10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Presa Canario

The Perro de Presa Canario is the full name of this large breed of dog, A.K.A, the Canary Mastiff. This large, powerful dog is a Molosser-type of dog, and its name in Spanish, means “Canarian catch dog.” The dog is big, powerful, and has a very distinct look. It’s massive head sits out away from the very muscular, rectangular body, which sports a short coat of fur. The color coats come in a variety of colors, like black, fawn, brindle, or any combination of the colors. They have medium to dark brown eyes, and wrinkles on their forehead that help to give the dog a serious, discerning look. If the ears are cropped, the will be pointed, and sit high on the head. Their muzzle is somewhat elongated, with loose skin that hangs from their powerful jaws, then spills down into the neck region. This is an interesting breed that has a long history with the Spanish world, and are still regarded as one of the most popular breeds on some islands off the coast. You may have seen this breed, but here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Presa Canario.

1. They are known by several names

Many breeds of dogs have nicknames they are known by other than their appointed breed name, for instance, a Dachshund is known as a Doxie, wiener dog, among others. And a common name for the Shetland Sheepdog is a Sheltie. The Pesa Canario also has other names it is often referred to as, including, the “Presa,” “Canary dog,” or the “Perro Canario.”

2. Is not an AKC registered breed

Not all breeds of dogs are recognized as AKC registered breeds and the Presa Canario is one of them. Instead, the organization recognizes them as a Stock Service Breed, which gives the breed security under the AKC’s regulations, to continue to work toward developing into a breed that may one day, be considered for registration.

3. Where the breed originated

The Presa Canario originates from the Canary Islands, just off the coast of Spain. They are considered a rare breed, and they are known to exist as far back as the very beginning of the 1500’s. For years, they were used to kill wild dogs that were attacking cattle. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, wild dogs were often either bound or killed without punishment, and because they were so powerful and could cause much damage, they were also banned from ownership, unless you were a hunter or a farmer.

4. Breeds of dogs that contributed to the Presa Canario

The Presa Canario is a mix of a couple breeds of dogs that created this very intelligent and physically fit dog. The breeds that contributed to the present-day Presa Canario include, the Bardino Majorero and a pre-Hispanic sheepdog, which originated on the Island of Fuertevenetura.

5. The breed is the symbol for an island

The breed holds a place on the coat of arms of the Canary Islands, and this coat is displayed on the flag of the Canary Islands. The design was officially adopted in 1982, which is a Spanish royal crown, and the seven islands are also represented on the flag, along with two dogs, that are said to be the Presa Canario breed, which originally represented, and is the animal symbol of the island, Gran Canaria.

6. They have a high prey drive

The Presa Canario has a high prey drive, meaning that they love to chase and kill other animals. It is in their nature to go after small animals, which means that strict training needs to start at a very young age to prevent this breed from chasing, attacking, and killing small animals that may belong to friends, family, or neighbors that have small pets. Pesa Canarios should be kept secure behind a six-foot fence when outdoors in a yard to prevent escaping.

7. Big sized bite, means lots of damage

This breed has strong jaws and teeth, meaning they are capable of doing a lot of damage with their mouths. They also have a insatiable desire to chew. Before you start letting your pet have full range of the house, training your dog to only chew on his toys is an important step in the training process. You should always keep your pup contained and monitored until he is fully trained and trustworthy to roam about the house.

8. Don’t let him lie around

This is a breed with lots of energy and desperately wants a job to do. If you are looking to adopt a Pesa Canario you will want to be sure to have a lifestyle that will include lots of exercise and activity for your pet. This is not a breed that is content to simply lay around and do nothing. The breed’s high energy level does not match a sedentary lifestyle and will quickly cause the dog to become hyper, agitated and even destructive.

9. Affectionate and loving towards their families

Yes, this is a big, powerful breed, which you would expect to be on the aggressive side, especially if provoked. Despite this breed’s ability to be aggressive towards other animals or suspicious strangers, they are very loving, loyal and affectionate with their owners. Due to their ability to become aggressive, this breed requires socialization at a very young age and constant monitoring when around animals, children and other people they aren’t familiar with.

10. Inexperienced dog owners, beware

Not all breeds of dogs are a good match for certain owners, and for first time dog owners, the Pesa Canaria is not a breed you will want to take on as a pet. This is a tough breed that needs a strong pack leader, with lots of training and strict rules. If you are a novice at dog ownership, this dog can easily overpower you, both physically and mentally, and will be a big challenge that can lead to risky situations for both the dog and others.


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