Canario Presa: Dog Breed Characteristics and Care

Standing side profile of a Perro de Presa Canario dog

The Perro de Presa Canario is a sturdy breed native to Spain's Canary Islands. The breed's name is Spanish in origin and is frequently abbreviated to Presa Canario. The Presa Canario is gentle, faithful, and obedient to its family when properly taught and socialized; yet, they are that are cautious of outsiders and will occasionally act violently toward people or animals they do not know.

The Presa Canario is a strong-willed breed with its broad and muscular rectangular body, alert look, and black mask. Cropped ears are common on its large, brachycephalic head, which enhance to its intimidating appearance while also preventing injury while dealing with cattle.

Breed Overview


HEIGHT: 22 to 26 inches

WEIGHT: 84 to 110 pounds

COAT: Short and coarse

COAT COLOR: Seen in brown/black, fawn, or brindle; occasionally with white markings

LIFE SPAN: 9 to 11 years

TEMPERAMENT: Calm, gentle, stubborn, alert, bold, stubborn



Characteristics of the Presa Canario

The Presa Canario, while sluggish to warm up at first, has a kind and pleasant nature, especially around people they trust. They are a confident breed with a strong presence and a steady keel. The Presa Canario has a sturdy and watchful attitude, as well as a calm and confident demeanor.

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding

History of the Presa Canario

Traditionally employed to herd cattle, the Presa Canario's frightening demeanor and hyper-awareness make it an excellent guard dog. The breed, sometimes known as the "Canary Dog of Prey," is said to have originated after the conquest of the Canary Islands in the 15th and 16th centuries, when bigger dogs were used to defend farms, work livestock, and even exterminate wild or stray canines.

The Presa Canario's origins may be traced back to the cattle breed Iberian Presa (Perro de Ganado Majorero), an intelligent guard dog of average size. Several other breeds, including the Presa Espanol and the Bardino Majorero, from the island of Fuerteventura, may have influenced the development of the Presa Canario.

The Presa Canario became noted for its intellect, fearlessness, and physical resilience, as well as its ability to radiate natural guardian instincts without the need for excessive barking, as these island dogs developed into distinct breeds throughout time. These canines were frequently bred for dogfighting, which is unsurprising.

Dog fighting was banned on the islands during the 1940s, but fights were reported to continue for the next decade, and it was during this time that the Presa Canario's numbers began to decline due to the introduction of new fighting breeds such as the Doberman Pinscher, and German Shepherd. It nearly wiped off the Presa Canario, which was consigned to farmers and herders as their primary guard dog in limited numbers.

Fortunately, respectable breeders created Presa Canarios that were both big and fearless, as well as functional, with keen watchdog instincts, a headstrong, daring temperament, and a very territorial attitude throughout the 1970s. The Presa Canario's full revival began in 1982, when a group of breeders on the island of Tenerife founded an organisation to encourage the breed's resurgence. The breed is now considered the animal icon of Gran Canaria. Since 1996, it has been documented in the Foundation Stock Service.

The Presa Canario has been prohibited in various nations due to its territorial tendencies. The breed is legal in the United States, but the American Kennel Club does not recognize it. They are, however, approved by the AKC Foundation Stock Service, which keeps the dogs' records safe and allows them to compete in AKC companion competitions.

Presa Canario Care

While this breed is protective and dedicated to its family, it is best suited to experienced, active owners who can properly socialize their Presa Canario and give adequate outside activities. Because of its heritage as a guard dog, the breed is strong-willed, powerful, clever, and distrustful of strangers—and hence may require more early socialization and training to securely interact with people, especially in a home with children or other pets.


This high-energy breed will require regular activity, such as outdoor playing or many daily walks. Because they're eager to please their owner and extremely trainable, they may also learn indoor activities like hide-and-seek or new tricks. Because of its strong, muscular body and athletic ability, the Presa Canario can participate in high-intensity such as swimming, trekking, and retrieving balls or flying discs.


The Perro de Presa Canario will need to be bathed every now and again to keep its short coat clean, but its shedding may necessitate frequent cleaning and brushing. This breed has strong, fast-growing nails that will need to be cut using a nail clipper or grinder on a regular basis. The dog's small ears should be examined routinely, and his teeth should be cleaned on a regular basis.


Only with adequate training from experienced owners can these dogs be calm, loving, and obedient. They have a strong inherent instinct to fight anything that threatens them. For the Presa Canario breed, intensive socialization and obedience training as puppies and beyond is critical, and they will react best to fair, consistent teaching and clear limitations.

Common Health Problems

Overall, the majority of Perro de Presa Canarios are healthy dogs. Due to their larger size, the Presa Canarios can be susceptible to:

  • (abnormalities in the joints which can cause lameness)
  • Heart and eye problems
  • Epilepsy (a neurological disorder that causes seizures)
  • Canine Leishmaniasis (a disease caused by Leishmania parasites that are transmitted from the bite of an infected phlebotomine sandfly)

Diet and Nutrition

Whether their food is commercially produced or made at home, the Presa Canario will thrive on any high-quality diet (with guidance from a veterinarian). As a bigger, more active breed, they may require more water and prefer higher-protein diet than the usual dog.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Perro de Presa Canario

Despite the fact that the Presa Canario is not qualified for registration with the American Kennel Club, a respectable breeder may be found. Breeders can get references from the United Perro de Presa Canario Club, and the easiest method to discover a Presa Canario rescue is to go online.

Perro de Presa Canarios Overview

  • Highly intelligent

  • Easy to train

  • Loves to play outdoors and perform tricks

  • Needs a lot of exercise

  • May not be suitable for families with young children due to its attack instincts

  • Needs intensive socialization and obedience training

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

When determining if the Presa Canario is the right dog for you, be sure to research all aspects of the breed and consult other Presa Canario owners, breeders, and rescue groups to learn more.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • How much does a Presa Canario cost?

    Presa Canario puppies can cost from $2000 to $3500.

  • At what age is a Presa Canario full-grown?

    By the time they're about 2 years old, Presa Canarios are full-grown dogs.

  • What does Presa Canario mean?

    Presa Canario means "Canary catching dog," for its history of working with livestock on the Canary Islands.

  • What were Presa Canario used for?

    Presa Canario were traditionally used as herding dogs.