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Presa Canario vs Pitbull: What’s the Difference?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Presa Canario vs Pit Bull

With outwardly menacing appearances, both the Presa Canario and the Pitbull are gorgeous, gentle giants that get a bad rap. Stocky, strong, and sometimes downright scary, these two dog breeds excel at watchdogs and make devoted family pets.

If you’re considering bringing either a Presa Canario or a Pitbull into your home, you may be pondering which breed is right for you. In this in-depth article, we’ll discuss all of the major differences between these two pups to help you choose the right dog for your family.

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Presa Canario vs Pitbull: Visual Differences

Presa Canario vs Cane Corso side by side

A Quick Overview

Presa Canario
  • Height: 22 – 26 inches
  • Weight: 80 – 110 pounds
  • Lifespan: 9 – 11 years
  • Temperament: Calm, Confident, Stubborn
  • Trainability: Excellent
  • Price: $1,500+
  • Height: 17 – 21 inches
  • Weight: 30 – 65 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
  • Temperament: Loyal & loving, Stubborn, Energetic
  • Trainability: Excellent
  • Price: $400+

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Breed Histories

While both breeds are considered dangerous dogs, the Presa Canario and the Pitbull actually come from opposite sides of the globe and are utilized for their notable, but differing, skillsets.

The Presa Canario is a Spanish breed that hails from the Canary Islands. Originally developed to herd cattle, the Presa Canario also was used to guard his flock against wolves and other feral predators. Sadly, this breed almost became extinct during the mid-20th century. During the 1970s, breed enthusiasts took it upon themselves to save the breed and thus began an intensive Presa Canario breeding program. Today, the Presa Canario is a popular pet among people looking for both a devout guardian and a family-friendly pet.

The Pitbull is not an actual type of dog breed but an umbrella term used to describe types of canines that are descended from Bulldogs and Terriers. Originally bred to bait bulls, the Pitbull was also a popular fighting dog in England until the blood sport was banned. This long lineage of bloody battles earned him the bad reputation the breed has today. Despite this savage history, the Pitbull is actually a sweet and adoring dog that is great with both adults and young children.

Presa Canario vs Pitbull Appearance

If you want a breed that will stop people dead in their tracks out of fear, then either a Presa Canario or Pitbull is definitely the right breed for you. With large, broad heads and big, burly bodies, both of these canines have truly impressive appearances.

Both breeds can easily be mistaken for the other due to their strikingly similar appearances. However, the Presa Canario is much larger than the Pitbull, tipping the scale at almost double the Pit’s weight.

Both the Presa and the Pitbull have short, sleek, and shiny coats. But while Pitbulls are available in a wide array of different colors and coat patterns, the Presa Canario is only available in brown, silver, or gold.

Generally, Presa breeders crop their puppies’ ears for a more aggressive appearance. Pitbulls don’t typically come with cropped ears.

visual appearances of presa canario and pitbull
Image Credit | Left: Presa Canario (tsik, Shutterstock); Right: Pitbull (Eve Photography, Shutterstock)

Presa Canario vs Pitbull Temperament

Despite looking very much the same, the Presa and the Pit are extremely different in disposition. The most important item to stress here is that the Presa Canario is absolutely not suited for a novice dog owner. This breed can be extremely dominant and needs a firm, patient owner who is ready to take the lead. If you give the Presa an inch, he will gladly take a mile and continuously challenges his parent for the alpha dog position.

Despite the Pitbull suffering from a stubborn streak, this breed is suitable for almost every owner. In fact, this breed was even used as a nanny dog to watch over small children.

Both are highly intelligent breeds that do well with kids and other pets. However, it is critical to train and socialize both the Presa and the Pitbull from the get-go. Additionally, always keep a watchful eye while your dog is playing with your children to ensure everyone stays safe.

Presa Canario vs Pitbull Exercise Needs

Both breeds have medium energy levels and will require at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. This can be divided into brisk walks or romps around in the backyard. While some indoor games are appropriate, you should never participate in a game that involves a challenge of power, including tug. Both the Pitbull and the Presa can see this as a battle for top dog rank within your family.

Presa Canario vs Pitbull Training

The Presa Canario and the Pitbull are both super smart pooches. Thus, they need the proper mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied and leave boredom at the backdoor.

Both breeds need to be socialized with people and other pets from day one as they can display fear aggression against other dogs.

Professional obedience training is highly recommended for the Presa. While you need to be consistent with training a Pitbull, Presa training is a lifelong commitment.

Both breeds do best on consistent, firm, positive reinforcement training methods.

presa canario and pitbull outdoors
Image Credit | Left: Presa Canario (Eve Photography, Shutterstock); Right: Pitbull (stockfoto, Shutterstock)

Presa Canario vs Pitbull Health and Care

While both breeds are hardy dogs, Pitbulls tend to live longer than Presa Canarios.

Both the Pitbull and the Presa can develop certain types of health issues later in life, including hip and elbow dysplasia. The Presa is also prone to bloat and kidney disease.

Whether you choose a Pitbull or a Presa, it’s important to feed them high-quality, grain-free kibble. Presa dogs require around three cups of food per day while Pitbulls will do best with around 2½ cups.

Both breeds require minimal grooming. Neither the Presa nor the Pitbull has undercoats, and they shed very little. Aim to brush both breeds weekly to keep their coats healthy and shiny.

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Final Thoughts

Both the Presa Canario and the Pitbull are amazing dogs with a lot of love to offer. If you’re on the hunt for an intimidating breed, both choices definitely fit the bill.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the Presa is not suited for first-time dog owners.

Both breeds need plenty of exercise and socialization from the start. Both require weekly grooming, ongoing training, and mental stimulation.

Consider bringing one of these gentle giants into your household today!

Check out another great breed comparison:

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