The Rotticorso: Rottweiler Cane Corso Mix Guide

 

A Rottweiler and a Cane Corso

The Rotticorso, also called the Caneweiler, Corsoweiler, Rottie Corso, or Cane Rott is a mix of the Rottweiler and the Cane Corso. These are two large, powerful breeds, and this mix is certainly not for the inexperienced pet parent.

While this is a fearless, protective dog, they can also be dominant and challenging. Make no mistake, in the right hands; the Rotticorso is a remarkable, intelligent, and priceless companion and guardian. But with poor breeding and in the wrong hands, these mixed breeds could be a recipe for disaster. 

So if you are considering a Rottweiler Cane Corso cross, read this article first. 

History of the Rottweiler Cane Corso Mix: What is the Rotticorso really?

 

The  Rotticorso is a relatively new mixed breed. It is not quite fair to call it a designer breed like a Goldendoodle nor is it a more family-friendly crossbreed like the Reagle. More often, Rottweilers are bred to Cane Corsos for utilitarian reasons. Breeders sometimes mix these breeds specifically to create a tough-looking guard or sentry dog. 

Mixing dog breeds for a purpose can be good, so long as the breeder is experienced and knows what they are doing. 

For example, experienced breeders may often breed a high-value working Belgian Malinois to a German Shepherd to create a police or protection dog with the intensity of the Malinois but the more stable temperament of the GSD. These dogs will be bred specifically for high-pressure working environments and usually not for the pet market.

So on the surface, it may seem that mixing the Cane Corso and Rottweiler is exactly the same. Sadly, however, it usually is not. So we start this breed description with a warning about the Rotticorso. Here are some red flags to get out of the way before proceeding (don’t worry, there’s plenty that’s great about this dog, but we have to deal with warnings first.)

  1. Original working Rottweilers are relatively rare, and pet or show lines are more common. Properly temperament and health-tested Rottweilers rarely make it to breeders who crossbreed. This means the first danger is that any Rottweiler Cane Corso crossbreed has a strong likelihood of coming from parents that are not health tested or do not have stable temperaments. This means they can be reactive and have health issues.
  2. The recent popularity of the Cane Corso means this breed has suffered from a surge of unscrupulous breeding practices. Like all breeds who suddenly become popular, we see more Cane Corsos who are not bred to standard and have unsound temperaments and health issues. With bad breeding and inexperienced owners, there is also a rise in Cane Corso attacks on people. 
  3. Sadly, our beloved Rottweiler is in the top 3 breeds for fatal dog attacks. We need to keep this fact in mind when we think about mixing the Rottweiler with another formidable breed.

We start with this not to condemn the Rotticorso but to drive home the message that this dog is not for everyone.

Anyone with an Italian Mastiff like the Corso or a Rottweiler knows these can be two of the best dogs you can ever have. So, the Rotticorso can also be a brilliant dog and excellent companion, and many Rotticorso owners will tell you so.

But it is vital to know the realities of such a dog before taking one on as a pet. Rotticorsos are what we colloquially call “man-stoppers.”

Conversations about man-stoppers (like pit bulls) are often emotionally charged and heated. People on one end of the spectrum may call for them to be banned, while others insist that attacks are purely due to bad owners. 

We argue that there is a lot to love about man-stoppers like the Rotticorso. These are often loyal, intelligent, and devoted dogs. But we must also be realistic and promote responsible and informed ownership. These dogs don’t exist in nature; therefore, they are simply not appropriate for most homes and need extra precautions, training, and careful management.

But to really understand this mixed breed, we need to look at its genetics: the history of the Cane Corso and Rottweiler.

History of the Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is related to the Cane Corso since they are both direct descendants of the Mollosser breeds of the  Romans. Originally dogs of war and livestock guardians, they became the dogs of choice for butchers and were called the “Butchers dog” as they pulled meat carts to markets.

Their ability as working military and police dogs first showed in World War I. They were intimidating, courageous, and trainable, which made them ideal for the job. However, the Rottweiler’s bulk and strength are why you don’t see them as much in the police or the military anymore. 

In police work, the Rottweiler was gradually replaced by the lighter German Shepherd, which is now gradually being replaced by the even lighter Belgian Malinois. One major reason for this is not ability, so much as it it easier for a policeman to pick up and control a 70 lbs Malinois than a 140 lbs Rottweiler.

So the Rottweiler became more common as a family guard dog, a sentry dog, and in the show ring. In most Rotties, their strong guarding instinct has remained fairly intact.

History of the Cane Corso

The Cane Corso, or Italian Mastiff, is likely one of the most direct lines to the ancient Molossers and to a Roman breed called the Pugnaces. This dog was used extensively to kill wild animals in the Colosseum.

Translated from Latin, the Cane Corso means “bodyguard” or “courtyard guard dog,” and they are what we call “close-quarter guardians.” That means they usually do not really like to roam. They prefer staying home and protecting their territory.

Like many European breeds, the Cane Corso nearly died out in the World Wars, and an effort was made in the 1970s to revive it. Nevertheless, despite their ancient origins, they were only recognized by the AKC in 2010. This makes them a relatively new breed to most people outside Italy. 

What are the physical features of the Rotticorso?

A dark brindle Rotticorso

Height

23 to 28 inches (58 to 71 cm)

Weight

90 – 110 lbs  (41 to 60 kg) with males larger than females

Color

May be any color, including fawn, formentino, black, blue, black and tan, red, and rarer patterns such as brindle, tigrato, or reverse blue brindle.

Nose

May have a light brown, blue, or black nose.

Eyes

Dark-rimmed brown to dark brown eyes. 

Coat

Short double-coat, sometimes slightly thicker than the Cane Corso

The Rotticorso is a large-to-giant dog. They have an intimidating presence and are usually quite bulky. They usually have thick flews or upper lips and may drool. Rotticorsos also usually have large, wedge-shaped heads typical of a mastiff.

They have floppy, triangular ears, and we urge you not to crop them. This dog is plenty intimidating as it is. They tend to have beautiful, silky smooth, short coats when they are healthy in an interesting range of colors and patterns. They are powerful dogs that are also athletic and agile.

a red Rotticorso
Credit @mr.elfie_

 General Care of the Cane Corso Rottweiler Mix

 Hypoallergenic

Not a hypoallergenic breed.

 Shedding

Mild to moderate daily shedding, with heavier seasonal shedding.

Lifespan

7 to 10 years

 Exercise

60  – 90 minutes of daily exercise minimum fo a healthy adult

 Temperament

Surprisingly vocal, these dogs like to “talk” to their owners. They are strong-willed, independent, alert, watchful, and aloof with strangers. These are dominant dogs that need lifelong socialization to tolerate other dogs. Dog aggression and reactivity may be a problem.

 Trainability

Highly trainable, but only with a skilled and trusted trainer.

Energy

The Rotticorso is a moderate-to-high-energy dog, especially while young. We encourage a ton of structured exercise. This means walks and runs on a leash and structured training in a sport like IGP. While it’s not good to micromanage your puppy ( they need time to be a puppy too), this is a dog that needs a lot of structure and routine from early on. 

Do not leave a Rotticorso in your yard for 23 hours a day and hope for the best. This dog needs a lot of early investment in exercise, training, and socialization. Never let them become bored and frustrated. They should always be channeled into a satisfying activity.

Housing

We do not recommend the Cane Corso Rottweiler mix for small spaces. Typically, they do fine in a suburban setup. They do well in the house as part of the family member, but it is better to crate them in the presence of children or strangers.

Food & Diet Requirements

The Rotticorso is notorious for a sensitive stomach as both the Rottweiler and the Cane Corso have issues with allergies and runny tummies. We recommend keeping food as digestible as possible. So lots of white meat like fish and poultry.  Remember, red meat is linked to cancer

Remember, your dog’s ideal diet depends entirely on their specific dietary needs. The age of the dog, the health status of organs like kidneys and heart,  and any underlying condition affect what a good diet looks like for your dog.  

We only recommend raw feeding if you determine whether your dog can digest large amounts of protein and if the meal is properly balanced by a professional.

That said, one Cane Corso owner who could stop his dog’s diarrhea issues had tremendous success with a raw diet. So we will show what worked for him, with the caveat that not every diet is suitable for every dog. 

 

Grooming

The Rotticorso is not a high-maintenance dog in terms of grooming. A good brush every week helps eliminate dead hair and keep a shiny coat. They can shed remarkably heavily, to be prepared. 

They often have sensitive skin so keep bathing to a minimum and use only the gentlest shampoo.

Toothbrushing is essential for this breed as it helps prevent problems related to their hearts. They also need regular nail-trimming and ear cleaning. 

Health of the Rotticorso

While many mixed breeds have something called “hybrid vigor” and may be healthier than purebred dogs, a crossbreed can still inherit diseases from either parent.

Here are some possible concerns to look out for in the Rotticorso.

 Hip and elbow dysplasia

The Rotticorso is very vulnerable to dysplasia. Make sure to screen your dog from about two years old so that you can act quickly if they this disease.

 Eye issues

The Rotticorso may inherit cherry eye, entropion, or ectropion as congenital defects from either parent. These may need surgery to fix. They may also develop:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Catatracts

 Epilepsy

Seizures may start between 2 and 5 years of age.

 Heart issues

These are large dogs that are prone to a variety of heart issues. Be sure to get them checked out for murmurs or complications regularly.

Bloat

Such large dogs can be prone to sudden onset of bloat. 

Allergies (with special emphasis on ear infections)

Along with a sensitive stomach comes sensitive skin. These dogs are prone to secondary infections like ear infections or hotspots. Keep a special eye on dilute colors (like blues) as they seem to have especially delicate skin.

Cancer

Both the Rottweiler and the Cane Corso are prone to various cancers, make sure you screen your dog regularly.

Other conditions that the Rotticorso is prone to include:

  • Panosteitis (growing pains in young large dogs)
  • Osteochondrosis (ankles, shoulder, & spine)
  • Stenosis of the spine
  • Demodectic mange

What is a Rotticorso’s life expectancy?

Unfortunately, the Rotticorso is not a long-lived breed, usually only reaching 8 to 10 years.

The trainability of a Reagle: Temperament and Intelligence

This is an extremely trainable dog with a skilled trainer. While not as fast as the Border Collie or the Belgian Malinois, these dogs are single-event learners. They are highly motivated by food and their prey drive (ball drive). But they need to build a strong foundation of trust and communication with their trainer to want to work for their person.

Remember, they are independent thinkers and will make their own decisions about what to do if they don’t receive constant guidance from their owners.

Without trust and clear communication, this dog will simply ignore commands when it suits them. This is not a dog that responds well to force or bullying. In fact, many of them are happy to take you up on the challenge if you try to “dominate” or browbeat them. They are more likely to fight back than shut down with harsh treatment.

They may also have problems with reactivity (fear-based aggression or pure aggression). So it is absolutely vital that the person who raises this dog is able to be calm, clear, and consistent in their leadership at all times. 

Routine, structure, exercise, clear boundaries, positive reinforcement, and lifelong training and socialization are the foundation of responsible ownership. 

Are Rotticorsos good with other pets?

Some Rotticorsos can learn to get on with cats and smaller dogs if they are well-socialized. These dogs have a high prey drive and are usually dominant. For this reason, never get a Rotticorso if you have another large dog of the same gender. Same-sex aggression is common in these dogs, although they may put up with a smaller dog that is the same gender.

Dog aggression is also very common, so we recommend plenty of extra hours on socialization to limit this behavior.

Suitable Home: Are Rottweiler Cane Corsos good pets?

A Rottweiler Cane Corso mixed breed is best suited to a dedicated home with primarily experienced and dedicated adults. Yes, these dogs often love kids, but because of their sheer power, it’s better that interaction with children is supervised and limited. 

These are dogs for the committed owner who is able to spend extra time training and shaping their dog. They should not be in homes with a large pack of dogs, especially with large dogs of the same gender, nor should they be in homes where they are ignored and left to their own devices.

Is the Rotticorso aggressive?

Most Rotticorsos are not aggressive dogs. However, improper breeding and incorrect early handling and training can cause aggression in some of these dogs. They are also more prone to being aggressive with other animals and can be especially aggressive with adult large dogs of the same gender.

How much does a Rotticorso cost?

A Rotticorso usually costs around $500 but may go over $1000 if the breeding is intentional. However, beware of backyard breeders or breeders who cross two dogs for suspicious reasons, such as deliberately breeding for aggression.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, the Rottweiler Cane Corso mix is definitely a beautiful and smart dog. They’re loyal and great for those with plenty of space to run and energy to get out there and be active with them. But you’re definitely going to want to consider their history and their parentage before you get your own.

Make sure that you are ready for a stubborn, strong, active dog that has a loving heart and desperately wants to make you happy and improve your life because that’s exactly what they’re going to do.

About Tamsin de la Harpe 16 Articles
Tamsin has worked extensively in dog behavior problems and is passionate about canine nutrition. She has worked with trainers who specialize in Shutzhund and protection training, and worked with many Rottweilers. Her passion for dogs shows in her writing and she loves sharing her knowledge with Rottie lovers!