BaxterBoo Blog
March 30, 2014

Meet the Breed: Perro de Presa Canario

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  • Height: 22" - 26”
  • Weight: 85+ pounds for a female, 100+ for a male
  • Historical function: Farm guard, drive/hold cattle
  • Modern function: Companion guardian
  • AKC classification: Foundation Stock Service, Working Group

Physical Characteristics:

The Perro de Presa Canario, often shortened to Presa Canario or simply Presa, is a moderately large, powerfully constructed dog. The Presa is slightly longer (about 20%) than tall at the withers with a broad, deep chest. Females may be slightly longer. The breed has a sloping topline with the rear being slightly taller. The head is massive and squared. The ears are set just above the line of the eye and may be cropped, naturally pendent or rose. The skin is thick and elastic.  The tail is very thick at the base, and tapers to a point. The tail is moderately high and reaches to the hock. The overall impression is that of an imposing, solid guard dog. The coat is flat, harsh and comes in any shade of fawn, black, and brindle in any combination of these colors. The face must have a black or dark brown mask Minimal white markings may appear anywhere between the chest and the throat, or on the toes. 

History of the Breed:

The Perro de Presa Canario is also known as the Canary Dog. Following the conquest of the Canary Islands by Spain, it is theorized that dogs of great size may have existed or were brought there by the Spanish Conquistadors or possibly both. What is known was the function for which these dogs were developed: guarding farms, driving and holding cattle, as well as the extermination of wild or stray dogs. Eventually they were used for the sport of dog fighting. When dog fighting was outlawed in the 1940s, the breed nearly became extinct. There was an effort to restore the breed in the 1970s. 


The Perro de Presa Canario requires early socialization and obedience training. Due to their history of patrolling and exterminating stray dogs as well as dog fighting, the Presa can be aggressive toward other dogs unless raised with them. As guard dogs, they are suspicious of strangers. Because of their size and strength, this dog must be socialized and trained thoroughly and early. They require a strong a leader and the dog will need to know his place in the family. When properly socialized, this is a docile, loving dog towards his family. 

  • Best suited for: Anyone needing protection, a jogging/hiking buddy. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This is a surprisingly adaptable dog as long as daily exercise needs are met. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat requires simple brushing and rare bathing. Brindle types seem to shed less. Not a heavy drooler like other mastiff-type breeds.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk.
  • Life expectancy: -12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia.

Breed Club Links: United Perro De Presa Canario Club Perfect Pairings: Hurtta Padded Dog Y-Harness

Have any stories about a Perro de Presa Canario? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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