The Presa Canario

The Presa Canario

29.09.2019. 15:50:23

The Presa Canario (Perro de Presa Canario) is relatively rare, large-sized, robust and well-proportioned dog that is part of the Molosser family. Fully grown Presa Canario can reach the height of 26 inches (66 cm) and can weight over 110 lbs (50 kg).

The Presa Canario - history

These dogs were first bred in the Canary Islands (a group of seven islands belonging to Spain) in the 1800s. Some believe that some mastiffs-type dogs were brought to the Canary Islands by the Spanish Conquistadors in 15th century and caused the development of the Presa Canario dog we know today. The Presa Canario is a result of crossing the Iberian Presa (Perro de Ganado Majorero), and native Bardino Majorero dog with the English Mastiff and several other Hispanic breeds. Presa Canario was created to be an ultimate farm dog with wide range of duties –Presa Canario had to be a shepherd dog and herd all the cattle, but also, had to hunt down wild boars, feral dogs and other wild animals that threatened the cattle.


FUN FACT: Presa Canario is the animal symbol for Gran Canaria Island - one of the larger islands belonging to Spanish Canary Island archipelago.

The Presa Canario - guard dog

The Presa Canario is an ideal guard dog, known for its intelligence, strength, courage and physical resistance. Unfortunately, because of all these qualities, Presa Canario dogs were often used for dogfighting. Dogfighting nearly caused the extinction of the Presa Canario but, during the 1970s and 1980s, began the recovery of the Presa Canario breed when a group of breeders from Tenerife Island formed an association to support the regeneration of the Presa Canario dog. 1982 was a year when the formation of the Spanish Perro de Presa Canario club happened.

The Presa Canario - shedding

The Presa Canario has a short, smooth and easy-to-groom coat that lies close to the body and has no undercoat. Because of this, Dogo Canario dogs don’t require often brushing. Weekly brushing will be enough for their coat to look healthy and shiny. More frequent brushing is needed only in the fall and in the spring, during shedding season. The coat comes in a variety of colors, including fawn, silver fawn, red fawn, red brindle, brown brindle, fawn brindle, reverse brindle and verdino. Up to 20% of white coloring on the chest, muzzle and feet is acceptable.

FUN FACT: The AKC and the UKC accept black coats as an official color, while the FCI doesn’t.

Presa Canario has fast-growing nails so they should be trimmed regularly. Presa’s ears should be cleaned regularly to prevent possible infection development.

The Presa Canario is very powerful and strong, muscular dog. The dog’s neck, chest and legs are especially strong. Presa Canrio’s body is longer than it is high. Their head is broad and round and the jaw is large and strong.

The Presa Canario - bite force

FUN FACT: Perro de Presa Canario dog has a bite force of 540 PSI (pounds per square inch). 

The Presa Canario - ears 

Most of these dogs have their ears cropped. Presa Canario’s ears were historically cropped in order to prevent damage when rounding up cattle or to prevent tearing the ear up while fighting some other animal. Although today ear cropping is banned in the most countries, Presa Canario dog is rarely seen with dropped goofy ears. Cropped ears accentuate the powerful appearance of the Presa Canario.

Training a Presa Canario

Presa Canario dog has a balanced temperament and is very self-confident. Presas need to be trained properly from a young age. You need to impose yourself as an alpha dog so your Presa will respect you and listen to you. Presa Canario is naturally dominant dog and is not the best choice for first time owners. Training needs to begin early and it must be consistent. The key to the successful training is to make training interesting and to avoid too much repetition. Luckily these dogs are highly intelligent and quick learners. They respond well to positive reinforcement. Early socialization is a must. Expose your Presa Canarion puppy to all kinds of different sounds, sights, people, animals and other dogs, so your pup will grow up to be a well-rounded dog. However, these dogs have a very high prey drive and are naturally territorial. All Presas are born with protective instincts and if Presa feels like someone from her family is being attacked in any way, Presa will react and attack. Protecting their people and their property will forever be Presa’s number one job to do. The Presa Canario dog is devoted and affectionate. These dogs are a good choice for families with older children that know how to behave around dogs of this size. They are not the greatest choice for families with toddlers or younger children because they are massive and can unintentionally hurt or knock over a small child.

The Presa Canario - energy level

These dogs need a lot of exercise! They have plenty of energy and if Presa does not get given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise she needs, Presa will become bored and destructive. Presa Canario dogs love to explore and to roam around. They are not recommended for apartment living. For Presa Canario dog, ideal living situation is a big house with a lot of back yard space and secure fencing.

Is a Presa Canario dangerous?

Presas are alert and loyal dogs that make awesome watchdogs. Usually they are very quiet but when they bark, they are very intimidating. Sadly, Presas have a reputation for being aggressive (mostly because of their past when they were used for dogfighting), but that is not true. Occasionally there will be some Presa Canario dog with expressed aggression, but with proper socialization and training this is the exception and not the rule.

The Presa Canario - health

Although the Presa Canario has an average lifespan of 9-11 years, which is for a breed this massive quite a lot, there are some serious health conditions that can shorten their lifespan. Problems they are prone to include elbow and hip dysplasia (you can read more about hip dysplasia here), epilepsy, panosteitis (condition characterized by limping and lameness), hypothyroidism, patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap), arthritis (mainly in older dogs), bloat (you can read more about bloat here), dilated cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), etc.

The Presa Canario - breeders

Purebred Presa Canario is considered a rare breed and as such these dogs are very pricey. A Presa Canario puppy can cost up to $2000. When that cost is added to the cost of veterinarian, dog’s initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, high-quality food that Presa requires, you will end up with a large number. When buying a Presa Canario make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder and not from someone who put profit above the welfare of dogs. Finding reputable Presa Canario breeder will ensure you get a puppy with the best genetic traits possible.

World Dog Finder team