If you're looking for a good guard dog, you may have considered a Presa Canario or a Cane Corso -- both of which have been historically bred for guarding purposes.
But which is the better guard dog of the two?
This article will break down the advantages and disadvantages of both breeds, and will ultimately discuss which one makes for the better guard dog.
The first step is understanding a little bit about each breed. First, is the Presa Canario.
Historically, the Presa Canario (short for "Perro de Presa Canario" or "Canary Dog of Prey") was bred for guarding livestock and farms against wild or stray animals, especially other dogs.
Presa Canario Pros
Their benefits include:
- Being very active, especially when outdoors.
- Being relatively easy to train.
- A high range of interaction when properly trained.
- A relatively high natural intelligence.
The Presa Canario is a highly active breed, good for an owner with a lot of land or animals to protect. Its instincts point toward attacking perceived threats once honed with proper training.
The breed can learn to get along with numerous other people and animals, including other dogs. This comes with relative ease given the breed's historic role as a livestock guard dog.
Wary around potential threats, but loyal and protective around its owners' family and territory, a well-trained Presa Canario can also adapt quickly to different scenarios.
This is due to the Presa Canario's intelligence, making it a curious and confident animal. This breed's inquisitive instincts can come in handy in guard dog situations, with its intuition as its guide.
Presa Canario Cons
Disadvantages of the Presa Canario, however, include:
- Needing intense early-life training.
- Needing well-trained familiarity with friends, neighbors, and animals.
- The need for copious exercise.
- The potential for serious injury to others from lack of control.
The Presa Canario is not recommended for first-time owners or owners of "softer" breeds. This breed has led to the death of at least one person, due to the unwillingness and inability of owners to control and properly train these animals.
For this reason, the Presa Canario needs to be checked for temperament and trained at an early age -- training as soon as at home immediately first -- and then enrolling it in a training program at least at ten weeks of age.
The breed also needs regular exposure to family members, older children, friends, neighbors, other animals, and different familiar surroundings, as much as possible.
That said, this breed is simply not suitable for extended indoor stays or being close to small children. Only calmly assertive, experienced owners should handle this animal -- a drawback if the goal is for casual use as a guard dog.
The Cane Corso (Italian for "Protector Dog" loosely) is a dog that has been bred historically for war, hunting, and agricultural guarding duties.
Although once a war and hunting dog, the Cane Corso -- in more modern times -- has been bred to protect hen-houses and farm buildings. For this reason, it can carefully watch for strangers and threats and can be gentler to more familiar animals or people, including children.
Cane Corso Pros
Benefits of this breed include:
- High capacity as a watchdog.
- Its ability to get along with children once trained.
- Its extremely protective nature.
- A sternly confident, serious temperament with strangers.
The Cane Corso also has a firmly protective straightened stance when encountering strangers. It is also more of a breed to corner intruders, rather than bite them -- a benefit for owners looking to minimize harm.
Cane Corso Cons
The Cane Corso, however, also has several disadvantages, including:
- A strong will and potential to act out.
- A potential to be aggressive to other animals or people.
- A tendency for destruction if left unsupervised.
- The potential for injurious or fatal accidents, resulting in legal liabilities.
The Cane Corso has been involved in several fatal attacks on humans, and like the Presa Canario is only recommended for very experienced dog owners. This breed needs the establishment of an "Alpha" owner who can assertively command the breed's behavior.
Though more comfortable indoors and with children, the Cane Corso can act out if left unsupervised. This may be a drawback for owners wanting to preserve their homes and belongings.
How to Choose
What's The Difference?
The Cane Corso is a slightly longer, but lighter breed than the Presa Canario. In addition to this, the Cane Corso has denser fur, lives slightly longer, and does not have the characteristic black mask of the Presa Canario.
Behaviorally, the Cane Corso is a little more sociable to unknown individuals while the Presa Canario tends to be distant to strangers. The Cane Corso tends to be slightly more docile, while the Presa Canario needs a lot of exercises.
Which Is The Better Guard Dog?
The Cane Corso is a little warmer to familiar faces and strangers and would be a better guard dog in closer quarters. For larger homes, outdoor areas, livestock, and families with fewer people, a Presa Canario may be a better choice. However, the Cane Corso's watchful, sociable behavior slightly edges the Presa Canario in terms of a breed for guard dog use.
Though both breeds are suitable for guard dog purposes in their way, the Cane Corso would be the overall better choice as a guard dog breed for most households. It is more sociable, requires somewhat less exercise, and is adaptable to common home environments due to its comparatively less active nature. The Cane Corso can also defend its owners and familiar people in a mostly proportional manner.
That said, the Presa Canario would make an excellent guard dog for farms, large homes, and protecting livestock. It is a breed that demands a lot of exercises but thrives in a fiercely protective way towards outside threats.
Finally, both species are for experienced owners only. If they are not properly trained or controlled, they can be injurious or potentially deadly. It is important to train and keep these breeds correctly, for the safety of you, others, and your guard dog.
-  ^ YouTube video: Dog Breed Comparison: Cane Corso vs Presa Canario
-  ^ Love Your Dog: Presa Canario vs. Cane Corso: What’s The Difference?