Everything You Need to Know About the Perro de Presa Canario Dog Breed

The Perro de Presa Canario, or simply Presa Canario, is a powerful and imposing dog breed that originated in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. With its muscular build and distinctive look, this breed commands attention and respect. In this article, we will discuss all the essential aspects of this fascinating breed, from its history and appearance to its temperament, health, and more. Let’s dive in!

History and Origin of the Perro de Presa Canario

The Perro de Presa Canario is a fascinating breed that has a rich history closely linked to the Canary Islands. The breed has been developed over centuries, and its exact origins are uncertain. However, it is believed that the breed descended from a variety of Mastiff-type breeds brought to the islands by Spanish conquerors and settlers. The breed was primarily used for guarding and hunting, as well as fighting in the past.

The Canary Islands: Birthplace of the Breed

The Canary Islands are a group of volcanic islands located off the northwest coast of Africa. The islands have a unique history, having been inhabited by the Guanches, an indigenous people, before being colonized by the Spanish in the 15th century. The islands’ rugged terrain and harsh climate contributed to the development of the Presa Canario, which had to be hardy, adaptable, and fierce.

The Perro de Presa Canario played a crucial role in the history of the Canary Islands. The breed was used for a variety of purposes, including hunting wild game and guarding livestock. The breed’s strength and tenacity made it an ideal hunting companion, while its instincts as a livestock guardian made it an invaluable asset to farmers and ranchers.

The Role of the Perro de Presa Canario in History

Unfortunately, the breed was also used for dogfighting, a gruesome practice that is now illegal across most of the world. Despite this dark chapter in the breed’s history, the Perro de Presa Canario remains a beloved and respected breed among dog enthusiasts.

Reviving the Breed in the 20th Century

By the early 20th century, the Presa Canario breed was on the verge of extinction due to disease and other factors. However, a group of enthusiasts worked tirelessly to revive the breed, and in 1982, it was officially recognized by the Spanish government. Since then, the breed has gained popularity in many countries around the world, including the United States.

Today, the Perro de Presa Canario is a loyal and devoted companion that is known for its intelligence, courage, and protective nature. The breed is still used for hunting and guarding, but it is also a popular choice for families looking for a loving and loyal pet. With its fascinating history and impressive attributes, it’s no wonder that the Perro de Presa Canario has become such a beloved breed among dog lovers everywhere.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The Presa Canario is a large and imposing breed, with a muscular and heavily-boned body. It has a broad head with powerful jaws, giving it a distinctive and intimidating look. The breed’s physical characteristics and appearance are a testament to its working heritage and unique history.

Size and Build

Adult male Presa Canarios can weigh up to 130 pounds and stand up to 26 inches tall at the shoulder. Females are slightly smaller but still impressive at up to 110 pounds and 24 inches tall. This breed is robust and well-muscled, with a broad chest and sturdy build that reflects its working heritage. The Presa Canario’s size and build make it a formidable presence, capable of taking on any challenge.

Coat and Colors

The Presa Canario’s short, dense coat comes in a range of colors, including fawn, brindle, black, and brown. The breed’s coat is easy to maintain and does not require intense grooming. However, this breed does shed, so regular brushing is recommended. The Presa Canario’s coat and colors are a reflection of its rugged and hardy nature, perfectly suited to its working heritage.

Distinctive Facial Features

One of the most notable features of the Presa Canario is its strong, square-shaped head. Its muzzle should be broad and powerful, with a moderate stop between the forehead and nose. The breed’s ears are often cropped, although this practice is controversial and illegal in some countries. The Presa Canario’s distinctive facial features are a testament to its unique history and working heritage.

The Presa Canario is a breed that has a rich and fascinating history. Originally bred for working purposes, the breed was used for guarding livestock and property. Its imposing size and strength made it the perfect working dog, capable of taking on any challenge. Today, the breed is still used for working purposes in some parts of the world, but it has also become a beloved family pet.

Despite its intimidating appearance, the Presa Canario is a loyal and affectionate breed that forms strong bonds with its family. It is a breed that requires early socialization and training to ensure that it develops into a well-behaved and obedient companion. With proper training and socialization, the Presa Canario can make an excellent family pet.

In conclusion, the Presa Canario is a breed that is both physically impressive and historically significant. Its size, strength, and distinctive appearance make it a breed that commands attention, while its working heritage and loyal nature make it a beloved family pet. Whether used for working purposes or as a family companion, the Presa Canario is a breed that has earned its place in history and in the hearts of dog lovers around the world.

Temperament and Personality Traits

The Presa Canario has a complex personality that is shaped by its history and breeding. Although it can be a loyal and affectionate companion, it is not a breed for everyone. Here are some key traits of the breed’s temperament:

Loyalty and Protective Instincts

The Presa Canario has a strong sense of loyalty to its family and can be fiercely protective of its home and loved ones. This breed was historically used for guarding livestock and property, and those instincts still run deep. As a result, the Presa Canario requires early socialization and training to learn how to interact appropriately with other people and animals.

Intelligence and Trainability

Like many working breeds, the Presa Canario is intelligent and trainable. However, it also has a strong will and can be stubborn at times. It is important to build a foundation of trust and respect with this breed, using positive reinforcement and consistency to reinforce the behaviors you want.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

The Presa Canario can be dog-aggressive, especially with dogs of the same sex. Therefore, it is crucial to socialize this breed early and often, exposing it to a variety of people, animals, and situations. The Presa Canario is not a breed for everyone, and potential owners should consider their lifestyle and ability to provide sufficient socialization and training.

Health and Lifespan

Like all breeds, the Presa Canario is prone to certain health issues. Here are some common conditions to be aware of:

Common Health Issues

The Presa Canario is at risk for a number of genetic diseases, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Because this breed is prone to obesity, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen to prevent weight-related issues.

Life Expectancy

The average lifespan of a Presa Canario is around 9 to 11 years, although with proper care and attention, some dogs can live longer. Regular veterinary checkups, a healthy diet, and appropriate exercise can all contribute to a longer, healthier life for your Presa Canario.

Tips for Maintaining Good Health

To keep your Presa Canario healthy and happy, it is important to provide regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary checkups. Additionally, monitoring your dog’s weight and keeping up with regular vaccinations and parasite prevention can help prevent health issues in the future. As with any breed, early detection and treatment of health issues can make all the difference in the longevity and quality of life of your Presa Canario.


The Presa Canario is a breed with a rich history and a distinctive appearance and temperament. While it is not a breed for everyone, those who are drawn to the Presa Canario’s loyal and protective nature may find it to be a deeply rewarding companion. With thoughtful training and socialization, a healthy lifestyle, and regular veterinary care, the Presa Canario can thrive and live a long, happy life.

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