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 :

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)

    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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