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Cane Corso vs Rottweiler: Which breed is right for you?

A Cane Corso next to a Rottwelier. Split screen image
(Image credit: Getty)

If you’ve been trying to decide between the Cane Corso and the Rottweiler in your quest for your next canine companion, you’ve come to the right place to help you compare the differences. 

Both are relatively similar in size, and are both large dogs who were originally bred as guard dogs. Despite their stature – and arguably their reputation – both can make for great family-friendly dogs with the right training and environment.

In the guide below, we’ll look at the backstory of these two breeds, and explore the essential information you’ll need to help you make a decision over which to choose – including temperament, size, strength, intelligence and more.

Cane Corso vs Rottweiler: Origins 

The Cane Corso finds its origins in Italy, and is descended from Roman war dogs. Its ancestor – now extinct – is the Molossus, which was a mastiff-type dog, from which the Cane Corso was bred for guarding property and participating in hunting games. 

Similarly, the Rottweiler can also trace its origins back all the way to Roman times, where they were used to pull carts, herd cattle and guard homes.

You’ll often find that Rottweilers are used in modern-day service situations, such as by the police and as guard dogs, in similar circumstances to the German Shepherd. If you’re also considering that breed, be sure to check our Rottweiler vs German Shepherd guide.

Cane Corso vs Rottweiler: Size

Both the Cane Corso and the Rottweiler can be considered large dogs, and they’re both very similar in size and weight.

As such, the Cane Corso typically reaches sizes of 25-27 inches for males, or 2.35-26 inches for females. They’ll generally weigh 99-110lbs (males), or 88-99 lbs (females). 

For the Rottweiler, males tend to grow to around 24-27 inches, with females a little smaller at 22-25 inches. You’ll usually find that males weigh between 95-135 lbs, while females reach 80-100 lbs. 

Cane Corso vs Rottweiler

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cane Corso vs Rottweiler: Temperament 

Both the Cane Corso and the Rottweiler are brave, confident and loyal dogs. Having been originally bred as guard dogs, they can be fierce and protective, which can lead to aggression if not trained properly or when faced with a hostile environment. 

With the right training, both can be good family dogs, though it is the Rottweiler which is recommended if you have young children and other pets in the house – particularly small animals.

Additionally, the Rottweiler is known for being a little friendlier and cuddlier, with a stronger desire to be around people and other animals than the Cane Corso, which generally prefers to be quiet and around fewer people.

Cane Corso vs Rottweiler: Bite force

As we’d expect from breeds with these origins, the bite force of both the Rottweiler and the Cane Corso is pretty strong, but there’s one which comes off notably stronger. 

The Cane Corso has a bite force of around 700psi (pounds per square inch), while the Rottweiler is said to be 328psi. You might therefore feel more comfortable owning a Rottweiler, especially if you don’t have lots of experience of handling large, strong dogs.

Is a Cane Corso stronger than a Rottweiler?

Although both dog breeds are very strong, the Cane Corso is widely regarded as one of the strongest dog breeds in the world. 

Thanks to its very strong bite force, and slightly larger size and more muscular build, it’s easy to conclude that the Cane Corso is indeed stronger than a Rottweiler.

As the Cane Corso is a dominant dog, they are most recommended for experienced dog owners and trainers, those with the confidence to show the Cane Corso who is boss. Their tendency for domination is in fact one of the top ten Cane Corso facts that you should read before considering getting one.

Is a Cane Corso smarter than a Rottweiler?

Both of these breeds come out as intelligent, but the Rottweiler is consistently ranked in the top 10 most intelligent dogs in various surveys. How smart they are is just one of 10 surprising Rottweiler facts

As such, the Rottweiler is likely to be easier to train and get its head around tasks more quickly than the Cane Corso. That said, they can both be stubborn dogs, who simply might refuse to do something if they just don’t want to do it. 

Both respond well to a good level of training, and indeed, both will need it to make sure that any aggressive tendencies are kept in check. It’s important to socialize these animals as soon as possible with other dogs and with people to make sure that they don’t become dangerous. 

Obedience is high for both dogs – which again makes sense when you consider they were originally bred as protector and worker dogs.

Cane Corso vs Rottweiler: Exercise needs

As large dogs with high levels of intelligence, both breeds need a good degree of exercise. It’s also beneficial if you have a decent sized garden or yard for either to run around in (dogs like this are not particularly recommended for apartment living). 

You’ll need to commit to providing both types of dog at least one hour a day of exercise, plus additional mental stimulation – especially if you need to leave them alone at any time. 

The Rottweiler, thanks to its playful nature, may actually need more than an hour – so it’s ideal for active families with lots of time to take their dog for long daily walks. 

Cane Corso vs Rottweiler: Grooming 

The grooming needs for both these breeds is relatively light, since they are both short-haired dogs who won’t need haircuts. That makes them both good for those who want a low-maintenance canine. 

You’ll need to make sure to brush the dog’s teeth, trim their nails and perhaps give their coat a going over now and then with the best dog brushes

One of the big questions you might have is Do Cane Corsos shed? And what about Rottweilers? In general, Rottweilers are known to shed a little more, but as their coats aren’t too dense, for most this won’t be a huge problem unless you’re particularly fastidious. 

Amy Davies is a freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.