AKC Dog Breeds: Perro de Presa Canario

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: 22-26 inches   Weight: 85-130 pounds  Color: all shades of fawn and brindle

The Perro de Presa Canario is also known as the Canary Dog. Presa in Spanish means catch, hold or press. Perro de Presa Canario is a dog whose jaw is as powerful as pinchers. This dog has an ingrained willingness to fight by dashing into battle with electrifying speed and catching and holding the ears, throat until the opponent is maimed and killed. This is a Molosser type of dog that originated from the Canary Islands of Spain. Many people may not be aware of the fact that the name of the island was not taken for the little yellow singing birds. The island in fact means "island of the dogs", cane being the Latin word for dog. It was believed that Perro de Presa Canario has been in existence as far back as 50 BC. The breed has acquired negative publicity after being linked to two fatalities: In 2001, 32 year-old Diane Whipple of San Francisco, California was killed by two dogs identified as Presa Canario/Mastiff-crosses and, in 2006, Shawna Willey, a 30 year-old Florida woman, was killed by a dog identified as a Presa Canario, The Perro de Presa Canario has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 1996.

General Appearance
The Presa Canario is a dog with a massive head and a balanced well muscled body. Along with its impressive appearance is the dog's very strong character. Perro de Presa Canario are large mastiff type of dogs. They have a large and massive head that appears to be square shaped a broad muzzle and a black pigmented nose. The fleshy lips forms an inverted V. A Presa's medium sized eyes are wide set and oval in shape. Eyelids are tight and dark pigmented. Eye color depends on the coat color but usually range from light to dark chestnut. These eyes are noted for the dog's intense stare. The medium sized set on high ears are well separated. Uncropped ears covered with short hair hangs on the side of the head. Cropped ears are pricked. A Perro de Presa Canario has a rectangular body with a straight backline. The dog's rump is slightly raised creating a saddle effect. The chest is deep, ribcage is arched and the stomach is drawn upwards giving the dog a robust and well proportioned appearance. The tail is high set, thick at the base and tapers to a point. The tail is carried saber-like when the dog is on the move, at rest the tail hangs down with a curl at the tip. The dog has a thick and elastic skin that is covered by short fur. The medium length rustic hair ranges from light brown to dark grey, all shade of fawn, red and blond. White is commonly found on the muzzle, chest and feet. The dog has a black mask that does not extend beyond the level of the eyes.


The Presa Canario temperament is known as the island temperament - gentle, affectionate and noble with the family but wary and distrustful of strangers. The Presa forms a strong bond with the human family. This dog is affectionate and loyal. They are devoted to the family and known to be very protective of the children. A Presa would seem to be indifferent, quietly observing. This dog is noted for its intense gaze. Any sign of danger to the family will make this dog pounce. This dog however is not recommended for families with babies.  A well trained Presa will be a devoted pet, one that will adapt to any kind of environment. Due to its temperament, the Presa Canario can be a challenge to train. They require a firm owner who is willing and able to meet the challenges a young, dominant puppy may pose. A well socialized dog make excellent home companions as it will tolerate other pets. Presa are known to live comfortably with other dogs, cats, horses and other animals.

If you own a Perro de Presa Canario grooming your pet will be no trouble at all. The short coat needs to be brushed once or twice a week with a firm bristle brush. Wipe the coat with chamois cloth or towel and you will have a dog with a gleaming hair. Shampooing and bathing are on a necessity basis only. This dog is an average shedder

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

As a large breed, the Presa Canario can be susceptible to hip dysplasia. Other reported health problems include patellar luxation and patellar evulsions, skin cysts, epilepsy, osteochondrodysplasias, demodectic mange and cryptorchidism. The average lifespan for the Presa Canario is 8-12 years.

Activity Level

Perro de Presa Canario are working dog and they would naturally need vigorous exercise. This breed needs to be taken on a daily, long walk. Do not allow this dog to walk out in front of the handler while out on a walk. Pack leader goes first and the Presa must understand that all humans are above him in the pecking order. The Presa will thrive if given a job to do.


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