Presa Canario Pitbull Mix: Your Full Guide

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Written by: Celestine Gomez
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Judging by the name alone, a Presa Canario Pitbull mix seems like a vicious attack dog you get to guard your estate. Yet, many people are surprised to discover that this breed is one of the sweetest and friendliest dogs you can own.

These hybrid mixes are a crossbreed between a Presa Canario and an American Pitbull Terrier. Sometimes, they’re a mix with other Pitbull-type breeds, but the American type is the most common.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, this article is for you. We’ll start with its history, then talk about traits, dietary needs, and exercise. So, get ready to open up your home, and heart, to these adorable canines.

Let’s dive in.


What’s interesting about the Presa Canario Pitbull mix is that each parent came from a different part of the world. Unfortunately, there are no written details on when this mix first came about, nor do we know how this breed spread to all parts of the world.

So, the best way to understand a bit of their origin, we have to first learn about the parents.

Presa Canarios

The Perro de Presa Canario is a large-sized canine breed native to the Canary Islands. They’ve even been made the official mascot of Gran Canaria, one island of the Canary Islands chain.

Back in the day, they were used to herd and protect cattle. Now, they’re just used as guard dogs that just happen to be excellent swimmers, thanks to their island roots.

During the mid-1960s, their numbers started dwindling to almost near extinction. This was around the time that the Spanish government began enforcing a ban on dogfighting.

However, Presa Canario enthusiasts took action immediately and made it their mission to bring back the breed again. Their efforts paid off because their numbers started to increase and they were formally recognized as an official breed in 1989 by the Royal Canine Society of Spain.

A little less than a decade later, in 1996, Presa Canarios joined the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service. Then, in 2003, they were recognized as an official breed by the United Kennel Club.


In 18th century England, Pitbulls were bred from fighting dogs and quickly became known as one of the deadliest breeds of dog fighters.

However, animal rights advocates saw the cruel and inhumane way they were being treated and decided to fight on their behalf. They fought to stop dog fights and started training Pitbulls obedience and socialization skills to diminish their aggressive streak.

Their hard work paid off when, in 1898, they were recognized by the United Kennel Club as companion dogs in 1898. Today, they’re known to be quite feisty. However, they can be easily trained to be less aggressive and more gentle.

We mentioned above that the Presa Canario Pitbull mix is a hybrid between the Presa Canario and a type of Pitbull breed. The American Pitbull Terrier is commonly used as a breeding partner in this scenario. However, there are several other less common types that can result in one of these hybrid mixes.

It’s worth noting that Pitbulls are generally seen as an aggressive and hostile breed. However, their mixes are much more affable, thanks to the more accommodating nature of the Presa Canario breed.

In addition to the American Pitbull Terrier, here are some other Pitbull terrier canines that can breed with Presa Canarios.

  • American Bully
  • American Staffordshire
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Physical Traits

If you’ve been around dogs long enough, you’ll be able to spot the difference between a Presa Canario Pitbull mix and a pitbull just by looking at their size.


The Presa Canario Pitbull mix is known for its big bones and large, muscular shoulders. Pitbulls are slightly smaller in stature, nor do they have broad shoulders. So, that’s one way to tell them apart.

Another distinguishable feature is the size of their heads. The hybrids have a more prominent head compared to the rest of their bodies, which is a trait they share with their Presa Canario parent.

On average, these canines stand about 23–25 inches tall. They typically reach their full adult size when they’re about 12 months old.

Yet, it’s worth mentioning that they can still continue to grow a few more inches over the years as they age. That’s why they’re often recommended for owners with spacious living quarters and a large backyard. This ensures that the dog doesn’t feel stifled, nor does he end up damaging your belongings.


The pitbull side of the family, however, usually passes down their fur color. That’s why most of these mixed breeds have unique color variations, such as brindle and champagne.

The only exception is if the Presa Canario parent has solid black fur. This is considered to be a dominant gene, which means it gets passed down to the puppies.

Yet, no matter what color fur covers the dog, all Presa Canario Pitbull mixes have coats. This is another dominant trait that they get from their parents.


Another notable trait is their big, floppy ears. Unfortunately, some owners admit to cropping their dog’s ears to give them a more intimidating and distinctive appearance.

However, this is highly frowned upon. It’s even illegal in some countries.


The average weight of a Presa Canario Pitbull mix is typically around 70 and 80 pounds. Yet, this largely depends on various factors, like genetics, the dog’s environmental upbringing, and diet.

As for the genetic factor, the Presa Canarios and Pitbulls have a considerable gap in weight and size. So, it’s natural to expect that their hybrid litter shows the weight of the dominant parent. Many times this is the pitbull because they’re often chosen as formidable male partners.

At the same time, it’s unclear in some pups which is the more dominant parent. So, the litter just finds a middle ground between the weights of the two parents.

Character Traits

There always seems to be some sort of controversy when it comes to these breeds. Some dog owners see them as sweet and affectionate, while others see them as menacing.

The truth is, these mixes tend to exhibit varying temperaments, depending on the dominant genes of the parent. Nevertheless, they make great companions and family dogs that certainly know how to have a good time!

The Best of Both Worlds

Bringing together the gene pools from these two strong-willed breeds will create some strong-willed babies. Yet, it’s never too much that it becomes a nuisance.

Presa Canario Pitbull mixes know how to strike the right balance between strong personality and tenderness. Luckily, they’ve also learned to inherit the best of both parents.

 closeup of the Presa Canario puppy

They can be protective and fierce, which they get from their Presa Canario parents. At the same time, they can also be clingy and adorable, which they inherit from the pitbull side of the family.

A Loyal Companion

Nevertheless, once they become familiar with their human, expect your hybrid dog to be your staunchest supporter and most loyal companion.

Yet, don’t let that fool you. They can be quite cocky at times, to the point of being arrogant if left with no or minimal, training. They even start believing that they’re the alpha of the pack and begin to boss you around!

So, use their strong character to your advantage. The best way to do that is to make sure you train your pooch from an early age to show him that you’re the alpha. Then, as he matures, it’ll be easier for him to be more obedient and affectionate.

It’s true they display unwanted behaviors now and then. Yet, that’s just like any other dog that needs to be trained and disciplined.

Once they know proper socialization training and activities, it’ll be much easier to handle your pooch and enjoy lots of quality time together.

Dietary Needs

Both Pitbulls and Presa Canarios are dynamic dogs with big appetites. If you put food out any time of the day, they’ll eat it.

That’s why you must moderate their diet to provide them with the nutrition they need while avoiding future health problems.

For example, puppies need to eat four times a day. So, you have to divide their daily nutritional requirements into four meals.

Adults, on the other hand, need only two to three meals daily. Each meal should be high in protein. At the same time, it should have moderate amounts of fat and carbohydrates, depending on the dog’s age.


Two of the most prominent characteristics of the Presa Canario Pitbull mix are their intelligence and high energy. So, training them is never a problem. They catch on quickly, and are eager to please, which makes it easy to teach new tricks.

For even better results, dog trainers recommend you start training your hybrid breed young, if possible. This is when they’re least stubborn, more willing to please you, and easier to control.

Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t train older dogs. You certainly can, but it’ll just take more effort and patience on your part.

Whichever age you start training your furry friend, just remember to assert dominance so he knows who’s boss from day one. Also, never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement and tasty treats.


Presa Canario Pitbull mixes need at least 60 minutes of physical exercise daily. Yet, don’t just take them for a walk around the block.

These high-energy canines enjoy more intense activities, like jogging, playing catch, and agility sports. These activities boost their physical health while keeping them mentally stimulated as well.


The great news is that Presa Canario Pitbull mixes have short fur with practically no undercoat. So, their grooming routine is minimal and low-maintenance.

Experts recommend you brush them once a day. If you don’t have time, brushing them every other day should be okay. However, try not to wait any longer to avoid their hair getting tangled or matted.

You should also brush their teeth daily to prevent decay and promote strong, healthy teeth. Dental sticks and chews are also great ways to remove plaque.

Another advantage of having short hair is they don’t get smelly, even after a good hour of running and playing. So, you don’t need to bathe them after every outing; just once a month should be enough.

Nail clipping and ear cleaning should also be done once a month to reduce the risk of infections or bacterial growth.


Similar to their parents, their hybrid offspring has a life expectancy of around 10–15 years. Of course, it goes without saying that this varies greatly depending on nutrition, exercise, and their growing environment.

Health Issues

The Presa Canario Pitbull mixes are active and energetic dogs that are easy to care for. Your vet can help you create a wellness plan to help you maintain your dog’s health and well-being, including vitamins and dietary supplements.

Unfortunately, genetics plays a vital role in your hybrid’s health. So, he’ll always be susceptible to certain predisposed illnesses or genetically-acquired diseases.

Here are some of the most common ones to watch out for:

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Because Presa Canario Pitbull mixes are large dogs, making them vulnerable to joint inflammations. One example is hip dysplasia, which is a deformity in the dog’s hip bone. If this genetic condition is left untreated, it can lead to severe pain and even immobility.

Elbow dysplasia is another painful condition that also affects large-sized canines. It’s caused by a misalignment in the dog’s elbow, resulting in pain, limping, and joint stiffness.


Entropion is a health condition when the dog’s eyelids roll inward. As a result, the eyelashes rub against the surface of the eye, causing irritation, pain, and inflammation of the inner lids.

It’s usually a result of trauma, infectious disease, or nerve damage to the eyelids. The most common treatment method to help reverse the inward rolling of the lid is surgical correction.


As mentioned above, these hybrids are hefty dogs known for their large appetites. If the food they’re consuming each day isn’t met with adequate amounts of daily physical exercise, it can lead to weight gain.

Over time, that extra body weight leads to obesity, which, in turn, causes a slew of chronic health conditions, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Urinary bladder stones

A Final Note

Presa Canario Pitbull mixes are fun-loving, free-spirited dogs that love swimming and make great companions. However, they can be a handful if you’re not used to raising a large, vigorous breed like this hybrid.

Yet, as long as you’re committed and have ample space in your home to welcome one of these beauties, then everything will be fine. Also, make sure you keep all your vet appointments and offer them a high-quality diet and lots of physical and mental stimulation.

So, how do you feel now about this mixed breed? Don’t you think it’s time you welcomed a loyal and affectionate dog like that into your home?

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Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.