Perro de Presa Canario | Breed Information, Pictures & Facts

Perro de Presa Canario lying on the ground

Presa Canarios are known as brave and obedient creatures. These qualities make them perfect for guard dog roles.

While this is true, there’s more to know about Perro de Presa Canarios than just their effective guarding skills. In fact, Presa Canarios are arguably one of the most interesting breeds out there.

Besides their handsome build, what kind of pets are Perro de Presa Canarios? What is the best way to take care of them? If you’re interested in learning all about these, keep reading, as we have all the answers here!

Breed Overview

Group:Working Group
Height:28 – 33 inches
Weight:80 – 130 pounds
Life Expectancy:9 – 11 years
Coat Colors:Black, brindle, red brindle, fawn, silver fawn, red fawn
Temperament:Territorial, protective, calm, loyal, headstrong
Suitable for:People with an active lifestyle; being a guard dog

What Is a Perro de Presa Canario?

Perro de Presa Canario getting some sun

Perro de Presa Canarios, popularly known as Presa Canarios, are big guard dogs with large heads. These dogs are characterized by their calm yet intimidating posture. Their telltale features are their black snouts, cropped ears, broad chest, and piercing gaze.

Presa Canarios are sizeable dogs. In fact, they rank high on the list of the biggest dog breeds. Surprisingly, despite their size, these dogs are pretty active. They love playing and goofing around as much as smaller breeds.

As you would expect, Presa Canarios have a reputation for being aggressive and dangerous dogs. However, they can also be loyal, loving, and docile animals with proper training and care.

Presa Canario Breed Origin and History

Presa Canarios originated in Spain. Its population was spread out across the islands of Gran Canaria, also known as the Canary Islands. Before they were called Presa Canarios, these dogs went as “Dogo Canarios.”

It was only in December 2018 that breeders and pet enthusiasts popularized the name Presa Canario. This renaming of the breed tied the Perro de Presa Canario with its Spanish roots even better.

In English, Presa Canario translates to ‘Canary Prey Dog.’ Because of this, the breed is sometimes also called the Canary Dog.

In terms of breed origin, Presa Canarios were derived from an ancient breed known as the Iberian Presa. However, the modern-day Presa Canario is actually a mix of several other dogs of Molossoid and Hispanic descent.

Presa Canarios were originally used as guard dogs for homes, herding dogs for cattle and sheep livestock, and as exterminators for stray dogs. They were also used for dogfighting back when it was still legal.

Needless to say, the original purpose of breeding Presa Canarios is to create a working dog breed.

Nowadays, the Perro de Presa Canario still carries most of its original qualities. The only difference is that they serve mainly as companion and protection dogs these days.

Presa Canario Appearance

Perro de Presa Canario standing on snow

The appearance of Presa Canarios is the result of years and years of cross-breeding with Molossoid breed dogs. Presa Canarios sport a robust, confident posture and sizeable stature like other dogs of this type.

If raised in a sound environment, Presa Canarios will grow into a big, healthy dog with a muscular body, massive head, and thick neck and limbs.

Some of the telltale features of the Perro de Presa Canario include black markings on the face, a large, square head, a long tail, and large dewlaps.

Cropped ears are also pretty standard in Presa Canarios. In the past, ear cropping was done to these dogs to prevent accidents whenever they worked as herding dogs.

In terms of coat color, the Presa Canario comes in a handful of variants. Some of the most common ones are black, fawn, brindle, and red brindle. These dogs have short coats that have a slightly coarse texture.

Overall, Presa Canarios have a proud posture and an attentive expression. This gives the breed an impression of being reliable, self-confident, and attentive guard dogs.

Presa Canario Size and Weight

Fully-grown Presa Canarios are roughly the same sizes as most large dog breeds.

These dogs have a wither height of 22 to 26 inches and a standing height of 28 to 33 inches. In terms of weight, they range between 80 and 130 pounds.

As you would expect, gender plays a role in the size of the Presa Canario. This is more pronounced during their puppy years.

If the size of a dog is a big deal to you, knowing these differences may nudge you to get either the male or the female Presa Canario.

Typically, a female Presa Canario weighs 30 to 37 pounds at three months old. At six months, this pooch weighs around 55 to 69 pounds. At around one year, this dog usually weighs 79 to 102 pounds.

Meanwhile, a male Presa Canario can weigh up to 38 to 43 pounds at three months old and 69 to 77 pounds at six months old. In its first year, it should weigh around 102 to 118 pounds.

As you can see, Presa Canarios are already pretty big at an early age. In fact, at six months old, the Presa can weigh as much as a full-grown German Shepherd!

Aside from being a massive dog, the Perro de Presa Canario also has a powerful jaw. Interestingly, this dog has a bite force of around 541 psi. This breed easily stomps American Bullies and Rottweilers in terms of bite force.

If you want to get a sense of how massive the Perro de Presa Canario is, watch this training video:


Presa Canario Kennel Club Recognition

Perro de Presa Canario front profile

Presa Canarios are recognized by some kennel clubs but not by others. One of the major kennel clubs that recognize the Perro de Presa Canario is the United Kennel Club (UKC). This kennel club places Presa Canario on the list of Guardian Dog Group.

That said, there are certain instances when a Presa Canario may be subjected to disqualification. Here are some faults listed in UKC’s breed standard:

  • Viciousness or excessive shyness
  • Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid
  • Blue, gray, or yellow eyes and/or non-matching eyes
  • An overshot bite
  • A croup that sits lower than its withers
  • Absence of dark mask or snout marking
  • A docked tail
  • Albinism, or white fur covering more than 20% of its body.

These faults are also cited in other kennel clubs recognizing the Perra de Presa Canario. These clubs include the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and the Presa Canario Club of America (PCCA).

In addition to these kennel clubs, some organizations also acknowledge the Canario Perro de Presa breed.

These organizations are America’s Pet Registry, Dog Registry of America Inc., American Canine Association, Inc., and the North American Purebred Registry, Inc.

Unfortunately, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is not on this list. In AKC’s books, Presa Canarios are only classified under the Foundation Stock Service group and do not have a breed standard of their own.

Presa Canario Temperament and Personality

Undeniably, the Perro de Presa Canario dog breed is pretty intimidating. However, you’d be surprised to know that such a daunting dog can actually be a docile family member.

In general, Presa Canarios are gentle giants. While it’s true that they look seemingly predaceous and strong-willed, you have to remember that it is common to large breeds.

In fact, we also see these traits in other dogs, such as the Cane Corso and Rottweiler. This is also the case for most Mastiff dog breeds and Pitbull breeds.

That said, there are a few things to watch out for if you wish to bring a Presa Canario into your home.

Firstly, Presa Canarios love chasing small dogs and fast-moving objects. This is their way of asserting dominance and control.

So if you have smaller pets in your household, it is best not to leave them alone with your Presa. The same goes for the young children in your home.

Aside from that, same-sex aggression is also pretty common with this breed. One way to get around these behavioral problems is through early socialization.

Introducing your dog to different people and pets during its puppy years will do wonders for its behavior.

Fortunately, the Presa Canario is a trainable dog. These dogs love to work and spend their energy. Like most dog breeds, they are also big people-pleasers.

Overall, Presa Canarios can be obedient, alert, and people-friendly dogs. However, it will take a lot of patience and training before they become well-behaved family members.

If you are an experienced dog owner, owning this dog may be a walk in the park for you. On the other hand, if you are relatively new to pets, the Perro de Presa Canario might not be the best choice.

Presa Canario Lifespan and Health Issues

Perro de Presa Canario among the flowers

In terms of lifespan, Perro de Presa Canarios can live from 9 to 11 years. Overall, Canarios are pretty healthy dogs. However, like any pet, they are susceptible to several health issues.

Some usual health issues of the Presa Canario include bacterial and viral infections, dental diseases, parasite infestation, and obesity. Aside from these, Presa Canarios can also be at risk of genetic diseases.

Here are the common health conditions of the Perro de Presa Canario:

  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): A dog diagnosed with DCM has an abnormally sized, thin heart. This condition leads to the weakening of the heart muscles until it is too weak to pump blood. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent and treat dilated cardiomyopathy in Presa Canarios.
  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Hip and elbow dysplasia is a common health issue in Presa Canarios. This disease is characterized by the misalignment of hip and elbow joints. As this is an inherited disease, it may help to check the hip and elbow health of your dogs’ parents.
  • Epilepsy: Some Presa Canarios are born with epilepsy. Unfortunately, this health issue will remain undetected until signs show between one and five years of age. Some symptoms to watch out for are reactive seizures and secondary seizures.

The above-mentioned health problems are only the most common ones for Presa Canario. Sadly, this is not a complete list of all the health issues they might encounter.

Remember, there is no clear-cut way to tell whether your dog will have health problems. The best way to ensure that your dog is in tip-top condition is to seek a veterinarian’s supervision every once in a while.

Likewise, ensuring your dog gets the proper nutrition and exercise is also imperative for its health. Later in this guide, you’ll learn more about how to take care of your Presa Canario.

How to Take Care of Your Perro de Presa Canario

Presa Canarios require a type of care suited to their needs and wants. These dogs are generally low-maintenance in terms of diet, nutrition, and grooming. However, their exercise needs require quite a bit of work.

Let’s dive deeper into how you should take care of your Presa Canario.

Food and Diet

When choosing food for your Presa Canario, keep in mind that your pet is active, high-energy, and massive. A healthy diet is imperative in ensuring that your dog stays healthy and fit.

Many believe that the best diet for Presa Canario consists of raw meat. Don’t worry; these dogs can digest raw meat with no problem! Just make sure you source your meat from a reputable shop.

Raw meat can significantly reduce the risks of kidney problems, liver problems, cancer, and other chronic diseases in your dog.

You can also add raw eggs, tuna, coconut oil, and food-grade diatomaceous earth.

However, high-quality dog food is the way to go for those who prefer commercially manufactured food for their pets. Just make sure to pick the right kind of dry food for your dog’s age and activity level.

Take note that not all dogs are the same, even if they share the same breed. Hence, doing some trial-and-error in feeding your Presa Canarios might be necessary.

Cleaning and Grooming

Presa Canarios are low-maintenance dogs, so they are suitable for busy dog owners. Usually, this dog doesn’t need to be brushed every day.

That said, grooming is something that you should introduce to your Perro de Presa Canario early on. Doing so will help you raise a well-behaved adult dog that is not stubborn to groom.

Fortunately, Presa Canarios have short, firm fur that sheds minimally. In fact, brushing its hair two times per week is enough to keep it looking neat. However, you may need to brush your dog more often during the spring and fall seasons. 

As for bathing, the Presa Canario should have an occasional bath, preferably only when needed (i.e., when they start to smell or become dirty). This is to avoid stripping their skin of natural oils.

On the other hand, their teeth should be brushed and cleaned two to three times per week. A weekly ear check is also needed to spot any dirt or infection in the area.

Likewise, Canarios have fast-growing nails, so regular trimming is recommended. Finally, Presa Canarios tend to drool quite a bit, so you may need to wipe its snout often.

Training and Exercise

Since Presa Canarios are pretty active and authoritative by instinct, training is crucial.

Your Canario will benefit from frequent socialization and early obedience training to teach them to get along with people and other pets.

Though highly intelligent, the Presa Canario will surely test your patience. For best results, we suggest that you hire a professional trainer to manage your Presa Canario’s training.

Alternatively, you can also implement the so-called positive reinforcement training. This training scheme capitalizes on rewards to motivate your pet. The Presa learns best using this training method.

In terms of exercise, the Perro de Presa Canario is quite demanding. Due to their active nature, they need constant physical and mental stimulation.

They need at least an hour or two of physical activity per day. These can include jogging or playing fetch.

If you fail to give your dog the exercise it needs, expect to see destructive behavior at play.

Aside from physical activity, your dog will also benefit from puzzles and chew toys. Just make sure to invest in high-quality ones that don’t break easily.

How Much Does a Presa Canario Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Perro de Presa Canario puppy running on the grass

The Presa Canario is considered a rare breed in the United States, so expect to pay a hefty price if you wish to have one.

The cost of a Perro de Presa Canario puppy can range from $2,000 to $3,500 or double this range for show-quality ones.

Luckily, this cost goes down significantly if you choose to adopt. Usually, adoption fees only cost around $200 to $600. However, the Presa Canario is a rare sight in shelters and rescues.

Aside from the price of the Perro de Presa Canario puppy itself, here are a few other things you’ll need to consider in your budget:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$80 – $150
Bowls$15 – $40
Toys$30 – $100
Beds$50 – $300
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$60 – $500
Grooming Essentials$50 – $250
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$30 – $80
Total Initial Cost$620 – $3,150

Keep in mind that these are rough estimates only. If you want the most accurate rates, you’d have to visit your local pet shop and veterinary clinic.

Places to Find Presa Canario Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Finding a Canary dog near you is not a simple task. As these dogs are pretty uncommon in the country, you’ll need patience when trying to find one.

Aside from that, Presa Canarios are banned in some states and regulated in others. More often than not, you’ll need to get a permit to own this big pooch. As expected, there are not a lot of sources for this breed.

Here are some reputable breeders where you may find Perro de Presa Canario puppies for sale:

  • Cabeza Grande Kennel – This reputable breeder raises and sells Presa Canario puppies. This kennel was established in 1998 to ensure the continuation of the Presa breed. Visit their website for their contact information and more info about their available Presa Canarios.
  • Sanders Kennels – Sanders Kennels is a breeder located in Dawsonville, Georgia. This kennel is backed by people who traveled through Spain and the Canary Islands, searching for the best show-quality and working Presa Canarios.
  • Rey Gladiator – Rey Gladiator is one of the best Presa Canario breeders in Kentucky. This breeder boasts 17 years of experience in Canario breeding. They specialize in show-line and working-line Presa Canarios.

Although it is not yet registered with the American Kennel Club, you can still find Perro de Presa Canario puppies in the AKC Marketplace, a reputable platform where AKC-credited breeders list their puppies.

If you want to try your luck in adopting a Presa Canarios, here are some of the rescues to check out:

  • Big Bully Rescue – This home-based rescue organization in Phoenix, Arizona, is backed by several volunteers who share a passion for saving bully-type breeds. Big Bully Rescue specializes in rescuing Molosser-type dogs, including Presa Canarios.
  • The Bullpen Way Station & Sanctuary – The Bullpen Rescue is located in Northeast Georgia. It provides a safe space for unwanted or abandoned large breed dogs, such as the Perro de Presa Canario. Learn more about the organization through its website.
  • Petfinder – Petfinder is a website you can use to look through a catalog of adoptable pets. They have all sorts of pets from all over the country. Check Petfinder’s listings from time to time to see if they have a Presa Canario near your area!

If these breeders and rescues didn’t work out for you, feel free to join Reddit spaces and Facebook groups on Presa Canarios. Surely, other Perro de Presa Canario owners will be willing to help you out!

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Perro de Presa Canario standing in the woods

What’s the Difference Between a Cane Corso and a Presa Canario?

Many people find it challenging to differentiate Presa Canarios from Cane Corsos, which is understandable considering that they are both Mastiff-type dogs.

However, there are a couple of notable differences:

  • Cane Corsos are taller than Presa Canarios.
  • Presa Canarios are heavier than Cane Corsos despite the height difference.
  • Cane Corsos have a wider muzzle, longer ears, and docked tail.
  • The fur of Cane Corsos is dense and doesn’t shed, while that of Presa Canario mildly sheds.
  • Cane Corsos are more affectionate and friendlier than Presa Canarios.

These are only some of the key differences between the two. Needless to say, they are exceptional in their own ways.

Are Presa Canarios Fighting Dogs?

Perro de Presa Canarios were used in the early times for guarding properties and herding cattle. However, these dogs became infamous as fighting dogs. In fact, this breed is arguably an animal symbol for dog fighting.

That said, modern-day Presa Canarios are no longer fighting dogs. After dogfighting was declared illegal, these dogs slowly became family companions and personal guards.

Are Presa Canarios Illegal in the US?

Many states in the US allow the breeding and raising of Presa Canarios. However, there are a few small areas where breed-specific legislation is in place.

Apparently, some states consider Presa Canarios as wild dogs. Sadly, these dogs still bear the impression that they are untamable.

Check your respective states for any legislative regulations regarding the dog ownership of Presa Canarios.

Are Presa Canarios Easy to Train?

Presa Canarios are extremely intelligent, so their ability to pick up commands is not much of an issue. However, these dogs tend to be stubborn at first due to their instinct to lead and stand their ground.

That said, with ample practice and patience, you will eventually tame your Presa Canario. For best results, it is recommended to train your Presa Canario as early as two months old.

Do Presa Canarios Bark a Lot?

The Perro de Presa Canario has a very distinctive and deep bark meant to scare intruders away. Fortunately, these dogs don’t bark for no reason.

In fact, these dogs are rather calm if left unbothered. The only time a Presa Canario barks a lot is if it senses threats or feels unsafe.

Final Thoughts

The Presa Canario is perfect for people who would like a large breed dog with relatively low maintenance needs.

This dog breed is also ideal for someone looking for a guard dog, may it be for personal protection or for securing properties.

If you can commit to training this naturally assertive pooch, then it will grow up as a tamed gentle giant. However, if you cannot keep up with its needs, it will easily challenge your leadership.

With these things in mind, the Perro de Presa Canario is best suited for experienced owners. First-time dog owners should probably skip this breed.

Do you think you have what it takes to own a Perro de Presa Canario? Let us know what you think about this breed in the comment section below!

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