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All the Cane Corso colors explained (with pictures!)

cane corso portrait

Cane Corsos are confident dogs and fierce protectors of their families. Weighing up to 100 pounds and standing 28 inches at the shoulder, it's easy to see why they're beloved guard dogs.

They have large heads, incredibly muscular bodies, and a noble temperament which, to be honest, is quite intimidating. But Cane Corsos are also very loyal, eager to please, and relatively versatile.

Something many owners love about this breed is all the Cane Corso colors. There are seven coat colors accepted by the American Kennel Club and a couple more not written in the breed standard. Which one will be your favorite?

How many colors do Cane Corsos have according to kennel clubs?

American Kennel Club

The AKC recognizes the following Cane Corso colors:

  • Black
  • Fawn
  • Gray
  • Gray Brindle
  • Red
  • Black Brindle
  • Chestnut Brindle

Fawn and red Cane Corsos may have a black or gray mask but this mustn't go beyond their eyes. Small, white patches are acceptable on other colored coats but tan markings are strictly not.

United Kennel Club

The UKC allows the following colors in their breed standard:

  • Black
  • All shades of gray
  • All shades of fawn
  • Stag red
  • Brindle

They, too, accept smaller white patches on the chest, toes, and the bridge of the muzzle. Other colors or white spots not on these specific body parts mean the dog will be disqualified.

Federation Cynologique Internationale

The FCI standard accepts the same Cane Corso Colors as the AKC breed standard.

Is coat color really that important?

If you want to adopt a pup that's in line with the breed standard, then yes, coat color is important. You won't be able to enter your dog into a show or competition if they don't meet the strict classifications mentioned by the kennel clubs.

But even if you want your pup to compete, getting a Cane Corso from a responsible breeder is really important. Because these dogs are large, strong, and protective, they have been the victims of unethical breeding for dog fighting.

The temperament and health of any dog you adopt are much more important that their coat color. You want to make sure they've been ethically and happily bred from healthy dogs so they'll be around for as long as possible.

Cane Corsos are also not the easiest dogs for novice owners. Their strength and strong will can be difficult to manage. Consider your level of experience and lifestyle before you think about coat color!

All of the Cane Corso colors

Here are the seven coat colors accepted by the AKC plus five others that are not.

Black Cane Corso

black cane corso running

A black Cane Corso is a very impressive and intimidating-looking dog. They're one of the most common and popular choices in coat color but, surprisingly, finding one that meets the AKC's breed standard is quite difficult.

These jet-black dogs often have white in the wrong places or an undercoat that is less dense than other colors and than what the standard requires.

Black is a really common choice for those wanting a personal bodyguard or the perfect watchdog. A muscular body combined with a black coat and dark eyes will make any intruder think twice.

Gray Cane Corso

cane corso standing

As is the case with the black Cane Corso, gray Cane Corsos are really popular and sought after. They're not, however, quite as common as they're harder to breed. To get gray Cane Corso puppies, both parents need to carry a recessive dilute gene which turns black to gray. So, two black dogs could produce gray Cane Corso puppies if both parents carry this gene.

It's also worth remembering that gray puppies may grow up to be a darker or lighter shade. They could even develop a brindle patterned coat.

You could also like: 20 gray dog breeds (with pictures)

Fawn Cane Corso

Fawn Cane Corsos are one of the most established colors and therefore slightly easier to breed to the standards set out by the kennel clubs.

These fawn-colored doggies have a black or gray mask (both are accepted) but it mustn't go beyond their eyes. The UKC accepts these dogs in all shades of fawn – so from a deep tan to a light cream.

Gray brindle Cane Corso

gray brindle cane corso puppy
A gray brindle Cane Corso puppy. Credits: @luna__kain on Instagram

Gray brindle Cane Corsos are very attractive dogs that have a very striking coat pattern. They have a brown base color with stripes of gray or blue (more on that later)!

The combination of brown and gray makes these dogs really unique. Although less common than gray Cane Corsos, it's not that difficult to breed a brindle doggo.

Red Cane Corso

A red Cane Corso is sometimes confused with a fawn Cane Corso – and you can see why. Red Cane Corsos can differ massively in color.

Some are a deep brown and others are a pale yellowish color, so there's lots of room for confusion. It's the same red pigment (pheomelanin) that causes the colors but the different genetics will cause it to appear darker or lighter.

These pups also have a gray or black mask meaning their noses are dark.

Black brindle Cane Corso

Just like the gray brindle Cane Corso, these doggos have a brown or red base coat and black tiger-like stripes. Despite what some may think, these dogs are completely healthy and this coat color doesn't indicate any genetic abnormalities.

This is another popular coat color for those wanting an intimidating (but loving!) watchdog.

Chestnut brindle Cane Corso

This is one of the less common coat colors for the Cane Corso breed. This beautiful pattern is often hard to distinguish because the base coat is brown or red with reddish-brown stripes. However, the stripes can differ in color, and some dogs have very dark stripes and others very light.

Formentino Cane Corso

Formentino Cane Corsos have a really beautiful and striking coat color – you'll be sure to get lots of questions whenever you take them to the dog park!

Formentinos are actually a diluted fawn color and appear a kind of gray/brownish tone. They'll also have a gray/blue mask and some gray markings on their back. Some Formentinos have a very light coat color.

Liver or chocolate Cane Corso

These pups are sometimes confused with red or chestnut brindle Cane Corsos because of the red hues in their coat.

They're not, however, accepted by the AKC. You can tell the difference between these dogs because liver and chocolate Cane Corsos don't have pigmentation in their noses or around their eyes. They can also have lighter-colored eyes.

Tawny/Isabella Cane Corso

Isabella Cane Corsos are pretty rare and actually considered a fault by kennel clubs. This is because they're bred for their color rather than the health of the breed.

These dogs are actually dilute liver, which gives them an almost lilac tone. Their nose is also a pinky lilac color and they can have light-colored eyes.

Straw Cane Corso

This is probably the rarest Cane Corso color on the list, in fact, some say there are only 20 straw Cane Corsos in the world!

Like fawn Cane Corsos these dogs were at one point very established and were used to guard straw reserves. They're a very light straw color (almost cream) and can have darker markings on their bodies.

Cane Corso colors – which is the one for you?

There are many, beautiful colors for these amazing dogs. In fact, that's one of the reasons they're so popular amongst Cane Corso lovers!

There are seven standard breed colors, so if you want to enter your pup into a competition, it's essential you stick to those.

Some possible colors, such as the dilute ones, could cause potential health problems. It's really important you research your breeder to make sure you're getting a healthy dog that will be your loyal companion for a long time!

Frequently asked questions about Cane Corso colors

Is there such a thing as a blue Cane Corso?

The confusion around blue Cane Corsos actually stems from the breed standards themselves. Rather than calling dogs that have a diluted black coat blue, the standards call them gray. So yes, blue Cane Corsos exist but they're actually referred to as gray.

Bearing that in mind, you shouldn't be paying more for a puppy that's described as blue. Some questionable breeders might try to convince you that blue is rarer/more unique.

Does coat color affect the health of a dog?

Breed standards are written to ensure the health of the dog breed and that the best breeding practices are followed. Therefore colors listed as standard won't affect the health of your dog. Others, however, might.

Dogs that are specifically bred for color are likely to suffer from various health conditions. This is particularly true for Isabella, liver, and formentino Cane Corsos who are more susceptible to issues such as Color Dilution Alopecia.

Dogs that are only bred for color can also suffer from many other skin diseases, deafness, eye deformities, and skin cancer.

What Cane Corso color lives the longest?

The AKC states that the average lifespan of a Cane Corso is 9-12 years. Experts, however, believe that Cane Corsos with brindle coats live longest. Dogs with dilute colors (because of the way they're often bred) and solid-colored dogs are likely to have a shorter lifespan.

What's the most common Cane Corso color?

Black is the most common coat color for the Cane Corso dog breed. These pups are particularly striking and therefore very in-demand – which is why they're common for breeders to breed. On average, two black Cane Corsos will produce a litter with over 70% black puppies.

What are the rarest Cane Corso colors?

Three of the rarest colors are liver, Isabella, and formentino. Straw Cane Corsos, however, are the rarest. These doggos are less common because they're all the result of a recessive gene, which itself is rare.

Like anything that's rare, there's also a large market for these doggos which has led to lots of unethical breeding. Some breeders are also likely to sell puppies for much more money and convince you they're incredibly rare.

Are Cane Corsos easy to groom?

Even though a Cane Corso's coat is relatively short, they still shed. This breed has a double coat that sheds all year round. They'll also blow their coat twice per year as they prepare to grow their summer or winter ones. Regularly brushing your Cane Corso is a good way to control most of the shedding, keep skin healthy, and promote new hair growth.

Can a Cane Corso puppy's coat change color?

Yes, like many dog breeds, these puppies can also mature to have different colored coats from the ones they were born with. But within reason. So a puppy that is born light gray may well develop a darker gray coat as they get older. A black Cane Corso, however, can't suddenly become fawn-colored.

There are also other reasons why an adult dog's coat color may change slightly. Sunlight, diet, medications, and skin disease can all affect the quality of your dog's coat.

What about a Cane Corso's eye and nose color?

When it comes to noses, a Cane Corso should have the same nose color as they do coat color. So, a black Cane Corso should have a black nose and a gray one a gray nose.

The AKC allows two Cane Corso eye colors. Dark hazel eyes are accepted for pups that have black, black brindle, fawn, or red coats. They're also allowed if the dog has a black muzzle.

Lighter-colored eyes are allowed for those dogs that have gray muzzles or coats that are gray, fawn, red, or gray brindle. Dogs of any coat color that have yellow or blue eyes are considered faulty and not standard.

Do white Cane Corsos exist?

No. Cane Corsos don't have an entirely white coat. Some people, however, confuse formentino or even straw Cane Corsos as white. Although it's possible (and acceptable) for this dog breed to have white patches on its chin, throat, chest, toes, and back, it's not possible for them to be fully white.

If you really have your heart set on a white dog that looks a bit like a Cane Corso, you might want to have a look at a Dogo Argentino.

Which of the Cane Corso colors is your favorite?

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