The German Shepherd breed is known for a number of desirable characteristics. Because of this, they…
Since German Shepherds are such a popular breed worldwide, it is an excellent choice to cross the GSD with other breeds. An interesting GSD cross is the German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix.
This article will dive into all of the general characteristics of this mixed breed dog to help you better understand this wonderful dog.
About the German Shepherd Breed
Although German Shepherds are used for a wide variety of roles today, their origins are as herders.
They were first recognized in the 1800s as they were a special breed that showed incredible command over sheep as well as remarkable agility and speed.
Additionally, these dogs showed extraordinary intelligence as they fulfilled their roles independently. These are traits that have been preserved and honed in the modern GSD, and the reason why it is among the world’s most popular breeds.
About the Cane Corso Breed
The Cane Corso (Cani Corsi or simply Corsi in plural form) is an undeniably large breed. However, it is actually smaller than its Mastiff cousins. Nevertheless, it shares their heavy-boned structure, muscular build, and dignified stance.
The Cane Corso’s history began during the Roman Empire when legions that occupied Greece brought home a class of giant working dogs and crossed them to the breeds that were native to Italy.
Over time, those mastiffs became the modern Cane Corso, which are smaller and sleeker. This enables the breed to be better suited to various types of work, including guarding property and droving livestock.
Why Cross a Cane Corso With a German Shepherd?
Both the German Shepherd and the Cane Corso are remarkable working dogs. They are of comparable size and have a similarly confident demeanor when socialized properly. Additionally, they are both very eager to please and incredibly loyal.
Temperament is not typically the reason why anyone would deliberately cross a Cane Corso with a German Shepherd. Often, it is to combine the intelligence of the GSD with the Corsi’s solid structure and easy maintenance.
Additionally, they could also be crossed in order to improve the bite strength of the average German Shepherd.
General Characteristics of a Cane Corso – German Shepherd Mix
Cani Corsi undeniably seem very different from German Shepherds. Indeed, they have some distinct differences, especially in terms of physical appearance.
However, these two breeds also have many traits in common. Here’s how they compare with each other:
|Breed||Height (in.)||Weight (lbs.)|
|German Shepherd Dog||24 – 26||22 – 24||65 – 90||50 - 70|
|Cane Corso||25 – 27.5||23.5 – 26||88 - 120|
German Shepherds and Cani Corsi are very similar in size. In fact, GSDs are typically only an inch or two smaller than Corsi.
Their weight is where they differ significantly as the Cane Corso is more heavily built with large bones and heavily muscular bodies.
Here’s a comparison of their size and weight:
The coats of Corsi are vastly different than those of GSDs. So, the coat of the offspring of these two breeds will depend on which parent it takes after. This can vary greatly, even among puppies from the same litter.
The Cane Corso boasts a dense coat made of short and shiny hairs. They have a light undercoat that is markedly thicker during the cold months.
In contrast, the German Shepherd has thick undercoats that they blow off twice a year. Their guard hairs are also dense but are much longer.
As for color, the Cane Corso-GSD mix is typically solid black or black & tan. They can also be gray, red, or brown with some brindling if it takes after the Corso parent.
The ease of coat maintenance of the German Shepherd-Cane Corso Mix will depend on the type of coat it inherits. The short Corso coat and light undercoat are much easier to maintain as they will need only the occasional bath and once-a-week brushing.
In contrast, the GSD’s dense fur will shed throughout the year and more heavily twice a year. Although they will need to bathe only occasionally, they need to be brushed every few days or so throughout the year, and daily during shedding season.
Apart from coat maintenance, these two breeds have similar grooming requirements. No matter which parent it takes after, the Cane Corso-GSD cross will need frequent tooth-brushing, regular nail-trimming, and occasional ear-cleaning.
Given the build and strength of their parents, Cane Corso-German Shepherd mixes are undeniably strong. They can engage in rigorous physical activity for long periods. That combined with their impressive work ethic makes them ideal working dogs.
As for bite strength, the German Shepherd already registers an impressive 238 psi. However, that’s nothing compared to the 700 psi of the Cane Corso. Their offspring would undoubtedly have a bite strength that’s at least as strong as the GSD’s but likely much stronger.
It shouldn’t be surprising to know that the German Shepherd-Cane Corso mix is quite nimble, despite their size. Both parents are incredibly agile and athletic.
Additionally, this mutt is expected to inherit the endurance of its Corso parent. This further makes them ideal working dogs.
Crosses that take their build from their Corso parent will also need more rigorous physical exercise in order to maintain their muscle tone. As for canine sports, these dogs are generally expected to excel in agility, tracking, and dock diving.
The German Shepherd-Cane Corso Mix is highly trainable, especially if it takes its intelligence from its GSD parent. German Shepherds are recognized as one of the smartest dog breeds.
They belong to the first tier of canine intelligence where dogs are expected to learn new commands in fewer than 5 repetitions. They are also expected to obey that command at least 95% of the time.
On the other hand, Mastiffs in general are not known for their intelligence. While the Cane Corso has not been ranked in the Dog Intelligence Ranking Report, its cousins do not rank very highly.
The Bullmastiff ranks at the 5th tier while the Mastiff ranks even lower at the 6th tier. At these rankings, dogs need over 40 repetitions to learn a new trick and might respond to those commands only 30-40% of the time.
The Cane Corso-German Shepherd Mix is expected to be highly intelligent, confident, and eager to please. They are also very loyal dogs and will have the instinct to protect their humans and defend their homes. When properly socialized, they are suitable pets around kids and other animals.
Although these dogs might have a serious presence, they are actually quite affectionate and prefer to be in the presence of their humans at all times. Nevertheless, these dogs need the leadership of a firm handler in order to keep them well behaved.
Like most large breeds, the GSD-Cane Corso Mix should be observed for the development of hip or elbow dysplasia. These dogs are also prone to life-threatening bloat, which can typically be avoided through the proper choice of food and giving appropriate food portions.
Nevertheless, if you have a GSD-Corso cross, make sure you talk to your vet about the signs of bloat and how to address it should those symptoms occur.
Cani Corsi have an average life expectancy of 9-12 years while German Shepherds are expected to live longer between 12 and 14 years. The offspring of this mix are expected to live between 9-14 years, although many undoubtedly live far longer.
Feeding them high-quality dog food, taking them for regular vet check-ups, and enabling them to enjoy a generally comfortable existence will definitely improve their longevity.
The American Kennel Club ranks the German Shepherd as its 2nd most popular breed while the Cane Corso isn’t quite as popular at number 32. However, a cross between the two will only be recognized by the organization through the AKC Canine Partners Program.
This program enables dogs of all kinds to participate in a wide variety of AKC events. So even if there are no conformation events for the GSD-Corso cross as there are for purebreds, they can compete in companion sports, performance sports, and title recognition programs.
How popular is the German Shepherd – Cane Corso Mix?
Although Cani Corsi are not as common as German Shepherds, they’re not exactly rare. However, purebred Corsi cost $1,500 on average and can go for as high as $2,500. So, there’s not much interest in crossing them with other breeds.
The same is true for purebred GSDs, which sell for $800 on average and up at $1,900.
Since there is little incentive to cross these dogs, it is very difficult to find them. Often, they are the product of accidental mating, which rarely happens with responsible breeders.
However, if you do find one, you might be able to enjoy the best of both breeds.
Crossing a German Shepherd with a Cane Corso will undoubtedly result in beautiful and rewarding offspring. If you’re not yet convinced that the German Shepherd-Cane Corso Mix is your best option, you may want to check out GSDs crossed with other interesting breeds like the Tibetan Mastiff, Black Mouth Cur, or Black & Tan Coonhound.