The Perro de Presa Canario is the animal symbol of Gran Canaria for a reason. Their name can be translated to Canarian catch dog and shortened to multiple names such as Presa Canaria, Dogo Canario, canary dog, presa, or even ‘good boy’. They have a shining reputation as being loyal and obedient guard dogs as well as disciplined working dogs. Though this depends on their upbringing and training of course!
If you’re knee-deep in researching what the best dog is for you and you’ve found yourself looking at this breed numerous times, we have all of the information you may need on this large and majestic pup.
- Breed Group: Molosser/ Mastiff/ Working breed
- Height: 22-26 inches
- Weight: 73-130lb
- Life Expectancy: 9-11 years
- Litter Size: 7-9 Pups
A Short History of the Presa Canario
It is documented that the Presa Canario breed was initially brought back to the canary islands by the Spanish conquistadors to be used as working dogs during the 15th century. It is theorized that imported English mastiffs and Bardino Majeros were responsible for the Presa Canarios development through breeding. Although the Presa Canario also has genetic ties with the Iberian Presa also known as Perro de Ganado Majorero.
The Perro de Presa Canarios large build, muscular body, and deep bark made them the perfect breed to work cattle, guard farms, and repel wild dogs from attacking and killing livestock. Also, whereas the Canary Mastiff is talented at herding cattle and being an effective guard dog, their immensely tough-looking physique, unfortunately, meant that they would be used for dog fighting. For decades people used the Perro de Presa Canario for fighting until the 1940s when it was finally prohibited.
A Decline in Numbers
The amount of Presa Canario dogs that were bred eventually declined with the introduction of Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes as guard dogs. This meant that the Perro de Presa Canario dog breed wasn’t in high demand as it was not the only breed capable of protecting life stock.
However, due to an increasing interest in strong and confident dogs during the 1970s, canary dogs were once again being bred to regain their former glory and reputation. A breed club, formed on the Canary Islands in the 1980s, has been dedicated to the resurgence of the Canary Dogs numbers and since this, the Presa Canario has been recognized by the foundation stock service of the American Kennel Club since 1996.
With great power comes a lot of training. A Presa Canario can be a lot of responsibility, especially in their early years but given the right care, attention, and proper training they can be fearless and loyal. Having said this, due to its innate self-confident nature and intelligence, it is essential that you are an experienced dog owner when raising a Presa Canario. It will need good early socialization with people and other animals, especially other dogs, as a Presa Canario dog may also come with an alpha mentality which will mean it will want to assert dominance over others.
Presa Canarios have several features that make them distinguishable from other dogs. First, they are large dogs and stand broad due to their rectangular stature which is often accompanied by an attentive expression. After all, it’s in their nature to be on guard, carefully taking in their surroundings. They also have a recognizable sturdy, square head usually complete with cropped ears which set them apart from other breeds.
Cropped ears, although appearing intimidating, was actually a way of preventing Presa’s ears from harm when herding cattle or fighting away wild dogs. Recently, cropping ears is often done for aesthetic purposes to make Perro de Presa Canarios look more powerful or intimidating but it is not necessary.
Other Physical Features
Another distinguishable feature of the canary mastiff is the shape of their paws. Unlike other dogs, Presa Canarios have what’s known as ‘Cat Foot’ which means their paws are rounded and neat with arched toes. This paw shape is a trait that helps their agility and movement. A Perro de Presa Canario will also have a sloping topline in which their rear will be slightly higher than their shoulds. This gives the appearance of a sloping or curved back.
Gender Height and Weight
A male Dogo Canario may stand taller than a female at 24-26 inches and weigh at least 100lbs to 150lbs during maturity. Whereas, an adult female Dogo Canario will stand between 22-26 inches. A healthy female Presa Canario should weigh between 88-130lbs.
The Right Height and Weight
A lot of resources fixating on the optimum appearance of your Presa Canario will recommend a weight and size that will contribute to its intimidating aesthetic as opposed to focusing on the health of the breed. This can result in them suffering from painful conditions in the future, so you must make sure their diet and exercise are controlled to suit them.
Presa Canario colors come in a variety but usually, their muzzles appear darker and they often have white markings in areas. These shades include brown, orange, gold, fawn, and even silver. A prominent black coat is rare on Presa Canarios with some organizations recognizing them but this can conflict with other sites’ breed standards.
A Perro de Presa Canario may have different markings. They are known to have a fawn shade or even a brindle pattern which can vary from dog to dog. Their stripes may differ in thickness and the shade of the colors may be diverse. AKC’s Breed standard tells us that fawn and brindle are approved along with only a small percentage of white markings on Presas feet, chest, and maybe its muzzle.
Coat Notes – Are Presa Canarios hypoallergenic?
Despite this breed being renowned for its short coat and low shedding, it is still worth noting that this dog is not hypoallergenic and may still cause an allergic reaction if you are vulnerable to pet hair.
A Perro De Presa Canario is an intelligent and active breed and given the correct attention and training, they will grow to develop an unconditional and strong affection for their family but it won’t be easy. Presa Canarios are not recommended for first-time dog owners as they need a lot of dedication and patience when raising them.
Are Presa Canarios aggressive?
It’s understandable to be asking this question given their roles throughout history. Their innate dominating nature can take over if a Canary Dog isn’t given the time and commitment resulting in some aggression. In addition to this, a Presa Canario can also be territorial and particularly cautious of strangers, although you have a chance of minimizing this with early socialization.
Socializing A Perro De Presa Canario
It is 100% necessary to understand that this breed requires owners to socialize them regularly during their youth to prevent behavioral and territorial issues in their maturity.
Children and Perro de Presa Canarios
If introduced to young children early, a Presa Canario puppy will grow up protective and affectionate toward them. However, this will require you to monitor how they get along closely when Presa puppies get bigger. As they grow into their powerful adult frame, they may not know their own strength initially, leading to some minor playfight-related casualties.
Similar to children, your Presa Canario puppy will need to be socialized with other animals to reduce the risk of your puppy becoming dominant or distrustful of other pets. Due to this breed being used to fend away wild animals, it is in their nature to be leery, so the sooner you introduce them to other animals the better your pup will be when they mature. Taking your puppy to public places or even a puppy kindergarten can helpfully integrate them into social norms.
Presa Canario Behavior and Traits
The Presa Canario dog breed is known to be calm as they mature however they do retain a lot of energy due to their working nature. Their genetic working heritage also means that Presa Canarios are an intelligent breed known for curiosity and observance.
How do I entertain a Perro de Presa Canario?
A Presa will have a lot of energy and due to its athletic build, they will be able to take part in activities that will require more stamina. Hiking, running, and swimming are all things you can engage your Presa Canario in but that doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate retrieving balls for you again and again. You can also purchase flying discs to keep your dog entertained on outings and long walks.
Do Preso Canarios bark a lot?
Perro de Presa Canarios have a significantly deep and low bark but they generally are not a vocal breed. If your Presa grows to be territorial they may bark to warn off strangers and pull in your attention.
Are Perro de Presa Canarios affectionate?
To iterate, if your Presa Canario is raised and socialized well, they can be very loving, protective, and affectionate dogs, especially toward their family members. Also, they are far from joyless working machines, you will find that your Presa Canario will settle down with you to enjoy a scratch or even a cuddle. They are not the most affectionate breed to exist compared to other dogs however it is not uncommon for them to appreciate some downtime with their family.
Health, Care, and Grooming
This dog breed is one that is low-maintenance in terms of grooming in comparison to other dogs however there are a number of things to know when feeding and taking care of your Perro de Presa Canario. They have specific dietary requirements to ensure their health stays in good condition and they don’t develop illnesses.
Overall, Presa Canarios are healthy dogs but you should always make sure to feed them the appropriate food and portion size for their weight and age. A Perro de Presa Canario will need to rely on high-quality dog food in order to maintain a healthy weight and keep this mastiff-type active. Enrolling under a veterinarian’s supervision can help you to optimize their diet as they will know the most important ingredients that your Perro de Prasa Canario will need.
What should A Presa Canarios diet include?
This required high-quality diet can be of a homemade recipe or it can be a commercially manufactured food. It should contain a balanced level of carbohydrates and protein to support muscle development. As with other breeds, monitoring water intake and diet is appropriate through the life of a Canario. Perro de Presa Canarios maybe be prone to weight gain so you should always research how much you should include as their intake will change as they grow from a puppy to a senior.
How do you groom a Perro De Presa Canario?
Presa Canarios often appeal to dog owners because of their short coats. These dogs have smooth, short hairs which means that grooming doesn’t have to be as frequent as other dogs. Although, they will still need an occasional bath and brush to keep their coats clean and fresh. Also, it is important to know that they have fast-growing nails that will require a grinder or nail clipper to trim them down.
Despite having short hair, Presa Canarios will still shed fur from their coats. You may not need to groom them as often however it may still be worth giving their coat a brush and the house a vacuum to get rid of rogue hairs.
First-time dog owners are not recommended to own a Perro De Presa Canario as training can be very difficult. Experienced owners may also find it difficult but it’s important to stick to a firm regime, especially when obedience training. Having said that, their high intelligence will allow them to learn lessons quickly, and by spending a considerable amount of time training them they will form into protective family companions.
Is a Canary dog easy to train?
A Perro De Presa Canarios intelligence advantage will mean that training is more likely to sink and stay in but it is important that you start early. Structured and strict training will mean that their pack mentality and assertion will be reduced significantly. The only way to ensure a strong and balanced relationship with your Perro de Presa Canario is to achieve the pack leader status through thorough effective methods.
Potty Training a Presa
Like other breeds, a Presa Canario puppy can be potty trained quickly with time and effort. The earlier you start the better! It is recommended that you begin potty training when they are aged between 8-12 weeks using the standard resources you can find when potty training most puppies.
Exercising Your Presa Canario
As mentioned previously, a Perro De Presa Canario will be full of beans due to being a working and athletic breed, so exercise must be frequent and plentiful. A Presa is the perfect breed for long hikes and even swims as they have been known to love water. Daily exercise will burn energy and excess fat they may put on as they get older.
Taking these points into account you must consider the home where they will grow up. Due to the amount of exercise they need, and their size in general, they will need a big space to be raised in or at least have access to a large garden. A big dog breed may become destructive in their boredom and they may exhibit abnormal behavior if they are not comfortable with their living space.
Health Problems to Be Aware Of
Although the Presa Canario is reputable for being strong and powerful in physique, that doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable to genetic diseases and other health problems. Be aware that their short life expectancy may be a result of a genetic disease and that these can often damage their mobility and health significantly.
Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
This is the most common condition that the Presa Canario breed can develop due to their heavy build. Dysplasia will cause the joints to form improperly which can lead to arthritis therefore it is important to keep a close eye on their diet and exercise.
Some dog owners and breeders will attempt to speed up their puppy’s growth and doing so will not allow their cartilage to attach to their joints effectively which results in this condition. Presa puppies are known to grow quickly so added supplements and extra feedings are not necessary.
Like other breeds, Canarios can be affected by small parasitic creatures such as fleas, mites, worms, and ticks. They can affect your dog internally as well as externally and are often picked up through contaminated soil or by drinking unclean water. These parasites can cause a lot of problems and may even be life-threatening.
It is vital that you get your Perro de Presa Canario vaccinated as, like other breeds, they can be vulnerable to rabies or parvo. These infections are bacterial and can be more common in some areas than others. Talking to your vet will help you understand the benefits of vaccinating your dog from these harmful bacterial infections.
Canario breeds are more likely to struggle with dental disease as they can develop heavy tartar on their teeth. If left untreated, the tartar can affect the root of the tooth and spread into the gums resulting in tooth loss and even problems with their organs.
How To Find a Good Breeder
Finding Presa Canario puppies for sale can be a difficult task, however, if you are dedicated to raising this breed, then The American Kennel Club will be a reliable resource when finding reputable breeders. By seeking an experienced breeder you can ensure your dog will be up to breed standard and have the optimal genetic traits. A puppy obtained from an unknown or unreliable source may be at higher risk of diseases and predispositions.
A reputable breeder will also provide you with the honest information you need to make sure your Perro de Presa Canario will grow up in the best health. Responsible and experienced breeders will have healthy parents who breed healthy puppies and by working with them you can ensure you will provide the best care.
What is the average price for a Perro de Presa Canario?
This gladiator breed is expensive and a puppy will cost around $1500-$2000. This is how much a reputable breeder will charge. Be skeptical of any breeder who will offer you a lower price with limited information. Don’t forget to budget for the cost of raising your Perro de Presa Canario.
Adopt a Dog From a Rescue Center or Shelter
It is likely that you may find these beautiful dogs waiting for a home in rescue centers and shelters across the US. If you’re dedicated to rehoming and finding your new best friend through one of these sources check your local rescues. You can also use sites and specific breed rescues that will assist you in your search.
A Perro de Presa Canario is not an easy breed to raise and is not recommended to someone with little experience in dog training and ownership. However, if you have all of the necessary skills and resources at your disposal this breed will reward you with, loyalty, love, and protection.