Labrador Corso

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Labrador Corso
Have an image we can use? Message us here!

The Labrador Corso is a hybrid dog, which is a mix arising from mating a Labrador Retriever with a Cane Corso. The result is a large, sturdy dog of high intelligence but of possibly unreliable temperament. This is definitely not a breed for an inexperienced owner as the Cane Corso part of their temperament can lean towards aggression when challenged.

Given their large physique and requirement for plenty of exercise, this dog is not suited to apartment living. Obviously all dogs are individuals with their own traits and personalities. However, since the temperament of a hybrid dog can lean toward either parent, it is wise to consider the extremes, which in this case, is the Cane Corso's strong guarding instinct. The latter can makes the dog possessive and prone to aggression, meaning they could be unpredictable with children.

About & History

As a hybrid breed the Labrador Corso’s history is still in its infancy. Their story belongs to that of the parent breeds, the Labrador Retriever and the Cane Corso Italiano.

The Labrador Retriever

Much has been written about the origins of the supremely popular breed, the Labrador. This prince amongst dogs originates from Newfoundland where in the 17th century they assisted fishermen to land their catch. This accounts for many of the Labradors characteristics, such as that thick, waterproof coat and otter-like tail. Those original dogs were thought to be the offspring of the Newfoundland with local water dogs.

Believe it or not, in the 18th century, the Labrador nearly went out of existence due to harsh tax laws in Newfoundland. It was the efforts of an English aristocrat, the Earl of Malmesbury, that are credited with saving the breed. His enthusiasm for this loveable breed drove him to create the foundation stock of the breed we know today, and it was Malmesbury who first used the name ‘Labrador’.

The Cane Corso

As suggested by the name, the Cane Corso Italiano originates from Italy. These large sturdy dogs were bred in remote mountainous regions of Italy. Their ancestors belong to the Mastiff group and included the dogs the ancient Romans used as ‘war dogs’ and Neapolitan Mastiffs. This fierceness is reflected in their character, since their job of work was to protect and guard.

The name Cane Corso is thought to be derived from the Latin name for dog, and similar sounding words that mean both ‘sturdy’ and ‘guard’. In the 20th century, farming methods changed, which meant this potentially fierce dog was left without a niche and numbers, declined sharply. However, they were saved from extinction by enthusiasts in the 1970s and their efforts to revive the breed.


If the Labrador Corso was a vehicle, they would be a rugged four-wheel drive. These large dogs are well proportioned, with a deep chest for endurance and strong legs to power them over rough ground. The skull has a good length muzzle, with a strong wide forehead and drop ears.

The sturdiness of the Cane Corso may give the impression of a heavier dog than a purebred Labrador, finished off with a straight, rudder-like tail. The Labrador Corso has a short but dense coat. The most common coat colours include black, steel grey, and brindle; with or without a white blaze on the chest.

Character & Temperament

Describing the Labrador Corso temperament is a sensitive subject. Any dog’s character is partially made up of breed traits, and partially by the early life experiences (socialisation). Each dog is an individual and should be treated as such. Thus, there’s nothing to say that a well-socialised Labrador Corso couldn’t be a perfectly delightful dog.

However… and it’s a big but… the Cane Corso does not have the most reliable of temperaments. This isn’t to criticise the dog, because in the right environment – a farm – this is perfectly appropriate. They are supreme guard dogs that are loyal to their owners and would protect them to the death. But therein lays a problem. In modern life, a dog that is so fiercely loyal could be a hazard to others.

But wait, you say! What about the Labrador blood in the Labrador Corso. Well, yes, this may go part way to soften the extremes of a Cane Corso, but it cannot be guaranteed. My personal opinion is that those people looking for a dependable family dog would be better advised to skip the hybrid version and go for a straight Labrador.


The Labrador Corso is a highly intelligent animal, given the working heritage of both parent breeds. However, their brain can be used to get their own way, and given their size and strength an owner is not going to win a game of strength. Thus, their owner must be experienced and committed to reward-based training methods to bring out the best in their dog.


The newness of hybrid breeds means there is little data specific to their health problems. However, there is a well of information about the issues to which their parents are prone. These are problems which have an increased chance of turning up in their pups, and considered here.

Gastric Dilation & Volvulus (GDV)

GDV, or 'bloat', is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate emergency veterinary attention. It is caused by the stomach flipping over on itself and sealing closed the entrance and exit.

This means gas from normal digestion (the stuff we normally burp up) gets trapped within the stomach. This causes excessive swelling that can cut off the blood supply to the spleen and stomach wall, resulting in toxin release into the blood stream, shock, organ failure and death.

The condition itself is most likely to happen when dogs are feed a highly fermentable diet (think cheap foods containing soy) and exercised soon after eating. The anatomy of the Labrador Corso with that deep chest makes GDV more likely. Thus, always feed a good quality diet and never exercise the dog straight after eating.

Hip or Elbow Dysplasia

This condition refers to elbow or hip joints that are badly shaped, leading to inflammation, pain, remodelling, and disability. Hip or elbow dysplasia is not caused by one single factor, but requires a ‘perfect storm’ to develop.

Some of the factors that make this more likely include inheriting genes from the parent (both of the Labrador Corsos’ parents are at risk), growing too quickly, and over-exercising as puppies.

Entropion or Ectropion

Entropion refers to in-turned eyelids, whilst ectropion refers to droopy or out-turned eyelids. This is something to which the Cane Corso is prone. Both of these conditions lead to irritation of the surface of the eye (cornea) and can be extremely uncomfortable.

If a dog has either condition, then corrective surgery can vastly improve their quality of life by removing the constant itchiness and irritation in their eye.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Just as an army four-wheel drive is designed to run over rugged ground, so the Labrador Corso is an all-action dog that is at their happiest when running off leash in an interesting environment.

For these dogs, exercise is as essential as air to breathe. They must have an outlet for their energy and natural intelligence. Not to provide for this basic need could be distressing for the dog and disastrous for the owner. A typical Labrador Corsa requires at least two, energetic one-hour walks per day, preferably with some off-lead time.


Happily, the Labrador Corso is low maintenance in the grooming stakes. But they are shedders and make short work of covering the soft furnishings in shed dog hair. The easy way to avoid this is to brush daily with a slicker. This will condition the coat by spreading their natural oils, but will also remove shed hair that would otherwise redecorate the rug.

As with all dogs, daily tooth brushing is important. Dogs’ teeth are physically different to human teeth but despite this have the same requirement to be kept clean on a daily basis. Not to brush leads to tartar formation, gum recession, and bad breath that can clear a room.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.