I have no problem saying that today, there is a male that in my opinion is absolutely one of the five best Cane Corsos in Europe in the last 10 years. He’s also a brindle. I’m not using him at this moment because you can’t sell a brindle puppy, even if he is the most beautiful dog in the world. I saw a gorgeous brindle in Poland recently – he is the pick of the litter, and the litter itself was truly beautiful. All the other puppies are gone, but they haven’t sold him yet, because he’s brindle.
Unfortunately, right now, if you have a Weimaraner and say he’s a Cane Corso, people will buy him because he’s gray. But a brindle Cane Corso? You won’t sell him. Back to the discussion of coat length: It’s not too difficult to breed for this. All these rationalizations – “Oh, the Cane Corso shouldn’t have a smooth coat – it should be rustic” or, for that matter, “Oh, the Cane Corso once existed that had yellow eyes because they were more intimidating” or “Oh, if a Cane Corso has four white feet and white all over his chest, what does it matter, aren’t there more important things to worry about in a working dog?” – they are, in my opinion, all discussions advanced by people are justifying their dog’s faults. And in reality, even the discussion of coat isn’t that complicated, because a Cane Corso with an incorrect coat very likely won’t have the correspondingly correct morphology of a Cane Corso.
Built for speed, the Whippet has a short coat to facilitate the dispersal of body heat.
The type that’s associated with a long coat, in any breed, is based on the endocrine system. Have you ever seen a Whippet with a long, rough, dense coat? The Whippet has an endocrine system that gives it a respiratory constitution – it is associated with speed, and the majority of the body is geared toward the lungs, not the stomach or gross muscles. As a result, a fast heart rate, with veins near the surface of the skin and a soft coat, are necessary for a fast dispersal of heat. This is a dog that has to do 100 meters to get the rabbit, and that type of endocrine system is one that renders the coat soft, dry and slick.
By contrast, the Bullmastiff is a breed that has a construction, even more so than the Neapolitan Mastiff, that is digestive, so the majority of his weight comes from the stomach and intestines. He has to have an endocrine system that gives him a dispersion of heat on the coat that we can call soft. Breeds with digestive constitutions have coats that are thick and satiny.
The constitutional index of the Cane Corso is muscular, bordering respiratory. This is isn’t an opinion. It’s been measured, studied, certified, written and confirmed. You can’t say “I prefer.” You can prefer a Bullmastiff constitution, but then you need to buy a Bullmastiff. The Cane Corso has an endocrine system that leads to a coat that is not so satiny and long that it becomes the coat of the Neapolitan Mastiff, but at the same time isn’t so short and slick that it resembles that of a Boxer. And because the dog is a set of traits that go together, if you breed for an incorrect body type – either too heavy or too light – you will breed a coat that matches it.
Also, the more solid your pedigrees – the less influence you have from other breeds – logically the more you can expect to breed a correct coat. I have never seen breeders who know what they have in hand focus on the coat of a dog. There may be a puppy that you say, “Hmmm, that coat’s a bit too long,” because it’s not attractive when it’s a puppy. But the coat changes, and when an otherwise typey puppy reaches adulthood, he likely will have a correct Cane Corso coat. These are small variables that exist among puppies. But this happens in other breeds, too. If one Poodle is born with a coat that is a little longer, and another with a coat that is a little shorter, at the end of the day it is still it within the range of being a Poodle coat. It doesn’t become the coat of a Pinscher.
Without question, the Cane Corso is not easy to breed because it’s a mesomorph in its body construction, but brachycephalic in the head type, and about 90 percent of characteristics of the Cane Corso are “a little bit, but not too much.” And out of ignorance, because they are not real breeders, some people select for traits in the puppy that they want to see in the finished, adult dog. This is the easiest way to get into hypertype, and out of type. And if you do that, chances are an incorrect coat will follow.
Avoid hypertypical puppies — that is, those that are overdone. They are more likely to have atypical coats — and atypical everything else — at maturity.
What the Standards Say
COAT Hair: Short, shiny, very dense with a slight undercoat of vitreous texture.
Colour: Black, lead-grey, slate-grey, light grey, light fawn; dark fawn and stag red; dark wheat colour (stripes on different shades of fawn or grey); in fawn coloured and brindle dogs the black or grey mask on the muzzle should not go beyond the line of the eyes. A small white patch on the chest, on the tip of the toes and on the bridge of the nose is acceptable.
Coat: The coat is short, stiff, shiny, adherent and dense with a light undercoat that becomes thicker in cold weather.
Color: Acceptable colors are black, lighter and darker shades of gray, lighter and darker shades of fawn, and red. Brindling is allowed on all of these colors. Solid fawn and red, including lighter and darker shades, have a black or gray mask. The mask does not go beyond the eyes. There may be a white patch on the chest, throat, chin, backs of the pasterns, and on the toes. Disqualification - Any color with tan pattern markings as seen in black-and-tan breeds.