When trying to decide between two dog breeds, you have to look at each minute detail – all the pros and cons. But when you just can’t choose between them, opting for a mixed breed might work very well in your favor! And that’s exactly what we’re going to do here – for the Cane Corso and the Belgian Malinois.
Both breeds have some definite similarities and differences, but have you ever actually seen a mixed breed between the two? The Cane Corso Belgian Malinois mix does exist, but they are fairly rare.
We’ll take a deeper dive into what kind of dog you could end up with in the Cane Corso Belgian Malinois mix.
A Little History Lesson
Because the Belgian Malinois and Cane Corso (pronounced Kah-nay Kor-so) have similarities and differences, we’re going to take a look at both breeds separately. Following this, we’ll discuss what you might expect from a mixed breed between the two.
We’re starting with a brief history of each breed because knowing what they were originally bred for helps to understand what makes them tick.
Cane Corso History
Cane Corsi (plural) hail from Italy with their early ancestors actually found in Greece by the name of Molossus dogs. The Roman Empire fell in love with these giant dogs during the occupation of the Greek Islands and brought some dogs back with them to Italy.
Here they were bred with Italian breeds, which brings us closer to the Cane Corso we’re familiar with.
They were initially used as war dogs, but by the 5th century, they were used for driving livestock, hunting wild boar, and guarding farms and hen houses.
By the 20th century, the Corso was an endangered breed, but Italian fanciers brought them back from extinction, and these dogs made their way to North American shores by 1988.
Belgian Malinois History
The Belgian Malinois comes from the city of Malines in Belgium and were bred to be herding dogs. The focus was more on making them the best herders without worrying too much about their appearance (and yet, they are very handsome dogs).
The Mal became very popular with cattlemen and shepherds for their excellent herding skills. They were eventually brought to North America in 1911, but during World War II, their numbers went down (kind of like the Corso) and stayed that way until the early 1960s.
But lovers of the Mal managed to bring their numbers back up, and while they are still used for herding, they are popular dogs for working with the police and the military.
The temperament of any mixed breed can depend on the parent they take after the most. So, having an understanding of the temperament of the purebred parent dogs can give you some insight into what you can expect with a crossbreed.
Cane Corso Temperament
The owner of a Cane Corso must be someone with experience who can handle a strong dog. Socialization is essential for all dogs, but particularly so for the Corso. These dogs are very intelligent and form powerful bonds with their owners.
But without the all-important socialization and training, they can easily become aggressive. They need an owner who can be gentle yet firm while training. Corsi tend to view everyone outside of their family as a threat, so this stresses the importance of socialization.
They are eager to please but tend to be a little stubborn and bossy at times. They can think quite independently and decide when they will do things your way or their own way.
Belgian Malinois Temperament
Belgian Malinois are friendly dogs but are also wary of strangers and need a firm yet gentle hand with loads of socialization and training, like the Corso. Mals can become destructive if they don’t get the right amount of exercise or your attention.
They can be fairly easy to train because they are eager to please, but there needs to be supervision around young children and other dogs. They are confident and intelligent and require a minimum of two very long walks every day.
Cane Corso Belgian Malinois Mix Temperament
The similarities in the temperament of both parents are apparent in many ways. Both breeds are wary of strangers and are quite protective of their families and properties, but the Malinois is more energetic than the Corso.
The crossbreed will likely be independent but will form very strong bonds with their owners and be quite affectionate and loving with everyone in their family.
Cane Corso Physical Description
Cane Corsi stand at 23.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 88 to 120 pounds. They have a lifespan of 9 to 12 years.
The Cane Corso has a very stocky, muscular build with a massive square head and powerful jaws. They have smooth short coats and come in a range of colors, such as fawn, black, brindle, gray, red, and chestnut.
Belgian Malinois Physical Description
The Belgian Malinois does look pretty similar to the German Shepherd, but they tend to have slimmer heads and builds. They stand 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 40 to 80 pounds. Their lifespan is typically 14 to 16 years.
Mals also have smooth, short coats but shed more than Corsi. They come in mahogany, red sable, fawn sable, red, and fawn.
Cane Corso Belgian Malinois Mix
The offspring of the Corso and Mal will definitely be large dogs. Depending on their genetics, they might be stocky, slimmer, or somewhere in between. The coloring will also vary depending on the parent they take after.
Cane Corso Care
The Cane Corso definitely needs a lot of exercise – they need at least two long daily walks. Grooming is a piece of cake thanks to their short, smooth coats, so they only require the occasional bath and weekly brushing, and they aren’t known to be serious shedders. Food bills will be high, however – they are very large dogs!
Belgian Malinois Care
Mals also need a lot of exercise but tend to be more energetic than Corsi. But they shed a lot more, so they need more frequent brushing, which is still easy, thanks to their short coats. They might not eat quite as much as the Corso, but they are large dogs as well, so food bills will still be high.
Cane Corso Belgian Malinois Mix
Again, the similarities in the parents mean the Cane Corso Belgian Malinois mix will likely come right down the middle between them. As a large breed, they will have a large appetite and need no less than two long walks every day, as well as weekly brushing and occasional baths.
The mixed breed might end up suffering from separation anxiety if they are left alone too often and require enough mental and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
More on the Cane Corso Belgian Malinois Mix
Why are these mixed breeds hard to find? It’s possible that both parent breeds aren’t quite as common or popular as other breeds. According to the AKC and as of early 2023, the Cane Corso is the 18th most popular dog, and the Belgian Malinois is the 32nd.
It’s just less likely to find a mixed breed from two purebreds that aren’t as commonly bred. But they do exist. They will just be challenging to find.
If you manage to find one, they will have the same confident, courageous, intelligent, loyal, protective, and loving qualities as their parents.
They will need an experienced owner who will socialize and train them with love and loads of patience. They might be slightly laid back if they take after their Corso parent more. You’ll need a home with a backyard for their exercise and size requirements as they won’t be the best choice for apartment living.
You’ll need to plan to give them an intense workout at least three days a week and long walks on the other days.
It’s not entirely impossible to find a Cane Corso Belgian Malinois mix – you might want to start by speaking to Cane Corso and Belgian Malinois breeders.
Both breeds don’t look much alike at all, but they have definite similarities in their care and temperaments.
Either way, if you feel you have the right kind of experience to handle a large dog with a sometimes stubborn temperament, you really can’t go wrong with the Mal or the Corso or a crossbreed between the two.
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Featured Image Credit: Grisha Bruev, Shuttestock