Cane Corso vs Presa Canario: Key differences explained

You’d be hard-pressed to find two breeds of dogs similar to Cane Corsos and Presa Canarios. They are constantly being mistaken for one another, and with so many similarities, it’s easy to see why. It can be difficult to differentiate them, especially for the untrained eye; fortunately, there are a few key differences.

Physical Differences:


Both dogs are large and boast intimidating physiques, but they vary in size. The differences in their sizes are slight and almost non-existent, but the Presa Canario is slightly smaller than the Cane Corso.

The difference is barely a few centimeters, but where you have both breeds, the smaller one will be the Presa Canario. At first glance, the Presa Canario will appear larger, but a closer examination will show the Cane Corso to be bigger from a height standpoint.

The Presa Canario makes up for the height difference by weighing more. Most Presa Canarios have heights between 56 and 66 cm and weigh 36-59 kg. On the other hand, Cane Corso’s height ranges between 58 and 69 cm, while they weigh between 40 and 50 kg. Females tend to be at the lower limits except for medical conditions like pregnancy, where weight spikes.

Coat Colours

The most obvious physical distinction between two dog breeds is usually coat color, especially when one color is synonymous with a particular breed. Cane Corsos usually occur in black, light and dark gray, light and dark fawn, and red. Any color outside these isn’t officially considered a part of the breed, but the most common color is black.

On the other hand, Presa Canarios occur in fawn, black, and brindle, but color combinations are pretty common. The key difference is the absence of red and gray colors in the Presa Canario. Unfortunately, these colors aren’t too common in Cane Corso, making such a distinction rare.

A more pronounced distinction between both breeds relating to coats is the presence of an undercoat in Cane Corsos. It doesn’t affect shedding or care, but it does make a Cane Corso’s fur appear thicker than the Presa Canario.

This difference is most obvious when grooming, as the Cane Corso will require a stronger brush.


Both breeds are prime physical specimens that all but look alike, but a few key distinctions set them apart. The most obvious distinction here is the presence of facial markings on Presa Canarios, regardless of their coat color.

These facial markings are restricted to specific areas like around the eyes, nose, lips, and eye rims. Cane Corsos don’t usually have these making it a good way to tell them apart, especially for a newbie.

Another differentiating feature of both breeds is the appearance of their feet. A Presa Canario’s feet look more like a cat’s than a dog’s. Their toes are rounded and further apart than expected of a dog, which gives them an advantage in the field. Their strides are more fluid, which comes in handy for a chase.

Other Differences


Guard dogs are generally friendly; Cane Corsos and Presa Canarios fall into this category. While it may not be evident at first glance, Cane Corsos are more friendly and affectionate. Presa Canarios are still affectionate, but not as much as Cane Corsos, but enough to function as great family pets.

In contrast, Presa Canarios are calmer and more confident than Cane Corsos. Both dogs are also intelligent, which comes in handy when training them. Cane Corsos are easier to train, while Presa Canarios are more strong-willed and can sometimes be aggressive.

Their strong-willed nature might make training more difficult, but a firm trainer will eventually break through. The firm the trainer is, the better it is, as Presa Canarios are pack animals and will follow a strong presence.


While not a physical distinction, their origins are a key difference between the Cane Corso and Presa Canario. Ironically both breeds are offsets of the Mastiff but have followed different paths to arrive at today’s versions. Both breeds have origins in Europe but in different countries.

The Presa Canario has its origins in Spain, specifically the Canary Islands. They were bred to protect livestock, a function they still have today. Along the line, they were used for dog fighting, which made them nearly extinct in the 1940s. Unfortunately, not all kennel clubs recognise this breed, despite their numbers.

The Cane Corso originates in Italy, dating back to ancient Rome, where some of them were used in the military. While the original breeds were larger than those today, they are still physically intimidating.

Their post-military career has seen them serving as guard dogs, hunting dogs and family pets. They also happen to be one of the world’s most popular guard dog breeds.


Both breeds have been used similarly throughout their histories but have a few key differences. Cane Corsos can serve as companion dogs, while Presa Canarios cannot.

Presa Canarios are notably more aggressive, and while they can be toned down with training, it never fully dissipates. They won’t be violent or aggressive towards their owners, but strangers will likely be on the receiving end.

Also, their aggression makes Preca Canarios unsuitable pets to have around children. With Cane Corsos being more friendly, they can be around children but never be left alone with them. While friendly, they still have instincts that could prove harmful, and they sometimes forget their size.

Similarities between Cane Corsos and Presa Canario

Despite their differences, they have quite a few similarities, which sometimes makes it harder to differentiate between them. Even a trained professional may find some of these similarities to be confusing. Some of the similarities between Cane Corsos and Presa Canarios include:

Grooming Needs

Both dogs are among the easiest dogs to care for when grooming, usually because they are light shedders. Despite Cane Corsos having an undercoat, they still have short fur; hence less hair is lost through shedding.

While shedding isn’t much of an issue, their fur will still need proper care, which means brushing. Brushing a few times a week will suffice and help prevent parasites from nesting on them.

Another notable similarity concerning grooming is the number of times they need to bathe. Both dogs don’t need to be bathed regularly and can do with one bath in two months.

They don’t usually smell and are usually pleasant naturally unless external factors are in play. Bathing them frequently puts their coat and skin at risk and will likely result in skin irritation. It also affects natural oil production and can damage or inhibit it.

Finally, their nails will need to be cut once it gets too long. There is no precise timeline for this, but you can’t let it get too long or risk breaking.


Both dogs have similar costs as puppies, probably due to how similar their needs are. A new puppy of both breeds will usually cost between $1,500 and $2,000. However, on average, Presa Canarios are more likely to cost more than $1,800, while Cane Corsos are not.

Breeders are the largest contributing factor to these puppies’ price, and fewer Presa Canario breeders are available.

Other factors like local law can still affect the price, and with both breeds not accepted everywhere, they may be more expensive in such areas. You may need to pay more than the average cost for one already trained or in training.


Both breeds live for approximately a decade, making them a great canine investment. Large dogs generally have shorter lifespans than their smaller counterparts, and both breeds in question fit the bill.

Fortunately, they have relatively long lives compared to other large dogs and are just a few years shy of the average lifespan of a dog.

Ultimately, external factors will influence their lifespan, but under the right conditions, you can expect to have them around for a decade. Some Presa Canarios tend to die early, starting around nine years, but it shouldn’t be too much of a bother. So long as you can cater to each one properly, you don’t have much to worry about.

Health Problems

When it comes to health problems, not only are both dogs similar, but they are also less prone than the average dog. Both breeds are equally susceptible to gastric torsion and elbow and hip dysplasia.

Both Dysplasia types are common to large dog breeds; with their sizes, Cane Corsos and Presa Canarios are susceptible. Gastric torsion is usually brought on by dog overeating, so portioning can help prevent it.

Some health problems plague only one species, with Cane Corsos notably prone to heart problems. While they may have similar problems, it differs in how each dog is affected, usually due to external factors.

Best Dog For You

Both breeds would make excellent additions to most homes but ultimately, the function will determine their best fit. Each of these breeds is perfectly suited to some functions ahead of the other making it easy to classify them.

Family Pet

Both dogs can serve as family pets with the right training but only where children aren’t present. Presa Canarios are the preferred choice in homes with small children as Cane Corsos are too large.

Their size alone isn’t an issue, but they tend to be extra affectionate and forget their size. Without proper supervision, a small child can get trapped or hurt by one. Presa Canarios, on the other hand, are less affectionate but should never be left alone with children.

Guard Dog

While both breeds are notably excellent guard dogs, the Presa Canario is the better choice in this regard. They are very alert, and with loyalty to their owners, they are sure to make great protectors.

Hunting Partner

Cane Corso makes a better hunter, especially when hunting big game. Their physical appearance is intimi6to most prey, and they love a good chase.

Conclusion: Cane Corso vs Presa Canario

You’d be hard-pressed to find two dog breeds similar to Cane Corsos and Presa Canarios. While they may look the same to the untrained eye, a pro can differentiate them easily.

With the right information, anyone can differentiate and use them to the best of their abilities.

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