Presa Canario: Everything You Should Know About The Canary Mastiff

Presa Canario Feature

The Presa Canario is a large Spanish guard dog who can be described as: energetic, playful, robust and confident.

Standing at between 22 to 26 inches and weighing a large 80 to 110 pounds, this Molosser-type dog breed stands strong and powerful.

Due to their guard dog instincts, this breed suits experienced and time-rich owners only; someone who is able to train them efficiently.

Their fierce passion to please and work translates into outstanding loyalty for their owners.

What else is there to know about this Hispanic named breed? Keep on reading to find out about their history and temperament as well as their food, exercise and training needs…

Presa Canario – Breed Origin & Overview

Presa Dog Running

Given away by their Spanish name, the Presa Canario originated in Spain; the Canary Islands to be exact.

The Canary Islands is composed of volcanic isles, it is therefore no wonder that this beautiful dog has some fiery guard dog instincts!

It is not known if these guard dogs were found on the island, or brought to the islands by explorers. However, it is known that they were selectively bred into working and guardian companions.

Genetically, it is not fully understood where the Presa Canario’s attributes were inherited from or the breeds’ exact origin.

On theory is the Presa Canario was bred from two Spanish working breeds:

  • Perro Majorero
  • Spanish Bulldog

Kennel Club Recognition

The Presa Canario population began to decline in 1950 due to the introduction of other working dogs such as the German Shepherd.

It was only until 1982 when this breed began to increase in popularity once more.

Today, the Presa Canario is known as a strong, protective and dominant dog breed. Although beautiful, they receive plenty of backlash and have been blacklisted in places worldwide.

This breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club in the Foundation Stock Service classification.

Presa Canario Facts Table
Size 22 to 24 inches for females and 24 to 26 inches for males
Weight 80 to 110lb for females and 110 to 130lb for males
Lifespan 9 to 11 years
Breed Type Working Group
Purpose Guard Dogs
Suitable For Experienced owners only
Color Black, Fawn, Silver Fawn, Red Fawn, Brindle And Red Brindle
Temperament Confident, Loyal, Hard-Working, Strong-Willed and Intelligent
Other Names Canary Mastiff and Canary Dog

Presa Canario Puppies

Presa Canario Puppy
The price of this breed depends heavily on the quality of breeder. Recognizing a good breeder is essential when purchasing a Molosser-type dog.

Presa Canario puppies come with a high price tag of around $2000 USD.

As puppies, this breed can be a little stubborn and have a high prey drive. A dedicated owner with consistent training is a must for this breed.

The average litter size is between 7 to 9 puppies and they usually have a litter once a year.

Large puppies tend to have fast growth spurts into their mature size so don’t expect your puppy to stay small for too long.

Presa Canario Dog Temperament

Canary Dog
They are a very courageous, confident and protective breed.

This breed will have a stable temperament if they are well socialized and trained from an early age.

They are extremely friendly towards their families and loved ones but are wary of strangers; this trait makes them excellent guard dogs.

However, this breed is banned in several cities across the United States therefore socialization and friendly introductions are more than necessary.

The Presa Canario’s bark is deep, low and somewhat intimidating. However, they are a relatively calm breed and they do not often develop barking or howling behaviors.

First bred to help with the extinction of other animals such and predators, this breed has a high prey drive and is definitely alert when other animals are near.

However, their prey drive reduced if they are well socialized to new animals and pets as soon as possible.

Personality

Characteristic Rating
Friendliness
Confidence
Protectiveness
Prey Drive
Social Tendencies

The Presa Canario may be a large and hard-working breed, but they still have plenty of room for love and affectionate.

Known to have a high-drive for pleasing their loved ones, this dog makes a fantastically loyal and hardworking family pet.

This is a breed who is confident, calm and devoted. With their loved ones, they may be more affectionate and caring.

There is a negative stigma associated with the Presa Canario with reports of extreme aggression and dominance. However, this should not be held against their personality.

Every puppy is unique, and are raised in different environments, just be sure to get to know your breeder, the puppy’s parents, and train your puppy correctly.

The nature of your dog’s temperament depends on environmental as well as genetic factors.

Compatibility with Families

Although strong and protective, the Presa Canario has a soft and loving side; they can be playful, caring and gentle.

Their behavior towards children is dependent upon their upbringing and socialization, however, we would always advise keeping an eye on your dog and children.

However, where possible, this is a dog breed which is not suited for homes with other animals; this breed does have a strong pray drive.

This is not a breed first time dog-owners, because they are strong willed and intelligent they require a lot of time and effort.

Presa Canario Appearance

Presa Canario Portrait
A strong and well-proportioned breed, their body is longer than their height; this characteristic is more notable in females.

This dog is a Molosser-type breed, known for their proud appearance, large stature, wide chests and powerful limbs.

They have a large and compact head, with brown or black oval shaped eyes, and a strong and defined jaw and their muzzle is often shorter than their skull.

Their ears may be cropped or uncropped, and if uncropped their ears hang closely to their head and are shaped like rose petals.

Size

The Presa Canario is a part of the Molosser type dog breeds; molosser dog breeds were famous through the ancient world for their impressive size and stature.

A female weighs 80 to 110 lbs while a male weighs more at between 110 and 130lb.

A female Presa Canario stands at between 22 to 24″ where the male stands at a height of 24 to 26″.

Color

Brindle Presa Canario

The Presa Canario’s color variations are limited to a range of brindle and fawn coats:

  • Fawn
  • Silver Fawn
  • Red Fawn
  • Brindle
  • Red Brindle

Interestingly, there are some black coat variations of this breed, however this color is only accepted by the American Kennel Club and is considered a serious fault by the World Canine Organization.

Coat

The Presa Canario is a short coated breed which feels slightly coarse to the touch.

This is a dog breed which doesn’t have an undercoat; this is great news for those owners who dread excessive shedding and are looking for a low shedding dog.

White spots on the Presa Canarios coat are allowed, but they must be limited to a maximum coverage of 20%.

Additionally, the breed standard requires a black mask around their muzzle, but it should not extend above their eyes.

Grooming

Grooming this breed is very easy and not at all time consuming.

Due to their short coats, they should not shed excessively so we recommend brushing your dog just once a week.

This isn’t the most patient breed and therefore it is essential that you introduce them to brushing from an early age.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is recognized as the most effective method in the prevention of dental health issues.

However, this is a breed who probably won’t like you and a tooth brush going in and out of their mouth, so you can try dental chews or treats instead.

Presa Canario Dog Care Guide

Canary Mastiff
If well trained, then they have the potential to make fantastic companions.

A very head-strong, devoted and beautiful canine, caring for a breed so confident can be a little tricky at times. Because of this, we recommend this dog for experienced owners only.

Food and Dietary Requirements

Daily Food Consumption
Guide 2,500 to 3,000 calories
Cups of Kibble Five Bowl of Kibble Required per Day

A big dog means a big appetite, the Presa Canario requires between 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day (depending on their size).

This breed does well on either raw-based diet or a high quality dry kibbled diet.

If you decide to feed a dry food, we suggest a high quality kibbled-diet which is specifically formulated for large dog breeds.

This way you can be sure that your puppy is receiving a meal which is adequate in protein, fats and carbohydrates; as well as vitamins and minerals.

If you opt for a raw based diet, be sure to check with your local veterinarian that the raw diet is supplying your dog with all the daily essential nutrients.

The Presa Canario can be fed once to twice daily. However, as puppies, feedings should be three to four times per day.

Exercise Requirements

Daily Exercise Requirements
Minutes 30 to 45 minutes
Activity Level This is a medium activity dog breed

Exercise not only includes physical and health benefits; but it also mentally stimulates your canine.

Hard-working dogs thrive off exercise and accomplishments. Suprisingly, this breed doesn’t require excessive amounts of exercise so long as they are kept busy.

We recommend exercising your Presa Canario twice a day, to try and achieve between 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day.

A walk in the morning, and another in the evening should suffice.

Exercise doesn’t only need to be provided through leash walking. It can also be provided through play time, runs, and even doggy day care.

Training

This is a large Molosser breed, therefore training is essential as you definitely want a well-behaved and well-mannered dog.

Known to be strong willed and confident, this breed is a little stubborn during training sessions and therefore training must remain consistent.

Training your Presa Canario is not without its challenges. Remember, this is not because the breed lacks intelligence. In fact, this is a very intelligent breed – they’re just very head strong.

The best training methods involve positive reinforcement. Any negative or punishment based systems have been debunked.

Positive reinforcement involves: patience, consistence, praise and rewards (praise alongside toys and/or treats).

Mental stimulation is another essential part of training. This helps to keep your dog out of trouble and stops unwanted boredom behaviors from developing; especially true for hard-working and intelligent breeds!

Mental stimulation can be provided through:

  • Interactive games
  • Trick training
  • New experiences

Presa Canario Face

Health Problems

Due to their large size, the Presa Canario breed is susceptible to health issues which are seen in other large breeds.

This includes:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus

Hip dysplasia is a degenerative joint problem which occurs due to a malformation of the hip socket. When left undiagnosed, hip dysplasia may lead to lameness and severe arthritis.

Gastric Dilation Volvulus occurs when the stomach “twists” by becoming overstretched and filled with gas. This a severe, and life-threatening, form of bloat which requires immediate veterinary attention.

Summary

A dominant, strong-willed yet devoted dog breed.

The Presa Canario is not a dog breed for anyone, they require early socialization, continuous and consistent training and A LOT of food.

Surprisingly, this dog does not require excessive amounts of exercise and has limited grooming needs.

However, this dog breed does well with structure and can develop into a very loving, loyal and affectionate family canine.

A great companion for experience dog owners, this breed continues to grow in popularity.

Have you met a Presa Canario? Let us know below!

John Woods Autho Bio Picture
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

1 Comment

  1. I met a very handsome 10 month old named Blue. I think I’m in love! Now I simply pray that when I see him again as soon as the shelters door opens in the morning I will be there to greet my new pack member home with me. I know we will have an abundance of fun learning together living life to the fullest together considering our life expectancies lol. Love to my Blue coming home with ME.

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