Presa Canario

Presa Canario Breed description: Character & Co

Presa Canario


Origin and history of the Presa Canario

The "El perro de presa canario", also just called Presa Canario, was first mentioned in records from the Canary Islands (Tenerife and Gran Canaria) in the 16th century. Its origin is therefore in Spain.

This dog is said to go directly back to the original Molossians of the ancient world. It is believed that this breed developed from crosses of the "majorero", native dogs at that time, with molossoid dogs brought to the islands. In the past, it was found almost everywhere on the islands as a guard dog. However, owning a Presa Canario is still considered a special status symbol today.

The FCI kept the breed semi-official for several years and finally fully recognized it in 2011. In the process, it was initially referred to only as Dogo Canario, to replace the epithet "Presa", translated as "packer", which is often seen as negative. However, there has since been another name change and since 2019 the official name has been Presa Canario.

Suitability and attitude

Lovers of the strong types have long since brought the Dogo Canario to the mainland and as far as Germany. Here he is still rare, but has certainly made a name for himself as a service, protection and family dog.Basically, however, he is considered a guard dog for the protection of cattle.

The Presa Canario as a list dog

In Germany (Bavaria and Brandenburg), the Dogo Canario is listed as a list dog. He may be kept in these areas only under conditions and a higher tax rate.

Also in Switzerland there are certain cantons (Fribourg, Schaffhausen, Thurgau) where it is subject to official regulations due to the breed list. In these cantons the keeping is subject to authorization, in the canton of Geneva it is even completely forbidden.

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Alternate Name Canary Dog, Dogo Canario
Origin Spain
Life expectancy 10 - 12 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group Molossian type
AKC group not recognised
KC group not recognised

The typical character traits of the Presa Canario

The temperament of the Canarian Mastiff is balanced and malleable. With this dog, as with perhaps no other, it is the attitude and upbringing that make the dog. Well raised, these gentle giants are super pals, cuddly and affectionate. On the Canary Islands he is often found as a lazy lying around guard dog. But if you train him to be active and to do things together, he can be really sporty.

He is friendly to people, but has a strong protective instinct. So he hardly ever roams around and prefers to stay by his owner's side. It is best to take a Dogo Canario puppy to a playgroup early on: there he will meet many other dogs and people and can be well socialized. This way you will get a dog that is fearless and friendly to new things.

Husbandry and occupation

If you own a big farm, a horse ranch or just a big property with a garden, you can offer this dog what he wants. Being outside, in the fresh air and protecting something - that is in the blood of this breed. While the Presa Canario is up for excursions, he is just as happy to stay home and patiently watch until you return. Often left alone and to his own devices, however, he can become grumpy and distrustful.


Breed specific diseases of the Presa Canario

There are no known diseases more common than in other dog breeds. Nevertheless, due to its size, attention should be paid to the following:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin inflammations

Presa Canario breeding and purchase

If you want to have such a dog, you can find Dogo Canario puppies at selected breeders. You have to calculate with a purchase price starting from 1000 Euro. But it is important to look for a reputable breeder. This way you can be sure to buy a relatively healthy puppy and support a good future breeding of this breed.

If an older dog comes into question for you, you might also find what you are looking for at an animal welfare organization.

Canary Dog, Dogo Canario dog

The Presa Canario is classified by the FCI as Group 2 (Schnauzers and Pinschers, Molossians and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs), Section 2.1 (Molossians, Mastiff-type dogs). No working test is required according to the breed standard.

Size and weight

Presa Canario males have a height of about 60-66 cm, bitches about 56-62 cm. If a breed specimen corresponds very well to all other characteristics, however, deviations of +/- 2 cm are also tolerated. The corresponding minimum weight for males is 50 kg, the maximum weight is 65kg. Bitches are with a measure between 40-55kg a lot lighter.

The gait

In movement, the Presa Canario is agile and supple. The movement must be ground covering, resulting in a long stride. The tail is carried low and the head only slightly above the topline. When alert, the head and tail are erect.

The head

Typical of this breed is a massive, compact head of brachycephalic type, covered with thick skin. Its shape resembles a slightly elongated cube and the upper boundary lines of the top of the head as well as the muzzle are parallel or slightly converging. The skull is overall slightly convex in all directions. The frontal bone tends to be flat.

The width of the skull is almost identical to the length. The zygomatic arch is pronounced with well developed but not pronounced cheek and jaw muscles, and covered with loose skin. The occiput is only slightly pronounced, while the stop is moderate. The frontal furrow is well defined and is approximately 2/3 the size of the skull.

The muzzle

The nose of the Presa Canario is broad and black pigmented in agreement with the muzzle. The nostrils are large to allow good breathing. The muzzle itself is shorter than the skull, but normally accounts for about 40% of the total length of the head. The width is 2/3 of the skull, being very broad at the base and narrowing somewhat towards the nose. The bridge of the nose is flat and straight, not curved.

The upper lips are pendulous, but not excessively so. Seen from the front, the upper and lower lips form an inverted V. The flews slightly diverge and their inner sides are dark in color. This rat usually has a scissor bite or a slight forward bite (max 2 mm). A pincer bite is permitted but undesirable due to wear of the teeth. The dental arch is wide at the canines with large molars, small incisors and well developed canines.

The eyes & ears

The eyes have a slightly oval shape and are medium to large in size. The color varies from dark to medium brown, depending on the color of the coat - but a light color never occurs in a breed specimen. Set well apart, they appear neither sunken nor prominent. The eyelids are black pigmented and well fitting, never drooping.

The medium sized, natural hanging ears are also set well apart about above the eye line and are furnished with short, fine hair. When worn folded, they form a rose ear. In countries where docking is still permitted, they must be worn erect.

The rump

The muscular, massive neck is straight, cylindrical, and usually shorter than the length of the head. The skin is loose on the lower side of the neck, forming a slight dewlap. It merges into a long, broad and deep body with a straight upper profile line, supported without deformity by well-developed but little visible musculature. The line rises slightly from the withers to the croup, as the latter is 1-2 cm higher than the withers. It is of medium length, broad (especially in bitches) and rounded. If it were too long, it could restrict movement.

The chest of the Presa Canario is of great capacity with well defined pectoral muscles. When viewed from the front or side, the chest should reach at least to the elbows. The chest girth is normally equal to the height at the withers plus 45%. The ribs are well sprung. Overall, there is only a slightly tucked up lower profile line, but it should never be pendulous. The flanks should be only slightly emphasized.

The tail

The medium high base of the tail is broad. It tapers to the tip, which reaches the hock and lifts saber-shaped in movement, without curling or bending to the back. At rest, however, it should be carried hanging straight with a slight curve at the tip.

The limbs

The shoulder shows good slope and continues into an equally well angulated, sloping upper arm and elbows that do not rest against the ribs, but must not be turned outwards either. The straight forearm is balanced with strong bone and good muscling. The following forefoot joint is described as very solid and somewhat oblique in breed specimens.

The hindquarters are without exception strong and parallel when viewed from behind. A long, muscular thigh and a stifle joint whose angulation is not very pronounced, but not too little, are typical. The hind pastern is always well let down.

The front feet of the Presa Canario correspond to cat feet with rounded toes that are not too close together. This breed of dog has well developed black pads and usually equally dark nails. White nails are not desirable, although they may occur in relation to hair color. The hind feet have the same characteristics, but are slightly longer.

The coat

The hair of the Canary Dogue is short, coarse, well fitting and without undercoat (but it may occur on the neck and the backs of the thighs). It feels harsh to the touch. Very short and fine on the ears, but it should be a little longer on the withers and on the backs of the thighs.

The Presa Canario can be found brindle in all shades, from a warm dark brown to very pale gray or blond and shades of fawn to sand. White patches are accepted on the chest, base of the neck or throat, front feet and toes of the hindquarters, but should be as small as possible. The mask is always black and should not exceed eye level.

Fur length short
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Floppy Ear
Tail lang
Anatomy muscular, rugged, massive, strong
Size ♀ 56 - 61 cm
Weight ♀ 38 - 50 kg
Size ♂ 60 - 65 cm
Weight ♂ 50 - 59 kg
Suitable For -


  • Yes, the Dogo Canario is called "Presa Canario" since 2019. It is the same breed of dog.

  • Presa Canario can be roughly translated as "Argentine packer".

  • Yes, in some areas the Presa Canario is considered a list dog.

    In Germany (Bavaria and Brandenburg) the Dogo Canario is listed as a list dog. He may be kept in these areas only under conditions and a higher tax rate.

    Also in Switzerland there are certain cantons (Fribourg, Schaffhausen, Thurgau) in which he is subject to official requirements due to the breed list. In these cantons the keeping is subject to authorization, in the canton of Geneva it is even completely forbidden.

  • Presa Canario males have a height of about 60-66 cm, bitches about 56-62 cm. If a breed specimen corresponds very well to all other characteristics, but deviations of +/- 2 cm are also tolerated.

  • A dog is not automatically dangerous just because it belongs to a breed.

  • Yes, the Presa Canario is also suitable as a family dog.

  • No, the Presa Canario is basically not suitable for beginners.

Sources and relevant links

Offizielle Seite der FCI

Accessed on 16.02.2023


Accessed on 16.02.2023

Gabriele Lehari (2004). Ulmers Großes Lexikon der Hunderassen. Ulmer.

American Kennel Club

Accessed on 16.02.2023


Accessed on 16.02.2023

Hans Räber (2014). Enzyklopädie der Rassehunde, Band 1. Kosmos.

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