problems, you should learn about the breed’s most common hereditary issues to ensure you can recognise early signs of any problems your Cane Corso might experience.
Links Between Color and Temperament
Current research doesn’t describe any difference in personality types for different colored Cane Corso dogs. However, our perception of personality can change depending on the color of the dog. Research has shown that people tend to rate black dogs lower in terms of agreeability, conscientiousness, and emotional stability, than yellow dogs. This tendency to associate negative traits with certain types of dog is also known as Big Black Dog Syndrome.
Of course, a black Cane Corso won’t necessarily be any less friendly or agreeable than any other shade. But, they can also be purchased by people with bad intentions, who are looking to raise a ‘fierce’ guardian dog, or even an aggressive fighting dog.
Regardless of color, Cane Corsi are very loyal to their immediate family. Their earliest working role was as a guardian dog. So, they can be territorial and suspicious of strangers. To reduce the risk of aggression, you must train and socialize your Cane Corso well from a young age.
Cane Corso Grooming
The grooming needs of a Cane Corso won’t vary hugely no matter what their color. But, dirt is more likely to show up on paler fur. So, a grey or fawn Cane Corso may need grooming and washing a little more frequently than a black version.
However, it’s important not to wash your dog’s coat too often. Doing so can actually do more harm than good. Particularly if you have a paler Corso with skin problems. In these cases, you should follow your veterinarian’s advice. Cane Corsos are relatively low maintenance in terms of grooming. They don’t shed much, but brushing will help to remove any shedding furs as it gets hotter.
Perhaps more so than the need for brushing and bathing, is the need for wiping away drool. Cane Corsi can be quite drooly dogs. Removing the drool won’t require a full bath. You can just take a clean, damp cloth and wipe away any drool that’s around your dog’s mouth. But, make sure they’re comfortable with you doing so from a young age, to ensure there is no nervousness or fear during the process as an adult.
Which Cane Corso Color is Best?
Choosing the right Cane Corso color will usually come down to personal preference and the availability of puppies. But, bear in mind the potential health concerns linked to certain colors, like color dilution alopecia.
What color is your favorite?
Readers Also Liked
- Cane Corso Dog Breed: Information, Pictures, And Video
- Best Food For Cane Corso Puppy Health and Fitness
- Cane Corso Temperament – Is This Dog Right For Your Family?
References and Resources
- Brancalion, L. (et al), ‘Canine Coat Pigmentation Genetics: A Review‘, Animal Genetics (2021)
- Dog Coat Color Genetics (2020)
- Hoon Kim, J. (et al), ‘Color-Dilution Alopecia in Dogs’, Journal of Veterinary Science (2005)
- Korec, E. (et al), ‘Inheritance of Coat Color in the Cane Corso Italiano Dog’, BMC Genetics (2019)
- Fratkin, J. & Baker, S. ‘The Role of Coat Color and Ear Shape on the Perception of Personality in Dogs’, Anthrozoos (2013)
- Jones, A. & Gosling, S. ‘Temperament and Personality in Dogs (Canis Familiaris): A Review and Evaluation of Past Research’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2005)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Cutler, J. (et al), ‘Puppy Socialization Practices of a Sample of Dog Owners from Across Canada and the United States’, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (2017)
- van der Borg, J. (et al), ‘Evaluation of Behavior Testing for Human Directed Aggression in Dogs’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2010)