The Presa Canario (Perro de Presa Canario) is a relatively rare, large-sized, robust, and well-proportioned dog that is part of the Molosser family. They are confident, calm, and strong-willed dogs and are best suited for guarding and it was traditionally used for herding cattle. Other names for this dog breed are Canary Mastiff, Canarian Dogo, Dogo Canario, and Canary Catch Dog. This dogs are with his family obedient and docile, and are extremely devoted to the master, but are very aloof and suspicious of strangers. This dog breed is not for everyone and not for first-time owners so you gotta be sure that this is the right dog breed for you and that you will be able to control it before you contact Presa Canario breeders. This dog is extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. Presa dog needs a master who will know how to control the behavior of this dog and who will provide him with proper socialization and training. If raised properly this dogs can be full of love for their family members.
FUN FACT: Presa Canario dogs tolerate heat better than many mastiff-type dogs.
22-26 in (56-66 cm)
88-143 lb (40-65 kg)
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 the 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. This dog was created to be an ultimate farm dog with a 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.
Because these dogs are fearless, massive, and strong they were perfect for fighting. In 1940 dog fighting was prohibited although the dog fights were continued during the next decade. In this period number of these dogs drastically decreased because that was the time when German Shepherd, Doberman, and Great Dane were introduced. Dog fancier showed more interest in this dog breeds and that almost lead to Presa extinction. In the 1970s began reconstruction of this dog breed. Few reputable breeders took massive, vigorous, and functional dogs and started to breed them. These dogs had watchdog instincts and strong temperament and these dogs were great for defending their property.
In 1982 a group of breeders began the full recovery of this dog breed as they formed an association Spanish Perro de Presa Canario on the island of Tenerife with one goal to revive this dog breed.
FUN FACT: Presa Canario is the animal symbol for Gran Canaria Island - one of the larger islands belonging to the Spanish Canary Island archipelago.
Dog Breed Characteristics
The Canary Mastiff is a very powerful and strong, muscular dog. The dog’s neck, chest, and legs are especially strong. Presa Canario's body is longer than it is high. Their head is broad and round and the jaw is large and strong.
This dog breed belongs to Group 2 (Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid Breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle dogs) – Section 2.1. (Molossoid Mastiff type). A male dog can reach a height of 23-26 inches (60-66 centimeters) at the withers, while the female dogs can reach a height of 22-24 inches (56-62 centimeters). For every dog, a tolerance of 2 cm is accepted. Male dogs can weigh between 110-143 pounds (50-65 kilograms) while the females can weigh from 88-121 pounds (40- 55 kilograms). They were fully recognized by the FCI in 2011 under the name Dogo Canario. In 2018 breeds name was changed to Presa Canario.
Fully grown Perro de Presa Canario can reach the height of 22-26 inches (56-66 centimeters) and can weight 84- 110 lbs (38-50 kilograms). According to this standard, they belong to the Foundation Stock Service group. Foundation Stock Service is an optional service for all purebred dogs that are yet not eligible to be registered in the AKC.
Shedding and care
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 the shedding season. At this time you will have to brush your dog often if you don’t want dog hair around the house. 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. Clean his ears with a cotton ball dipped into a ph-balanced ear cleaner. During brushing sessions always check the dog for any signs of rashes, infections, etc. and you can prevent some serious health problems if you regularly check your dog.
These dogs don’t drool as much as mastiff-type dogs. Presa dogs will drool after he eats or drinks water.
FUN FACT: Perro de Presa Canario dog has a bite force of 540 PSI (pounds per square inch).
Canary Mastiff ears
Most of these dogs have their ears cropped. Presa Canario’s ears were historically cropped to prevent damage when rounding up cattle or to prevent tearing the ear up while fighting some other animal. Although today's ear cropping is banned in most countries, this dog is rarely seen with dropped goofy ears. Cropped ears accentuate the powerful appearance of the Canary Mastiff.
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. This is a 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 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 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. This 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.
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. These dogs love to explore and to roam around. They are not recommended for apartment living. For Canary Mastiff dog, the ideal living situation is a big house with a lot of back yard space and secure fencing.
Presa Canario vs Bandog
Although they have a few similar characteristics there are two completely different dog breeds. Many "bad breeders" will try to sell bandog under the Presa name. They were both bred for guarding purposes and while the Presa is from Spain, the Bandog originated from England from the Eastern Shepherd, American Pit Bull Terriers, and the Mastiffs that were crossed with Western Bullenbeissers. That is why you mustn’t get fooled that a Bandog is Presa Canario.
Is this dog 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 has 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.
FUN FACT: These dogs are banned in some countries across the world including Australia and New Zeland so if you are thinking about getting this dog you must check if your country has banned this dog breed.
Although the Perro de Presa Canario has an average lifespan of 9-11 years, which is for a breed this massive quite a lot, some serious health conditions can shorten their lifespan. Problems they are prone to include elbow and hip dysplasia, epilepsy, panosteitis (a condition characterized by limping and lameness), hypothyroidism, patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap), arthritis (mainly in older dogs), bloat, dilated cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), etc.
Purebred Presa Canario is considered a rare breed and as such these dogs are very pricey. A puppy can cost up to $2000. When that cost is added to the cost of a 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. Although this is a relatively new dog breed "bad" breeders already showed up so you need to be careful when searching for Presa dogs. Many "bad" breeders will try and sell you Presa mix assuring you that is pureblooded. That is why you should always ask to see the parents of the puppies and all the papers from the cynological associations. Finding reputable Perro de Presa Canario breeders will ensure you get a puppy with the best genetic traits possible.
If you are thinking about getting this dog breed you shouldn't forget for what are Presa Canario dogs primarily bred – guarding livestock, hunting, and dogfighting. Because of that, you must socialize your dog from the puppy age because he could attack and chase other dogs and animals. In the wrong hands, they can become extremely dangerous and that is why it is not advised for the first time owner to purchase this dog breed. If you put in the work you will end up with the well-behaved dog who will be extremely loyal and attached to you.
World Dog Finder team