Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso) – Complete Guide with 23 Questions Answered

Why get a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix?

The German Corso is an exciting hybrid which combines the hyper-trainability of the German Shepherd with the power and strength of the devotedly loyal Cane Corso.

This dog is athletic and intelligent and makes an excellent family dog as well as an effective protector of the house.

German Corso

Physical Attributes

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix - Height
Height: Large
Male: 23-27 inches (58-69 cm)
Female: 22-25 inches (56-64 cm)

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix- Weight
Weight:
Male & Female: 82-105 lb (27-48 kg)

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix  - Colors
Colors: Any solid or partial color. But sable, gold, black, black and tan or brindle are likely to feature.
Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix - Group
Parent Breed Groups:

Cane Corso:
Working Group

German Shepherd:
Herding Group

Lifestyle Guidance:

Very High

Excellent

Minimal

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix  - first dog
First
Dog

Average

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix - small pets
Good with Small Pets

Good

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix  - apartment
Apartment Living

Not suitable

Reasons to get a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)

  • Highly trainable (click here for details)
  • Affectionate and devotedly loyal temperament (click here for details)
  • An very good family dog (click here for details)
  • An excellent guard dog (click here for details)
  • Moderate grooming requirements (click here for details)
  • Would suit an owner or family with an active lifestyle (click here for details)
  • Relatively long lifespan for a big dog (click here for details)
  • Able to live with other dogs (click here for details)
  • Able to get along with cats (click here for details)

Reasons not to get a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)

  • This high energy dog will need lots of space and inside out
  • Not suitable for a novice owner
  • Requires lots of physical and mental stimulation
  • Will not suit a frail owner
  • Will need human companionship most of the time

What is a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix?

The Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix offers an intriguing blend of strength, power and trainability. Both parent breeds, the Cane Corso and the German Shepherd, gain their cleverness and obedience owing to a background as herding dogs.

Indeed German Shepherds are technically still in the American Kennel Club category of Herding Group.

The Cane Corso, however, is placed in the Working Group and this large dog is more known for its role as a guard or service dog. But in the dim mists of history the Cane Corso was also used for driving and herding cattle.

In modern times both these dogs are most definitely active working dogs both versatile and adaptable. This means the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix promises to follow in the paw steps of these parent breeds as a very capable hybrid dog.

With a designer breed such as the German Corso it is always important to research the founding breeds, Cane Corso and German Shepherd, in order to be in position to have guidance on both the physical attributes and the temperament.

Click here for our full breed guide.

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix - Cane Corso Parent Breed
The Cane Corso brings physical power and exuberant high spirits to the German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix

What are the history and origins of the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix?

In order to truly understand the qualities and character of a classic or hybrid breed it is essential to have an idea of their original purpose and development.

So here follows an account of the history surrounding both the Cane Corso and the German Shepherd.

Cane Corso History and Origins

The Cane Corso, also known as the Italian Mastiff, has roots extending back to the ancient Molossian war dogs from Ancient Greece.

These huge and powerful hounds where then employed as the Roman empire expanded during the 1st century BC. The forebear of the Cane Corso, known generically as the Italian Mastiff, was used as a war dog, and to grace the amphitheatres in battles with a range of other creatures including bears and lions.

As the Roman Empire declined these dogs were highly prized for both guarding and protecting houses and farms, but also in the hunting of large game such as boars and bears.

In fact the word ‘Cane’ means ‘dog’ and ‘Corso’ means to catch hence the English translation of this dog’s title is ‘catch-dog’. In this capacity this mastiff proved its bravery and formidable strength widely across the hunting fields of Italy.

These breeds were designed to follow the lead of the speedier Sight-Hounds, then to employ their bulk and power in holding down and restraining large prey until the hunters could arrive.

As the popularity of course hunting declined, this courage in tackling larger animals was later employed on farms as Cane Corsos became a cattle driving and herding dogs.

This ancient breed did not achieve recognition from the AKC until 2010. But the Cane Corso has since left the other Mastiff breeds snapping at their heels in the popularity stakes and are currently the 25th most popular breed in the United States according to 2020 registration data [1].

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix - German Shepherd Parent Breed
The German Shepherd brings athleticism and discipline to the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix

The German Shepherd History and Origins

This breed came into being in 1899 in Germany.  Rittmeister Von Stephanitz oversaw the inter-mingling of three different European shepherds’ dogs.

It was an act of alchemical breeding brilliance.  The result was a beautiful and very popular dog.  The German Shepherd is a highly intelligent dog and capable and unbeaten in response to training and adaptation.

It is no surprise then that some proud owners have dubbed the German Shepherd as the king of all dog breeds.  In keeping with this, Stephanitz’s founding dog for the breed had the princely name of Hector.

But naming has been an issue for this dog in the past.  Following the second world war, the German Shepherd Dog was temporarily named the Alsatian to avoid association with Germany. This was based on the region of Alsace in North Eastern France.   But the German Shepherd was able to officially reclaim its original name in 1977.

This brilliant dog quickly found its responsibilities diversified beyond the pastoral. Alongside the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler German Shepherds were used for messaging and guarding during WW2.   It also proved an adept medical dog during WW2. 

As a proven tracker it was able to identify and bear medical supplies to the injured on the battlefield. The armies found this dog focused and reliable.  It was never distracted by other animal scents.

Since then this capable dog has been snapped up by services such as the police and armed forces.  The German Shepherd has also excelled at search-and-rescue, as a guide dog for the blind and in drug detection. 

For one example of their many heroics of this breed look no further than the actions of Finn, a British police dog. His bravery led to the passing of Finn’s Law in the UK. This put in place higher standards of protection for all service animals [1].

The versatile and impressive German Shepherd has consistently proven a very popular breed even occupying the top spot for a number of years. It remains by far the most popular dog in the Herding Group and ranks at number three according to 2020 AKC registration data [2].

Linked Hybrid Breeds:


Cane Corso Great Dane Mix, Cane Corso Boxer Mix, Cane Corso English Bulldog Mix,
Cane Corso Neapolitan Mastiff Mix, Cane Corso English Mastiff Mix, Cane Corso Dogue de Bordeaux Mix, Cane Corso English Bullmastiff Mix, Cane Corso Rottweiler Mix, Cane Corso Doberman Mix.

German Shepherd Great Dane Mix (aka Dane Shepherd)

Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix
The Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix promises an intelligent dog who will excel at training
Image Source: mel-of-the-north @instagram

What is an interesting fact about the German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix?

Both the German Shepherd and the Cane Corso are now viewed generally as excellent guard or service dogs.

But they are, in fact, both essentially herding dogs. Both these parent breeds of the German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix would have been seen herding not only cattle, sheep and goats but even ducks, hens and geese.

Indeed this is still the job of some German Shepherds, although the Cane Corso is now rarely used for herding.

This may explain why both these dogs are good with small animals.

You can therefore expect a German Corso to get along with other animals including any feline friends. But don’t be surprised if they try their paws at herding your disgruntled cat now and again!

It also explains why both these dogs are very good guard dogs linking to their previous role in guarding these herds.

What is the temperament and personality of the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

All dog lovers will agree that both the Cane Corso and the German Shepherd are wonderful breeds and do share some personality traits and characteristics, but there are also differences.

So the following offers a general guide to the temperament of the German Corso with the caveat that a specific dog could favor either of the founding breeds more strongly temperament and behavior.

It is therefore also advisable to refer to a breed guide to research both of these founding breeds to get a full overview of the kind of personality a German Corso may have.

Just like German Shepherds and the Cane Corso you can expect the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix to be a gentle, exuberant and joyful dog at home always ready to play and attempting to be at the center of any family activity.

The German Shepherd Cane Corso will also be highly affectionate dog and tactile. This dog will always want to by your side or lying next to your feet at every opportunity.

The German Corso will inherit the hunting and herding instincts of its parent breeds. So this dog will never be happier than when chasing after a ball or Frisbee or running around with its human pack playing tug and searching games.

In keeping with the personalities of the German Shepherd and Cane Corso, this dog will not necessarily be a ‘one-person’ dog, but is likely to be an affectionate companion to all members of the family.

The German Corso will be a large dog who is highly protective and tolerant towards children, although as ever, all play and interaction must be carefully supervised, particularly with very young children.

It is also highly advised to continue to encourage ‘soft-mouth’ during the socialization of the German Corso puppy. Both parent breeds have a bone-crunching bite-force along with sheer size and bulk and consistent socialization strategies will help prevent any accidents.

Although a friendly and playful companion the German Corso will quickly be able to switch on its protective instincts immediately when necessary. This dog is very likely to be suspicious of strangers

This dog is also going to be very energetic although the natural excitability of the Cane Corso is likely to be softened by the more even temperament of the German Shepherd. So the German Corso will require plenty of exercise when full-grown, as well as interactive play including fetch, tug and ‘treasure-hunt’ based games.

What exercise is required for the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

The short answer for this high energy breed is plenty. Both parent breeds are very active and this dog will require around a couple of hours a day. This will also help keep this dog ‘lean’ which is the healthy shape for this mixed breed dog.

This means the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix will be an athletic and outgoing companion happy to accompany their owners on walks, jog, hikes and they will be able to trot along beside a cycle for miles.

The Cane Corso influence adds to this a need for plenty of mental stimulation as they are a working breed who are constantly looking for something to do or chase.

If possible, walking should be combined with as much physical and mental stimulation as possible. Examples of this include ‘treasure-hunts’, retrieval of balls and Frisbees as well as chasing games.

These German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix should be kept fully stimulated and this will require a good level of physical and mental exercise. This trainable and intelligent dog will enjoy obedience drills as part of an exercise regime.

The German Corso should also ideally be allowed to run off the leash during walks. The good news is that a well-socialized and consistently trained this hybrid dog will be biddable and should have good recall.

The Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix is likely to be a large, bulky dog. This means that exercise should initially be compartmentalized into little and often rather than one walk in the first couple of years.

This is because over-exercise can potentially damage bones, ligament and joints as the dog grows. If you are concerned regarding this then it is highly advised that you discuss this with a vet.

Is the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix a good family pet?

The Cane Corso and the German Shepherd are both large dogs that like to be very close to their human family. This has been intensified by the fact that both have had the traditional role or function of guarding and protecting at close quarters in the history of their development.

This means that wherever you go in the home, the Cane Corso German Shepherd will not be far behind.

These dogs make a for a wonderful family pet and will be happy if close to their humans. This means these dogs can cope readily with new settings and change in routine if taken on holiday.

Although Mastiff breeds generally become anxious if there is a change in routine, this trait is not shared by the Cane Corso. So as long as you have a big enough vehicle your German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix dog is likely to make an excellent travelling companion.

The German Corso will be very eager to please and will want to be at the center of all family activities. They are likely to be very tactile, playful and gentle with children of all ages although, as with all dogs, they must be closely supervised.

An additional bonus is that this dog will be very protective of all the family, particularly children.

Who is the ideal owner of a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso) ?

The ideal candidate to consider a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix should be an experienced dog owner. It is even better if a prospective owner has experience with large and powerful breeds.

Alternatively this dog will prosper most with an owner who is willing to invest time in puppy socialization and training classes to ensure their dog is confident and entirely biddable both within and outside the home.

This is not a dog that does will do well at all when left alone, as both founding breeds tend to shadow their owners.

So the German Corso will best suit owners who can provide company most of the day, otherwise this devoted pooch is likely to suffer from separation anxiety.

An owner will also need to be fit and strong enough to handle this dog alongside ensuring leash training has been consistently put in place.

What are the grooming requirements of the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

The Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix will have only minimal grooming requirements, and is only likely to shed a couple of times a year.

The coat will generally be short and sleek coat will only need brushing around once a week. Although if the German Shepherd Dog heritage includes the long-haired Shepherd then this coat may be longer and require more frequent brushing.

But during periods of very hot weather, the coat acts as a natural aircon system for a dog. So more regular daily brushing is recommended to remove dead hair and allow airflow through the coat. Please click here for other tips on keeping your dog safe in hot weather.

German Shepherds and the Cane Corso have a reputation for being clean, but there is a chance that Cane Corso favored dogs may sometimes drool.

German Corso
The German Corso is very active, high-energy dog who will need at least two hours walking each day
Image Source: eva-z-dr@instagra,

How much space is required for a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

The German Corso is going to not only be large, but will also be very high-energy. The Cane Corso also has the reputation for being something of an escapologist so a German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix will need tall fencing and secure gates in place.

Apartment living is impractical for the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix who will need constant opportunities to burn off excess energy and are also likely to cause damage in a confined space.

What is the lifespan of the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

The lifespan of the Cane Corso is between 10-12 years. While German Shepherd Dogs generally have slightly more longevity and can expect to live up to 13 years.

The likely lifespan for a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix is likely to be between 10-13 years.

What are the potential health problems for a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

Hybrid breed dogs are potentially healthier than classic breeds of dogs.

But it is still important to be aware of some of the health complications that can afflict the founding breeds of the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix as it still possible that they may be inherited.

Potential health problems for the German Corso from the Cane Corso side include:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia .
  • Eye and Vision problems such as Ectopion and Entropion

Other risks from the German Shepherd side may include:

  • gastric torsion and other gastrointestinal complications
  • degenerative disc disease
  • degenerative myelopathy.
Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix
Most German Corsos will have a short, sleek coat. But some may inherit wonderful long hair from the German Shepherd parent. Image Source: abigail-on-air @instagram

What kind of training is required for a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

The Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix will need consistent obedience training to offer mental stimulation. Both German Shepherds and the Cane Corso are highly trainable so training dogs like the German Corso is likely to be a pleasure and very successful.

The Cane Corso has the reputation for being the most focused in training of the Mastiff breeds. The intelligence and adaptability of the German Shepherd has ample evidence through its role in armed and police services across the world.

Thismeans you can expect the Geramn Corso to do very well in any obedience trials and top of the class at any training school or puppy classes.

As a large and powerful dog breed, it is important that the German Corso is comprehensively socialized. This will ensure that this huge dog will be fully manageable outside the home.

This will also mean that this dog will generally be able to cope with a range of situations both inside and outside the home and any domineering behaviors towards other dogs or interactions with people can be mitigated and managed.

It is very important to prioritize the sit and wait command as well as heeling on the leash in order to make this dog completely manageable outside on a walk. This dog will also need time off the leash so early recall training is also important

With proper training consistently based around positive reinforcement, the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix can be trained to a very impressive standard.

Click here for an outline of the benefits of training. Click here for more information on socializing a puppy and here for socializing an adult dog.

How big will a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso) get?

The Cane Corso has a muscular and compact frame with the broad head that is characteristic of Mastiffs. The height range is generally between 24-27.5 inches (60-69cm) for the male with the female only slightly shorter between around 23-26 inches (58-66 cm) from feet to withers.

The male German Shepherd stands at around 23 to 26 inches (58-66cm) with the female generally between 22 to 24 (56-61 cm) inches.

You can expect therefore a male Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix to reach somewhere between around 23-27 inches (58-69 cm) from feet to withers. While the female is likely to be slightly shorter at between 22-25 inches (56-64 cm).

How much is a German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix (German Corso) likely to weigh?

German Shepherds weigh anything between 75 to 95 lbs (35-43 kg). For the Cane Corso these lean muscular dogs weigh in at around 88-110 lb (40-50kg).

This means that a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix is likely to weigh somewhere between 82-105 lb (27-48 kg) with the female generally averaging around 10 lb lighter.

Where should I get a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix from?

If you are looking for a German Corso puppy then always contact a reputable breeder and look out for the following:

  • You should always have the opportunity to see the puppies interacting with the mother
  • If there is little interaction with the ‘mother’ be cautious as occasionally unscrupulous breeders can bring in another female dog for appearances.
  • A breeder should also have details of the father available on request.
  • In addition you should have access to the medical records of both parents and any kennel club certificates.

This will help you avoid puppy mills.

If possible, adoption of adult dogs is a kind and rewarding option. But ensure that you thoughtfully discuss the details of a rescue dog with the charity or rehoming organization in order to offer a dog an appropriate forever home.

Links to some of these organizations can be found below.

If you already have a dog , then please feel free to browse these tips on how to introduce a puppy to an older dog.

The Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix comes in a variety of colors but looks good in all of them. Image Source: phwoodworking @instagram

What are the feeding requirements of a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

It is always a good idea to consult with a vet or animal dietician regarding feeding requirements in the early days of ownership, as each dog will be unique.

This will ensure that your German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix will receive a balance diet in the correct portions. Always carefully research high quality dog food or how to provide a raw food diet for your dog.

It is also important to balance feeding against exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

This dog’s healthiest shape is lean to ease both pressure on the heart and the joints and owners are advised to tailor any diet accordingly towards this goal.

Should I get a male or female Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix?

Each dog is unique, so the following only offers a general guide rather than a rule but male and female dogs can have different dispositions.

In general the female Cane Corso tends to be less likely to try and dominate other dogs and a little more focused in training. So the female Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix is also likely to be slightly more responsive to training and mature more quickly than their male counterpart.

The male dogs among both German Shepherds and the Cane Corso can engage in dominant behaviors with other dogs and preventing this will be a focus of socialization.

The males are also more likely to be stand-offish with unfamiliar people, and are also a little more energetic.

But both the male and female Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix will make equally good guardians of the home and loving and playful family pets.

What colors are common for a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso)?

In general the German Corso could potentially be any solid or partial color.

But the following colors are likely to be common:

  • sable
  • gold
  • black
  • black and tan
  • brindle

Does a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix get along with other dogs (German Corso)?

The Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix is very likely have an even temperament and be able to cohabit with other dogs. This is highly likely as both the German Shepherd and the Cane Corso are able to get on with canine companions in the same home.

But ensure you follow clear steps in introducing established dogs to a puppy or another dog.

Although the Cane Corso can be a little stand-offish with their fellow canines, this is likely to be mellowed by the influence of the more gregarious German Shepherd.

But as already noted the tendency of some of these dogs from both parent breeds to be domineering needs to be addressed through early socialization.

Does a Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix (German Corso) get on with cats?

The Cane Corso has a high prey drive, but this will be balanced by the temperament of German Shepherds as this latter breed has a reputation for being able to live successfully with any feline friends in the house.

To promote the chances of a positive relationship between your Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix and a cat ensure that they are introduced in a structured and sensitive way.

Step 1

Start with putting down items that belong to the German Shepherd Cane Corso Mix puppy before the arrival to accustom the cats to the scent.

Step 2

The confine the puppy to a a restricted area such as a room with a baby-gate. This should certainly include at feeding times. This could be a room with a baby-gate.

Step 3

The area of confinement should then be changed around the house as well as a safely enclosed outside area.

Step 4

When ready allow the puppy out on an appropriate leash or harness and proactively praise positive interactions and correct any chasing.

Step 5

Ensure the cats always have escape areas including high places to promote their sense of confidence and safety.

Does the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix make a good guard dog for the home?

Both the German Shepherd and the Cane Corso excel as guard dogs, not only due to their size, speed and ferocity but also because they are biddable dogs that can be reliably controlled.

Again socialization based around exposing your puppy or dog to welcome guests gradually will really pay-off in ensuring that they are not fearful or reactive to visitors.

The Cane Corso and German Shepherd both have highly developed protective instincts from their original roles as guardians of the flock and property in rural settings.

You can therefore expect this Cane Corso GSD mix to be a very effective protector of both your family and property.

Where can I found out more?

If you are considering a hybrid breed such as the Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix always research both founding breeds to ensure that you are fully prepared for the arrival of your German Corso.

This research will also allow you to nuance your training and lifestyle provision for your exciting new canine family member accordingly.

Please feel free to browse our breed guide for more information on the Cane Corso, German Shepherd and many other breeds. Also a good breeder should be willing to offer you advice and guidance when you take your puppy home.

As noted above if you have any queries or doubts regarding the health or feeding of your Cane Corso German Shepherd Mix puppy consult a professional vet or animal dietician at the earliest opportunity.

Other Cane Corso Hybrid Breeds

Please click on the pictures below to find out more about these other fantastic Cane Corso hybrid breeds:

Mid Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue (USA)
German Shepherd Rescue and Adoptions (USA)

German Shepherd Rescue UK (UK)
UK German Shepherd Rescue (UK)

Cane Corso Rescue (USA)
Must Love Corsos Rescue (USA)

Cane Corso UK and Molosser Rescue (UK)





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