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Presa Canario vs Pitbull: What Are The Differences?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Presa Canario vs Pitbull

With outwardly menacing appearances, the Presa Canario and the Pitbull are gorgeous, gentle giants that get a bad rap. Although they’re stocky, strong, and sometimes downright scary, they excel as 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 ideal for you. In this in-depth article, we’ll discuss all of the significant differences between the 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+
Pitbull
  • 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 similar, the Presa Canario and the Pitbull actually come from opposite sides of the globe and are utilized for their notable but differing skill sets. 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 their flock against wolves and other feral predators.

Sadly, they 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 a devout guardian and a family-friendly pet.

The Pitbull is not a breed but an umbrella term used to describe types of canines that are descended from Bulldogs and Terriers. They were originally bred to bait bulls, and the Pitbull was also a popular fighting dog in England until the blood sport was banned. This long lineage of bloody battles earned them a bad reputation. Despite this savage history, the Pitbull is actually a sweet and adoring dog that is great with 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 a Presa Canario or Pitbull is definitely the right breed for you. With large, broad heads and big, burly bodies, both canines have truly impressive appearances.

They 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.

The Presa and the Pitbull have short, sleek, shiny coats. Although Pitbulls are available in various 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 the same, the Presa and the Pit are incredibly different, and the Presa Canario is not suited for a novice dog owner. They can be highly dominant and need a firm, patient owner ready to take the lead. If you give the Presa an inch, they will gladly take a mile and continuously challenge their owner for the alpha dog position.

Despite the Pitbull’s stubborn streak, they are suitable for almost every owner. They are even used as nanny dogs 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 watch while your dog plays with your children to ensure everyone stays safe.

Presa Canario vs Pitbull Exercise Needs

Both breeds have medium energy levels and require at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. 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 of war. The Pitbull and the Presa can see it as a battle for top dog rank within your family.

Presa Canario vs Pitbull Training

The Presa Canario and the Pitbull are both intelligent. 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 since 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 live longer than Presa Canarios. The Pitbull and the Presa can develop 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 essential to feed them high-quality dog food. Presa dogs require around 3 cups of food daily, 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, but brush them weekly to keep their coats healthy and shiny.

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Final Thoughts

The Presa Canario and the Pitbull are amazing dogs with a lot of love to offer. If you’re searching for an intimidating breed, both dogs fit the bill. However, it is vital to remember that the Presa is not suited for first-time dog owners. Both breeds need plenty of exercise and socialization from the start, and they 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:


Featured Image Credit: (L) Mary Swift, Shutterstock | (R) Diego Thomazini, Shutterstock

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