Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

Other names: Perro de Presa Canario, Canarian Dog

Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

The Canarian Dog is a dog with a natural suitability for guarding and defending which, in the past, can be compared to Bouviers. This breed was predominantly used as a fighting dog until this practice was banned. Canarian Dogs have a reckless temperament, they tend to be fearless and almost insensitive to pain. However, they are balanced and caring as a family but sometimes fight amongst themselves.

Key facts about the Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


Size :

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Origins and history

This species comes from the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, where they are brought up as a fighting dog. This comes from the Bardino, a dog that is very aggressive with a fighter's instinct from the island of Fuerteventura, although they are not very big. The size of the Canarian Dog has grown through breeding the species with Mastiffs and other large hounds found on the islands. In 1946, when dog fighting was illegal, they came close to total extinction. Although later on, a group of enthusiasts, supported by the Assessor of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Canaries, made it possible to recover the breed which was only recognised by the FCI definitively, in 2011.

Physical characteristics of the Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

  • Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)
    Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

    Adult size

    Female : Between 22 and 24 in

    Male : Between 24 and 26 in


    Female : Between 88 and 121 lb

    Male : Between 110 and 143 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Canarian Dog is of average size, robust and muscular, with a large head and a wide skull. They are also rustic in appearance and well proportioned. The skull to muzzle ratio is about 6/4; their upper lips fall back, a little flabby, on the lower lips. Their eyes are average sized and are slightly oval. Their ears, set high, are set apart and in the shape of a rose. The neck is broad and muscular and has a slight dewlap. The tail is set high: large at the base and it gradually tapers towards its tip. The belly is set back, but the last ribs are not prominent, giving an harmonious harp shape. Their legs are strong, muscular and perfectly straight; the buttocks are not very pronounced.

    Good to know

    Given their size, the Canarian Dog, if not experienced enough, have no choice and must be accompanied by their master who is confident in their ability to keep them under control. It should not be forgotten that a poorly trained dog who has not been subjected to enough social interaction is potentially very dangerous.


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      This dog can be particularly attached to its owner, as is often the case with dogs with such protective instincts.

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      ‘Le Dogo Canario’, as it is known in Spanish, can be playful, particularly with children. However, they often struggle to channel their own emotions.

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      Their noble appearance and air of self-confidence gives them a certain composure that is ideally suited to their role as protecting their owner. At home they are quiet but always alert.

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      The Canarian Dog possesses many skills, mainly as a guard dog, as they were traditionally used as sheep dogs. This requires certain levels of adaptability and intellectual skills.

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      They have no predatory instinct. For example, these dogs do not go chasing after birds during walks in the forest, they can easily be let free on a walk but the whistle to call them back must be loud.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      This breed becomes very close to their owner and are skilled in the art of guarding or herding a large group. Without being too aggressive, the Canarian Dog is always very wary of strangers even when there is no reason to be.

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      Generally, hounds such as the Canarian Dog are quite independent. Despite them becoming very attached to their owner’s family, they can easily stay apart from them, although this would mainly be to keep a close eye on what is going on around them.

      Behaviour of the Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

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        Tolerates solitude

        They will only deal well with isolation if they have been accustomed to it from an early age. It is advised to gradually build this up from a few minutes to a few hours. However they shouldn't be left alone for a prolonged period of time and there has to be a dog-sitter during this training period.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        This breed is easy to train as they are very attentive and tend to have a well-balanced mind. They are committed to pleasing their owner, although only if they are respectful in their training methods.

        The key to obtaining results with this breed is to be gentle and patient with them. It is widely advised to start teaching and integrating them as soon as they come home as a puppy.

        Social integration is key, these dogs must weigh around 132 lbs to enable themselves to cope with any type of environment.

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        Their barks are loud and serious; they use it especially when their posture is not enough to dissuade a completely oblivious intruder from approaching.

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        Tendency to run away

        Far too attached to their social group and role as guardian, they generally do not leave their familiar environment.

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        Very calm and quiet at home, this dog does not do "stupid things", especially if they have been correctly accustomed from an early age to being left alone.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        They will never ignore a bowl of food or a good treat. Food is a good way to improve their education.

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        Guard dog

        Despite its very calm appearance and relaxed posture, when they are alert, Canarian Dogs transform themselves and become strong and very cautious.

        Generally, their mere presence is enough to deter anyone with malicious intent from approaching. 

        However, their aggressiveness should not be overly stimulated: they are a very good guard dog and defender without the need for any specific training.

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        First dog

        As a first dog, they tend to be very good but you must beware of early mistakes that could impact on the initial integration of this dog into the home, as well as society in general. 

        When adopting a powerful dog, if you are new to training, it is advisable to be accompanied by a professional.

        If all the basics are in place, life with these dogs is very pleasant because, as well as being a guard dog, they are above all a very good dog to have by your side.

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          Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff) in a flat

          There is nothing to stop this dog from living indoors, even in an apartment, as long as they are walked enough and are physically active every day.

          However, be careful of their guard dog instinct, which could quickly disturb the neighbours. It is important to introduce them from an early age to hearing and accepting the "common" noises of neighbourhoods and social spaces.

          However, these dogs would be more comfortable in a living environment that gives them access to an outdoor space. Be careful though, even if your house has a garden, this does not mean reducing or stopping daily walks.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          With seemingly endless energy, they must be able to run every day, in large spaces to release their energy and allow them to meet their needs. 

          They must be able to fully exert themselves, particularly through sporting, recreational and educational activities such as agility etc. For example, they can follow their masters while on a jog.

          Be careful, however, as they are delicate during their initial phase of growth, physically stimulating activities should not start too early. It is advisable to wait at least a year and a half for these dogs, or even two years for more intense activities.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          It is very complicated to travel with these dogs, as in addition to being imposing, they can be very intimidating for people who do not expect their sweet and well behaved nature.


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            Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff) and cats

            The Canarian Dog is certainly not a predator, if they rub shoulders with cats from an early age. So as a puppy, they are able to live with other pets without any problem. 

            However, be aware of the often unpredictable reactions of a cat that can hurt the Canarian Dog with their claws.

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            Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff) and dogs

            Living together with other male dogs will be very tricky for this breed. Although, if as a puppy, the Canarian Dog socialises and regularly meets other puppies with whom everything goes well, good friendships can be made.

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            Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff) and children

            This intimidating breed gets along very well with children, they turn out to be very gentle, calm and patient with them. However, as with dogs of any breed, it is advise to implement the usual precautions to avoid any accidents! 

            Also, children need to learn to respect their dogs, especially by leaving them alone when they sleep and treating them as they are and not as a living stuffed toy.

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            Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff) and the elderly

            Quite calm and balanced by nature, the Canarian Dog can fit into a home of people of a certain age but they must be careful of their strength, the more fragile and elderly the person, the less likely they will be able to control them.



            The price of a Canarian Dog varies according to its origin, age and gender but it can be said that on average they cost £730 if they registered with the KC. 

            An average budget to support a dog of this size would be about £60/month.


            These dogs do not need grooming. Only weekly brushing is required to maintain a well groomed coat. 

            Their droopy ears require regular care to avoid infection.


            Without undercoat, these dogs moult very little. The rest of the time, they lose almost no hair (especially if brushed regularly).

            Nutrition of the Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

            The daily meal-intake of the Canarian Dog must be adapted according to their age, weight and level of daily physical activity. 

            In addition, you need to really pay attention to this during the puppy's growth phase because this is a very sensitive time. For this period, veterinary follow-up is all the more necessary for this breed. 

            This rather hardy dog can be satisfied with a diet based on high quality feed, but there will never be a problem feeding them meal such as bones and raw foods or other common feeds.

            Health of the Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

            Life expectancy

            Their estimated life expectancy is 10 years.

            Strong / robust

             As a very robust dog, their growth must be carefully monitored.

            Withstand heat

            These dogs are used to high temperatures because of their origin and they are therefore not particularly sensitive to heat.

            Withstand cold

            Without an undercoat, the Canarian Dog can suffer from the cold but they will still remain resilient.

            Tendency to put on weight

            If they are walked enough each day, the Canarian Dog has no reason to get fat, especially since they are not particularly greedy and can quickly burn off the calories they consume.

            Common illnesses

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