Presa Canario Dog Breed Info

The Presa Canario is a Spanish dog that belongs to the Molosser group of dogs. It is a large breed that originates from the Canary Islands of Spain. In fact, it is the symbol of Gran Canaria. The full name of the breed is “Perro de Presa Canaria”. Which translates from Spanish as “Canarian catch dog”.


Brindle Presa Canario

But people are already used to calling it in its abbreviated form. The dog is also called Dogo Canario, which translates to “Canarian Molosser”, Canary Mastiff.  The main use of the dog was to be a working dog and was used mainly to help with cattle.

History & Origins

The Presa Canario is a molosser type of a dog that draws its origin from the now Spanish, Canary Islands. But the dog predates the time of conquest and according to certain research done by Agustín Millares Torres, these dogs were used in various forms by the locals. They were actually a part of their myths and there are remains of mummified remains of these dogs buried alongside their masters. The dogs were a part of local rituals, burial ceremonies and were also consumed as food, but only in small amounts.

After the time of the conquest in 1501, the dogs took a much more different path. People started using them as cattle dogs. They were great guardians dogs and their great strength was useful to protect the cattle from attacks of other dogs. But due to the fact that some dogs had a tendency to hurt the cattle, laws were issued that owners could kill dogs on sight.


Male Presa Canario

Dr. Carl Semencic is the first person who wrote about these dogs outside the Canary Islands. When the breed started to be exported to other places, it found a new home in America. The popularity grew of the article was written about them as they were described as a rare and exotic breed.

Presa Canario Characteristics & Temperament

The Presa Canario is often described as calm and gentle. But they can also be dominant, strong-willed and suspicious. Because of these characteristics that they possess, you might have difficulty training them. Early socialization is always crucial, but you also have to have patience and experience in training these dogs. Because of their nature, they can be overly aggressive. This is especially with strangers and other animals and strangers. As they are initially guard dogs, they will protect the property that they own. Also, you probably should not keep kids closer to this breed at least until you train it properly.

These dogs can be trained to stay indoors but will become inactive that way. They are best suited with a middle-sized yard where they can run and walk around. But they are also quite fine with a daily walk. Walking them is the best exercise they need and they also enjoy it very much.

Appearance, Colors, Size

Presa Canario is a large, muscular kind of a dog. It has a coarse appearance and seems very strong. Its head is broad, square and massive, which is also the main characteristic and the standard for these dogs. The ears of the dog are usually cropped. This also helps with the appearance but has better use when the dog is involved in cattle work. The upper lip of the dog is pendulous while the lover is kind of a hanging down. Viewing the dog from the front, you will notice that the mouth forms an inverted V shape. The inside of the lips usually has a dark color.

The standard size of Presa Canario dogs is 23 to 26 inches in height and 100 to 160 in weight. Females are a bit smaller and lighter and go from 22 to 25 inches in height and weigh from 85 to 150 pounds.


Black Presa Canario

They have a short coarse coat and no undercoat beneath. The standardize colors include all shades of fawn and brindle. Black coats are not allowed by some Kennel clubs but it is generally tolerated. White, on the other hand, is accepted only in 20% of the time.

Presa Canario Health

The average lifespan of the Presa Canario is estimated to be between 8 to 12 years. As a big breed of dog, this is quite natural. But they also share some conditions and diseases that bigger breeds can suffer from. So owners should watch out for hip dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy- heart problems and mast-cell tumors – cancer patellar luxation and patellar avulsion, epilepsy,  skin cysts,  Canine leishmaniasis, osteochondrodysplasias, and demodectic mange.


8 Weeks Old Presa Canario Puppy

Grooming & Shedding

What characterizes the Presa Canario breed is its low level of shedding. They have short coats and do not shed so much, making them low maintenance pets. There is to striping and no trimming needed for them and they will work fine with just a daily brush. In order to keep their coat soft and fresh, you can provide them with an occasional brush. A few times a week is quite enough. As far as giving it a bath, they do not enjoy it so much and a few times a year is okay. Doing it more than that will only cause problems for the dog.

Presa Canario Price and Breeders

The Presa Canario is a large dog and the price for getting one is not small. The average price of these dogs ranges from $1200 – $3000 USD. But the breed has found a home outside Spain as well. There are other quality breeders found in various places that provide a good offer. But if you want the best possible one, look for it in Spain.


Presa Canario Puppies


What many people are turning to is rescuing dogs, and you can do the same with a Presa Canario one. There are various ways to get a dog that you require but this one will help a dog in need and provide you with a cheap way of finding one. Organizations such as Presa Pride Rescue and Rehab and Presa Canario, Big Dogs Huge Paws, Inc are the perfect way for you to start.

Is a Presa Canario a good family dog?

A Presa Canario is a great family dog. Since they are intelligent and gentle animals, they often look towards their families with great affection. They are very loyal and devoted and will not hesitate to protect them. However, if the Presa Canario senses that some of its family members are in danger they might feel obliged to attack the perpetrator. Thus proper training is needed from an early age.

Is Presa Canario dangerous?

A properly trained Presa Canario is not dangerous. However, they do have a reputation for being aggressive at times. Some of them have a reputation for being fight dogs and do have an aggressive streak. But they are very loyal and are great guard dogs. They protect their families and will do their utmost to keep them safe. Unfortunately, there also lies the potential for their aggression but only towards strangers.

Is Presa Canario a pit bull?

People often confuse this breed with Pit Bulls. However, a Presa Canario is a mastiff type of breed originating from the Canary Islands. The American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier were once considered to be the same breed but it was revealed that they come from completely different bloodlines.

Where are Presa Canarios banned?

Due to their dogfighting background and their reputation of being overly aggressive, Presa Canarios are not allowed in all countries. Numerous attacks in regards to Presa Canario dogs have been seen and there is evidence that says that people were severely injured and even killed. It resulted in the Presa Canario breed becoming completely banned and forbidden in Australia and New Zealand.

What is the bite force of a Presa Canario?

The Presa Canario is a very large dog and is known for its aggression. Actually, it is a very ancient breed and was used as a war dog back on the Canary Islands where it originates from. What many don’t know is that this dog has a really strong bite. Its bite force is measured at 550 psi, making it one of the top 10 dogs in the world with the strongest bite force.

Do Presa Canario drool?

Contrary to many beliefs, this dog breed does not drool so much. It is a mastiff type of dog, which have a reputation of drooling too much, the Presa Canario does not have this trait. Some drooling is inevitable after eating or drinking water, but it is not as apparent as with other Mastiff types of dogs.

What do Presa Canarios eat?

They’re big dogs, so they should be fed properly. In order to ensure that they have the proper nutrition for development, you can feed them premium-quality dog food. This could be mixed with canned food, water, or broth. A Presa Canario may also have a taste for fruits and vegetables. One can also feed them cooked eggs cottage cheese, but these should not be included more than 10% of their daily food intake.

How often do Presa Canarios go into heat?

A healthy female Presa Canario will usually go into heat on a 6-month cycle. However, sometimes it can go as far as 10 months apart. The female is usually in the heat for a period of 3 weeks.

Do Presa Canarios have webbed feet?

A Presa Canario does not have webbed feet. They are a Mastiff breed and are not related to water dogs. So it is impossible for them to have those types of characteristics.

Is a Presa Canario a good guard dog?

A Presa Canario makes for a great guard dog. They are very loyal and form an attachment to the family members that mean to them. This also makes them great guard dogs. They will protect the family and their property as hard as they can. They are not very fond of strangers and are not going to let anybody touch the house nor any family members at the same time.