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Cane Corso Vs German Shepherd: Who’s The Best Boy?

Cane Corso Vs German Shepherd: Who’s The Best Boy?

One of the hardest questions I had to answer is this one: Cane Corso vs German Shepherd? Who is simply… better?

It’s like the apples and oranges situation here. These dog breeds have so many things in common, but they’re physically different, and they come from different backgrounds.

Still, this doesn’t stop future dog owners from busting their heads, trying to figure out which of these two dog breeds to get.

Dog lovers who want a Corso or a GSD are people who want a loyal animal that will follow them into fire if necessary. That’s probably the best way to describe both of these dog breeds.

They’re courageous, devoted, and completely focused on their humans. What else could you wish for?

Oh, right… shedding is important, too, as well as their overall health status.

Still, the GSD and the Cane Corso are passing all lessons with straight A’s. Sure, they can fail a bit, but that’s only up to your preferences.

If you’re wondering which of the two is your future furry BFF or if you’re simply having trouble finally settling on one breed, stay tuned.

This comparison will settle the battle once and for all! So, get yourself comfortable, grab your coffee and a piece of paper, and let’s get started!

Appearance: Are GSDs And Cane Corsos Similar Or Not?

gray cane corso and german shepherd

Cane CorsoGerman Shepherd
Weight 90-110lbs 50-90lbs
Height 23”-27” 22”-26”
Muzzle type broad, deep, and long Tail type docked, with slight curl or curl
Body typebulky, rectangular body Slightly elongated and muscular

As I mentioned in my introduction, Cane Corsos and German Shepherds are two dog breeds that completely contrast. The only thing they have in common is the occasional coat color. They don’t have the same body structure, head shape, or muzzle shape, not to mention their height or weight.

Cane Corso

At the first glance of a Cane Corso, you’ll notice the regal posture and the dominance that seems to ooze everywhere this dog shows up. Yup, the Cane Corso is a pretty large dog that won’t leave you without a comment. They surely demand admiration!

The Cane Corso’s muscular body structure is probably the first thing you’ll notice with these boys. Nope, they’re not consuming generic dog food. Large breeds like this one need premium protein in order to make those muscles move.

With muscle mass comes great strength, but I won’t recommend you try to test it. One session of tug-o-war with your Corso and you’ll be done.

Their boxy head, droopy lips, and docked tail make Corsos resemble Boxers, Pitbulls, and other breeds that have been used in dog fighting throughout history.

I believe that’s the reason why people love Cane Corsos. If only they knew how sweet these pups can be!

Well, they will find that out soon.

German Shepherd

A slightly curved body line with a long, feathered tail, and pointy ears is what makes the German Shepherd dog so recognizable. It’s like these guys are always in position ready to start hunting or attacking. See more on these dogs’ ears in our article on the German Shepherd ears chart.

But, don’t let that fool you. German Shepherds won’t show aggression if they know how to behave around people.

Compared to the Cane Corso, a GSD is always smaller in height and weight. They, too, have muscles, but they’re hidden deep under their soft, double coat. I like to say that German Shepherds are athletic, while Corsos are more of a “bodybuilder” kind of dog.

While you won’t see a Corso wagging its tail, a German Shepherd will happily greet you by sweeping its tail on the floor, and looking forward to finally seeing you!

As I said, they’re not similar in terms of physical appearance, but they do share some personality traits we’re about to see soon.

Which Coat Type Do These Breeds Carry?

cane corso and GSD

Cane CorsoGerman Shepherd
Coat type: single (sometimes a thin undercoat)double coat
Coat length: short long and short
Colors: fawn, black, brindle, formentino, blueblack & tan, gray, black, white, silver, liver
Signature Markings: black mask black mask and black saddle

Cane Corso

When I first saw the Cane Corso’s shiny black coat, I felt how dominant this dog breed is. I simply felt his regal posture and unwavry attitude.

And, I was right.

Cane Corso dogs are truly dominant over other dog breeds, with their short coat that usually comes in one layer. However, a light undercoat is still quite possible. If you reach your hand and touch this dog, you’ll feel how coarse their hair is. It’s not that harsh, meaning it does have something subtle.

What’s so amazing about their coat is the fact that it’s waterproof. This makes Corsos suitable for all-weather conditions. Of course, all but extremely harsh winters.

Cane Corso coat colors are usually dark toned. They come in black, gray, blue, fawn, red, formentino, and chocolate. Their coat can also fashion some markings or patterns like straw or brindle.

Besides having a short, coarse coat, Cane Corsos are known for having skin rolls, especially if you’re dealing with a chubby Corso. They’re found in a moderate amount, but still, keep an eye on skin infections and bacteria hiding between the rolls.

German  Shepherd

We’re all familiar with how the average German Shepherd looks. But, there’s so much more to these wonderful dogs than the standard black-and-tan coat color combination.

The German Shepherd dog breed is rich in diversity. These doggos can have both long- and short-haired coats, as well as numerous GSD coat colors. Truly, there’s a GSD for everyone’s liking.

What first comes to your mind when someone mentions a German Shepherd is a dog with short hair, a double coat, in black and tan color, and with a black mask on its face.

But, besides being short coated, a GSD can also fashion a pretty unusual long-haircoat option, which leaves everyone stunned.

As for their coat colors, German Shepherds also come in red and black, white, black, blue, silver, sable, liver, gray, and Isabella.

Unfortunately, GSD colors like blue and liver are strictly prohibited by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as they’re faulty, and may carry many hereditary issues.

What’s a Cane Corso’s Temperament Vs a GSD’s Temperament?

cane corso and german shepherd playing

Before we get into details about each dog’s temperament traits, you must know that these breeds aren’t for first-time owners. Both the Corso and the German Shepherd require someone with experience that will assume the role of the alpha dog.

If you let them be in charge, their dominant character won’t be that appealing to you.

German Shepherd

With a reputation of being excellent working and guard dogs, German Shepherds are a popular choice for many families in the States. People want safety. They believe that a powerful dog will serve as a protection dog that will allow them to sleep peacefully at night.

And, they’re truly right.

Excellent watchdogs like the Doberman, the Rottweiler, or the German Shepherd are your way to go if you seek companions and protectors. You don’t have to question a GSD’s loyalty. They’re beyond that, and they are devoted to their owners like crazy.

Keep in mind that they’re more likely to get attached to one family member instead of the entire family. But, this doesn’t make them aggressive to everyone else. The German Shepherd’s aggression is a myth.

A well-socialized GSD can be the ideal dog. Such dogs won’t show signs of aggression just because they’re dominant.

Keeping in mind that their trainability is extremely high, we can absolutely say that German Shepherds have a nice and easy-going temperament.

Cane Corso

We’re used to the fact that all Mastiff-type dogs are pretty intimidating and dangerous at first sight. But, that’s really not the whole truth.
Sure, Mastiff dogs can be tough, but take the Cane Corso for example. These dogs are the best example of what I like to call “a gentle giant”. Corsos are large dogs with a big, soft heart. The Corso’s aggression is a myth, of course, when socialized and trained.

The other side of the coin is that Corsos can be pretty stubborn and hot-headed. This is probably the biggest issue you’ll encounter with this dog breed; thus, training may be a bit difficult.

Other than that, Corsos love showing affection to their owners. They’re as loyal as the next German Shepherd, and they always keep an eye on the family. Trust me, nothing can get past their alertness.

Trainability: Who Learns Faster?

cane corso vs german shepherd

Training and socialization are two major parts of every puppy’s upbringing. One without the other won’t work out. Dogs, like the Cane Corso and the GSD, need a leader – someone who won’t hesitate to train them with a firm hand.


The good thing about these breeds is that they’re both working dogs. They’re used to taking commands and fulfilling tasks. In fact, German Shepherds are known to be excellent service dogs because they’re easy to train, and they soak up lessons like no other dog breed.

The biggest advantage of German Shepherds in terms of trainability is the fact that they actually want to please their owner. They’re sociable dogs that will do their best to see their owner satisfied. This makes them excellent students.

The Cane Corso, on the other hand, isn’t a straight “A” student because it is so stubborn. Training them can be pretty tiring, and it often lacks results. These dogs simply don’t allow anyone to easily put them under control.

The Cane Corso is still intelligent, but you need to find a way to approach their intelligence and use it well, so you don’t have training problems.

Training Methods

In both cases, what you can use to go through dog training successfully is positive reinforcement.

Since German Shepherds are sociable creatures, they will find praises, tummy rubs, and kind words very effective. As I said, they seek their owners’ approval in all situations.

The Cane Corso, on the other hand, is very food-motivated. Handing out delicious treats when your Corso completes a task successfully is the way to go. But, try not to stuff them with unhealthy treats, okay? Doritos are not for dogs… not even occasionally.

I just want to emphasize the importance of early socialization not only for these pups, but for all dog breeds. Unsocialized dogs may become aloof, aggressive, and even dangerous.

Expose your Cane Corso and German Shepherd to different animals, people, sounds, and situations so he will be used to changes. This will help him control himself and show no aggression if something unknown gets in his way.

Health Problems: Which Breed Has Fewer Issues?

Cane CorsoGerman Shepherd
Hip dysplasiaYesYes
Ectropion YesNo
Entropion YesNo
Elbow dysplasiaNoYes
Demodectic mange YesNo
Degenerative myelopathyNoYes

Both the German Shepherd and the Cane Corso breeds have a similar average life expectancy. If you treat them well, and don’t allow health issues to take over, your GSD can have a lifespan of 9 to 13 years, while your Cane Corso’s lifespan can be 10 to 12 years.

German Shepherd

Like any other dog breed, the German Shepherd will face certain health problems as he becomes older. Many issues are hereditary, meaning they’re transferred from parents onto the litter. To prevent such situations, people search for reputable breeders who tend to breed out issues like dysplasia.

Yes, hip and elbow dysplasia are usually health issues with German Shepherds. These conditions affect the dog’s mobility, and cause terrible pain. Operations and lifetime treatment is needed.

Besides hip dysplasia, German Shepherds often suffer from severe conditions like hemophilia and epilepsy. Your average GSD may have epilepsy without you even knowing it. However, if the dog is kept away from stressful situations, epileptic attacks may never occur.

On the other hand, dog hemophilia is a life-threatening condition caused by continuous inbreeding of this dog breed. This is the inability for the dog’s blood to clot, meaning that one tiny cut and your GSD with hemophilia may bleed to death.

Senior GSDs may get cataracts as well as diabetes as a result of getting old.

Cane Corso

Cane Corsos and GSDs share some health issues, such as bloat and hip dysplasia.

Bloat (or GDV) is a common condition in all large dogs, especially if they eat too fast and inhale too much air. Bloat makes the dog’s stomach twist and obstruct breathing. This may even be fatal, so watch for signs such as your dog breathing heavily, melancholy, distress, etc.

Since it has a short coat without a dense undercoat, the Cane Corso is quite prone to demodectic mange. This condition is caused by a parasite that acts aggressively on the dog’s hair follicles. Demodectic mange results in skin inflammation and overall hair loss. It’s uncomfortable and itchy for our buddies.

Eye conditions like entropion and ectropion are not unusual with Corsos. Entropion causes the dog’s eyelid to turn inward, and ectropion causes the dog’s eyelid to turn outward. It’s painful and should be treated immediately.

Other than these potential health problems, Corsos are fairly healthy dogs.

Is It Easier To Groom A Cane Corso Than A GSD?

german shepherd holding a brush

You may think that large-breed dogs have high grooming requirements just because they’re large. But, there’s something other than the dog’s size that affects the grooming needs, and it’s the dog’s coat.

German Shepherds and Cane Corsos are two completely different dogs in terms of their coat. They’re contrasting, meaning their grooming requirements won’t be anywhere the same.

Cane Corso

Cane Corsos are fairly easy to take care of. They don’t have high grooming needs as they don’t have much of a coat for grooming to begin with.

You can’t get by with occasional brushing, about twice a week. Use a soft bristle or slicker brush that will catch loose dog hair. Also, dog grooming gloves are a fantastic tool! Not only do they gather dead hair, but they also massage the dog’s body.

With Cane Corsos, you don’t need to worry much about brushing. It’s some other things that could give you a headache. Since this dog breed can have skin rolls, especially chubby dogs of this breed, you will need to worry about hygiene between the rolls.

Skin rolls are an excellent place for bacteria growth and infections. Wash them regularly with warm water and a soft cloth. Use mild shampoos that won’t make the skin dry, itchy, or irritated.

Another thing that may worry you with Cane Corsos is their drooling. Man, these dogs can drool a lot! Always have a rug nearby or you’ll have dog saliva as your home decoration.

German Shepherd

The Alsatian (or German Shepherd) isn’t a delight to groom. GSDs shed a lot. That’s a fact that you will have to swallow. Well, as long as you don’t swallow loose dog hair, right?

Enough kidding around… let’s see what you’ll need in order to groom a GSD!

Since these dogs come with a double coat that sheds massively, you will need several grooming tools, including pin brushes, undercoat rakes, combs, and slicker brushes. The thing is, no matter if it’s a long-haired Shepherd or a short-haired Shepherd, a GSD will need brushing three to four times a week.

It would be ideal if you could perform daily brushing.

German Shepherds are dogs that shed massively during the spring and fall, or during the great blowout seasons. This is the time when you need to pay extra attention to their grooming needs. Nothing sadder than an ungroomed German Shepherd.

Which Makes A Better Family Pet: A GSD Or A Corso?

cane corso and two german shepherds watching the sunset

Good family dogs aren’t necessarily small- or medium-sized pooches like Goldendoodles or Frenchies. Large dogs like Pitbulls, Boxers, Bullmastiffs, German Shepherds, and Cane Corsos can be terrific family pets, too. The only thing is that you need to find a way to train them properly.

Dogs are domesticated creatures. They’re meant to live with humans. No matter how shy a dog is, he still needs human company. You shouldn’t leave them out alone, especially not for too long.

If you own a Cane Corso or a German Shepherd, soon enough, you’ll realize they love hanging out with you… equally! It’s only a matter of how much affection each dog will show.

German Shepherd

Generally speaking, German Shepherds make terrific family dogs. Sure, thanks to their prey drive and herding genese, they are considered exquisite guardians and watchdogs, just like Corsos. But, a GSD prefers the company of their family members.

Give them a task they can finish successfully, and then reward them with some fun playtime, or simply cuddle with them in bed. These furry buddies are very versatile.

Personally, I always put German Shepherd dogs on the top of my family dogs list. They’re beyond loyal, devoted completely to making you happy, and overall so caring.

Cane Corso

These war dogs are not THAT feisty anymore!

When you look at a Cane Corso, you’ll feel intimidated and scared a bit because they’re so robust. But, you shouldn’t really be so afraid. The only thing that should scare you about a Corso is that they’re very intelligent dogs.

The Cane Corso (or the Italian Mastiff) could be the best dog ever if you only give him a chance. This means proper training and letting him know you’re the boss.

Of course, I wouldn’t let even a trained Corso or GSD be alone with kids, especially not little ones. They may not mean harm, but rough playing could hurt a small child. So, better keep that under control.

All in all, German Shepherds and Cane Corsos are equally great family pets. You won’t find two dog breeds that are more loyal to their family than these guys.

How Much Exercise Do These Dogs Need?

I’ll be honest with you: both dog breeds we’re discussing today are needy in terms of exercising. A Cane Corso’s and a GSD’s exercise needs are high on a daily basis. You will need to devote at least an hour every day to drain their energy levels.

And, I don’t mean taking a light stroll through the park. Chances are, that stroll won’t even take 10% off of their energy capacity.

German Shepherds are working dogs. As I mentioned earlier, they love to keep themselves busy. Besides an occasional jog, I recommend you pay more attention to enrolling your dog into different activities like obstacle courses, or even search and rescue games and missions.

These games will benefit the dog’s mental condition, and keep those gray cells sharp.

The same goes for the Cane Corso. They, too, need strenuous exercises like hiking, playing fetch, or even swimming.

I wouldn’t recommend you skip on daily workouts with Cane Corsos. They can become quite restless and bored. Trust me, you don’t want them to feel bored because then, they become destructive. Destructive behavior may even lead to aggression if not nipped in the bud.

Who Is Pricier: A Cane Corso or a German Shepherd?

cane corso and GSD puppy

While many of our questions have unclear answers, the answer to this question is quite simple and straightforward.

So, how much does a Cane Corso cost? How much are GSDs?

A Cane Corso is pricier than a German Shepherd, and here’s why!

The German Shepherd is one of the most common dog breeds in the world, not only in the States. Their availability has affected their price greatly. That’s why you can find good, purebred German Shepherds for as low as $1,500 or so.

Naturally, prices may go up and down, but that’s the average for a pet-quality GSD. Show-quality dogs are way more expensive!

Since the Cane Corso isn’t so popular outside its origin country, Italy, these dogs have to be pricey. Lately, there has been a demand for Corsos, and they’re finally getting their slice of the cake. This puts them on the list of the most expensive dogs.

Cane Corsos aren’t usually pet-quality dogs. Most Corsos in the States are of premium quality, and can easily be enrolled into conformation shows and win all the ribbons.

So, the average price of $3,500 shouldn’t surprise you. You’ll find more Corsos priced way more than this, and that’s completely normal for such a dog breed.

Reputable GSD and Corso Breeders In The States

Good German Shepherd and Cane Corso breeders are pretty hard to find. Trust me, I’ve encountered a lot of unreliable breeders, concealed puppy mills, and bad kennels while I was searching for reputable breeders.

Luckily, PupVine has some pretty great breeders that are breeding and raising only purebred Cane Corsos and purebred German Shepherds that come from terrific bloodlines.

Cane Corso breeders:

Cane Corso breeders in Illinois

Cane Corso breeders in Pennsylvania

Cane Corso breeders in Florida

Cane Corso breeders in Texas

Cane Corso breeders in the UK

Cane Corso breeders in Ontario

German Shepherd breeders:

German Shepherd breeders in Ontario

German Shepherd breeders in the UK

German Shepherd breeders in Wisconsin

German Shepherd breeders in Florida

German Shepherd breeders in California

German Shepherd breeders in Ohio

German Shepherd breeders in New York


german shepherd photographed with mountains in background

Is A Cane Corso Stronger Than A German Shepherd?

Well, this is something that can be answered in two different ways. Yes, a Cane Corso is stronger than a GSD. But also, no, not every Cane Corso is stronger than a GSD.

You see, there are German Shepherd dogs that won’t fall within the height and weight range. Naturally, such dogs are stronger than the average GSD. So, we can definitely say that they can be stronger than some Corsos.

But, if we speak about whose bite is stronger, the clear winner is the Cane Corso.

The Corso is placed at #3 on the list of dogs with the strongest bite. Their bite has 700 PSI units!

Surprisingly, the German Shepherd is only at number #12 of the strongest bites. They have 238 PSI units. Still, this doesn’t stop GSDs from being used as police dogs or in military forces. As a matter of fact, during WW2, German soldiers used German Shepherds for attacks in some missions.

They were very vicious, so imagine how strongly raised and trained these dogs were.

Are Cane Corsos Good With German Shepherds?

Unlike some dog breeds that hate sharing their living space with other dogs, the Cane Corso is pretty tolerable. They won’t mind if you bring another pup in the house, especially not if it’s a puppy of the opposite sex.

I do have to warn you that some Cane Corsos show signs of aggression towards dogs of the same sex. It’s a matter of dominance, and it can be curbed with training and letting them know their place in the pack.

I would recommend you try to raise two puppies together, so they get used to each other by the time they reach the critical point in their teen years.

But, all in all, Corsos do well with GSDs. I see no reason why you shouldn’t own a Corso and adopt a GSD, too!

To Sum Up…

So, who is better: Cane Corso vs German Shepherd?

Maybe you’ll fancy their lovechild, the Cane Corso German Shepherd mix?

I bet you’ve found some solid arguments as to why one dog breed is better than the other. Those are the arguments that should help you decide which dog to get.

I can’t be ignorant and say: Hey, listen to me… this dog breed is simply the best.

That’s not how things work, especially not since we all have different preferences when it comes to canine friends. What works for one dog owner might be a deal breaker for the other, so don’t try to force your opinion.

If you like the GSD’s energy and activity, you might not like the Corso’s occasional cold shoulder or stubbornness.

To be honest, both breeds are truly terrific. You should be good no matter if you choose a GSD or a Corso. You’ll get a dog that will appreciate you and the time spent together. You’ll get a dog that’s equally smart, brave, and caring.

I seriously can’t think of two better dog breeds suitable for active people. Just imagine you and your Corso or GSD running together in the morning, playing fun games in the park, and snoozing on the sofa together at the end of the day!

I couldn’t imagine a better furry buddy for such a lifestyle. Can you?

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