In the summer of 1994, I saw my first Cane Corso, in a "Dog Fancy" magazine, and I said to myself: "Wow, what an awesome looking dog! I need to see one in person." At that time, there were only a handful of breeders in the United States, so I decided to make some calls to set up some appointments with the breeders. I wanted to know more and was given a brief lesson on the breed's ancient history and was able to look at some copies of old pictures which were very fascinating to say the least. I then decided to make a visit to Valentine Kennels, and I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Valentine, one of the first breeders to bring the Cane Corso to the United States. I was thoroughly impressed and felt very comfortable with these unbelievable dogs and knowledgeable and caring people. I was sold and left Linda a deposit. When it came time to pick a puppy, I decided on the fawn male which I later named Stubs. I had many questions over the next few months, and man, did that research of finding a top quality breeder pay off.
We would like for you to explore other dogs. We would love for you to speak to and see other breeders. We want you to be sure. This breed is an investment, and just like anything else, you always get what you pay for. My advice is not to search just for who has Corsos for sale, but rather who is a reputable breeder that can help your family find the right Corso. A good breeder can find you a perfect dog that fits right in with your family. They will interview you and make sure you are good for their dogs. You might want to ask a breeder the following questions:
Due to the recent popularity and subsequent over-breeding of the Cane Corso, the Cane Corso Association of America (CCAA) felt it was important to inform potential buyers that not all breeders are created equal. We have compiled some guidelines that we hope will assist you in finding a reputable breeder.
However, it is YOUR responsibility as a buyer, to ask questions and find out as much information as you possibly can about the Cane Corso as a breed, as well as the breeder. The Cane Corso is a large, dominant breed that may not be for everyone. Don’t impulse buy! Please take the time to research, make phone calls, and gather as much information about the breed as you can before purchasing a Corso. This will help you make an informed decision about your breeder and it will help reduce the number of Corsos that wind up in animal shelters each year.
Here are some guidelines to help you find a reputable breeder:
How long has the breeder been involved with the Cane Corso? Is the breeder an active member of a breed club, such as the CCAA? (Being a CCAA club member is different than having dogs registered with the ICCF).
Is the breeder actively involved in conformation showing or working (obedience, agility, etc.) his/her dogs in competitions?
Does the breeder know the standard that he/she is breeding to? Do his/her dogs/pups look like other Cane Corsos you have seen? Does he/she seem knowledgeable about the pedigrees of the dogs that he/she is breeding? What is the breeder actually breeding for?
Does the breeder seem to have a genuine love for the breed? Is the breeder interested in placing the dog in a good home? Is the breeder asking you questions about the home you would provide?
Is the breeder willing to answer your questions? Does the breeder openly discuss health problems that affect the Cane Corso? If the breeder tells you that there are no health problems within the breed or his/her lines, find another breeder!
Does the breeder hip x-ray his/her breeding stock? Ask what the OFA or PennHIP results are for their dogs and especially the parents of any puppies they may have. Has the breeder done any other health testing? Ask to see the paperwork as proof.
Will the breeder answer your questions about temperament? Does he/she ask you about the experience you have had with dominant breeds? The Corso is not like a Golden or Labrador Retriever and isn’t suited for everyone.
What is the breeder’s policy on pet quality puppies? The breeder should require a pet quality puppy be spayed/neutered so it can’t be bred.
Does the breeder offer a written contract signed by both parties? Have you read it and do you agree to it? A contract should protect you AND the breeder. It should include any health guarantees that the breeder gives, including puppy replacement information & spay/neuter requirements.
Have you visited the breeders kennel? Do the dogs look healthy and well cared for? Is the kennel clean? Try to visit any breeder you are interested in, if at all possible.
Is the breeder over-breeding? How many litters out of each female does the breeder have each year? Females should not be bred every heat cycle.
Have you seen the mother of the litter? Having both parents on premises should not always be expected. A breeder should be breeding to a dog that complements his female, not just putting two dogs together that he/she happens to own. Did you see pictures of the sire? Ask why the breeder bred those two specific dogs together. Is the breeder keeping a puppy out of the litter?
If the breeder has puppies for sale: Have they been inoculated? Wormed? Properly socialized? Tails docked? Rear dewclaws removed? If the puppies are old enough, spend some time with them. Are they confident or fearful? Are they having normal bowel movements or diarrhea? Do they appear healthy? What are the breeders’ suggestions on ear cropping? At what age is the breeder willing to let the puppies go home? Seven weeks should be the youngest, and if shipping, eight weeks of age.
How many puppies in the litter are pet-quality versus show-quality? If the breeder states that they are all show quality, seriously question that! Does the breeder seem to know why he/she is classifying some as pet & some as show? Can he/she point out the differences to you on the puppies and explain how it relates to the breed standard?
Are the breeder’s puppy purchase prices comparable to other breeders? Most Cane Corso fall into a similar price range. Beware of bargains! Don’t ever buy from a pet store! Be wary of dogs/puppies advertised in newspapers or on all-breed puppy websites!
Does the breeder offer support after you have taken the puppy home? Does he/she offer to help you with ideas on training and socialization? Trust your instincts. Buy from somebody that you feel you can trust because you will hopefully maintain a relationship with your breeder. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Move on.
The Cane Corso is a wonderful animal, but they need plenty of socialization, training, and love. Corsos long to be with people and require daily attention & exercise.
If you don’t have the time or energy for this commitment, please don’t purchase one! Remember that a cute, eight-week-old puppy will soon turn into a large, dominant dog.