Presa Canario: The Canary Mastiff

Side view of Brown Presa CanarioThe Presa Canario, often called the Canary Mastiff, is a large-sized, Molosser-type dog. Initially, it was bred to serve the purpose of working livestock, but now this dog is known for so much more.

The Presa Canario is a Spanish dog breed and this is why it has a Spanish name, which translates to ‘Canarian Catch Dog’.

This breed of dog is known to be extremely intelligent, loyal, gentle, calm, and friendly, and makes for an amazing guard dog. Also, being a low-maintenance dog, it will be a great and easy-to-handle companion for you if you live alone.


The Presa Canario is not a relatively new dog breed although you may not have heard of it before. In fact, this breed dates back to the 15th or 16th century.

It is believed to be a descendant of the mastiff-type dogs, which came to the famous Canary Islands with Spanish conquerors hundreds of years ago.

Back in those times, the Presa Canario dogs were used as guardian dogs to keep an eye on farms. Apart from this, they served the purposes of fighting with cattle and driving away stray animals. This is why the Presa Canario is usually considered to be a great watchdog.

What Are Other Names For A Presa Canario?

Do not be confused if you see people referring to this breed of dogs with names you do not recognize.

Below are some of the most common names used to refer to a Presa Canario [1].

Brown Presa Canario running

  • Presa
  • Canary Islands Dog
  • Canary Mastiff
  • Dogo Canario
  • Canarian Molosser
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Canary Dog
  • Mastiff Dog

A hint for you to remember these names easily is that most of them contain the word ‘Canario’ or something sounding similar to it.

Is Presa Canario Breed Officially Recognized?

Yes, the Presa Canario breed is officially recognized! In 2003, the United Kennel Club recognized this breed. However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the United States does not recognize the Presa Canario, which is just one of the many breeds unrecognized by the AKC.


Size, Height, Weight

Black Presa Canario

The Presa Canario is considered to be a relatively large-sized dog.

Let’s have a look at the exact figures to determine how ‘large’ this dog can be.

The average height of this breed of dogs is anywhere from 22 to 26 inches whereas its weight is in the range of 84 to 110 pounds. This makes it quite a tall and heavy dog.

Like almost every other breed of dogs, the females of this breed weigh slightly less than the males. Similarly, the height of the males is greater than that of the females.

However, the weight and height of a Presa Canario might vary from these ranges because the diet, activity, and living conditions of a dog can largely affect its size.

Moreover, when experts classify a Presa Canario to determine whether it is small, medium, or large, the comparison is within the breed only.

For instance, a dog of this breed weighing somewhere in the 80 to 90 pounds range and with a height of around 21 or 22 inches is considered a small Presa Canario, when it is actually taller than even the large-sized dogs of many other breeds, such as Poodles, etc.

Coat and Color

This dog has a very short coat, which is extremely easy to groom. Moreover, it is very soft and smooth to the touch.

Brown Presa Canario Standing

There is just one coat close to the surface of the body and therefore, no undercoat. This also means that there would be less shedding inside the house during any given season.

The coat of the Presa Canario comes in a wide variety of colors which include, but aren’t limited to, fawn, red fawn, silver fawn, fawn brindle, red brindle, reverse brindle, and fawn brindle.  Another interesting but much less common color of the coat is verdino [2].

However, most of the Presa Canario dogs come with coats of black color with white spots or marks on them.


The Presa Canario is known to be a highly intelligent breed of dogs, which is one of its most highlighted features, and thus the reason why it is immensely sought-after [3].

Not only is this dog quick at making spontaneous decisions but it can figure out things fairly quickly. However, make sure you help your dog by engaging it in learning activities and helping to enhance its sharp skills.

Besides this, it is a very gentle-natured dog and would listen to you with obedience once it has gotten to know you well.

Moreover, you can expect it to be very calm and composed. There isn’t much that fazes this dog or gets it out of control. So if your dog is behaving irrationally, it might be a sign that something is wrong.

That being said, the Presa Canario is known to be a strong-willed and dominant dog. This means that you need to handle it intelligently because this dog can get aggressive if not dealt with correctly. Therefore, make sure you are not being too harsh on your pet or completely ignoring its demands. Furthermore, to cater to the dominant nature of this dog, you need to start training it early on so that it learns to obey your commands.

In addition to this, the Presa Canario is a suspicious dog by nature. This means that it won’t react very warmly to strangers or newcomers inside your home. Therefore, make sure you don’t let it close to any guests or random people it hasn’t met before as it might bark incessantly at them or even, in severe circumstances, attack them.

However, you do not need to worry much about this quality because if you allow your dog to spend a few minutes with a stranger – under your supervision – it will warm up to them. Interestingly, this quality can come in handy if you use your Presa Canario as a guard dog because it will immediately alert you to the presence of a stranger or intruder inside your house.

It is important to mention here that due to its size, if this dog gets aggressive or suspicious and in turn decides to attack someone, it can prove to be fatal at times. Therefore, it is necessary to train your dog well. Moreover, socialization can help a great deal too in this case.

Is A Presa Canario Dangerous?

Not only is this dog very intimidating to look at, but it is widely reported that the Presa Canario is one of the most dangerous dogs in the world.

This is easy to understand considering the Presa Canario has a square head, wide shoulders, large muscles, and a heavy body. This means that even when the dog doesn’t intend to attack someone strongly, it still might end up hurting them a lot.

Also, it is said about the Presa Canario that this dog gets more aggressive when it is in a pack. Therefore, if you take your dog outside, make sure it isn’t mingling with too many Presa Canarios as it might gain aggression otherwise.

Moreover, this breed is often bred as fighting dogs, which adds another reason to the list of things which make it dangerous.

Another reason why people are intimidated by this dog is because of how notorious it has become due to several high-profile and fatal attacks by Presa Canarios over recent years.

These reasons are also why the Presa Canario is banned in many countries across the globe.

However, it is simply a matter of training and providing your pet with the right kind of environment and you won’t have any complaints about your dog being dangerous.

A Presa Canario that is well-trained since an early age and socializes often would display remarkable control and composure despite its dominant nature.

Is A Presa Canario A Good Family Dog?

When considering to get a Presa Canario as a family dog, you need to keep two aspects of this breed in mind: physical traits and temperament.

Presa Canario Standing with tongue hanging out of mouth

When it comes to its physical traits, despite it being a large-sized dog, it can be kept as a family dog. However, beware that this is not the ideal dog for playing with children, especially toddlers. Your dog might unintentionally hurt your little ones by accidentally running into or colliding with them. However, if your children are playing with this dog, make sure you are there to supervise playtime and ensure that the size of your dog doesn’t bring harm to anyone in the family.

Behaviorally, this is a wonderful breed to keep as a family dog. The Presa Canario is extremely loyal and dedicated to its owner. Once your pet is attached to you, there is very little it wouldn’t do to help you and keep you safe at all times.

Apart from this, it is also known for its gentleness when it comes to its host family. Moreover, your dog will be highly affectionate with not just you but all your family members once it is comfortable enough in the house.

Lastly, do not forget to train your dog well as early training can help bring out its best qualities, such as affection, loyalty, and devotion.

Note well that no matter how friendly and well-trained your Presa Canarian is, you still need to keep a firm watch over it and handle it carefully.


The training of a Presa Canario needs to start from when it is a puppy to ensure that its aggressive and dominant tendencies are curbed.

If your dog hasn’t undergone any proper training, it is likely to display aggression and stubborn behavior when you train it. Therefore, you need to not only be firm with your dog but extremely patient as well.

Furthermore, as a very self-confident breed of dogs, the Presa Canario is best handled and trained by experienced owners or dog experts.

Also, treats will work in your favor when training this dog but make sure that you do not overdo them because it can quickly lead to obesity.

Your dog will also require extensive physical exercise daily so make sure you provide it with enough activities to let it burn its calories.

However, while taking care of the physical needs of your dog, make sure you are not neglecting its mental needs. The Presa Canario is an extremely intelligent dog. This would require you to plan engaging and mentally stimulating activities such as solving puzzles and learning the names of different toys. You can also teach your dog slightly difficult commands or make it help you in simple household chores. You might be surprised to learn how quickly your Presa Canario would grasp onto new ideas and concepts.


Common Health Problems

There are certain health problems that the Presa Canario breed is prone to. These include:

● Hypothyroidism
● Elbow dysplasia
● Cryptorchidism
● Epilepsy
● Hip dysplasia

Apart from these, this breed is also vulnerable to eye problems and can get ligament tears too. Moreover, while it isn’t extensively common, the Presa Canario might also face osteochondritis dissecans which is a joint disorder, making muscle activity difficult for your dog.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of this breed is around 9 to 11 years, which makes it a good companion dog since it lives long enough for you to forge a friendship and live happily with it.

How To Care For A Presa Canario?

Feeding Requirements

The answer to the question ‘How much to feed the Presa Canario?’ is a tricky one. This is because you need to ensure that your dog is getting sufficient food to fulfill all its dietary requirements for a dog of its size and is getting enough calories to burn during its physical activities. At the same time, you can’t feed your Presa Canario too much that it becomes obese and lazy.

First of all, you need to divide the food into 2 to 3 meals spread out evenly throughout the day. Moreover, the food should contain sufficient proteins and be rich in carbohydrates. Dry dog food is preferred for a Presa Canario.

That being said, it is important to consult a vet before finalizing the diet for your Presa Canario because the figures provided above are for an average dog of this breed. The exact nutritional requirements for your dog might vary depending upon its health, physical activity, and metabolism.

How Much Exercise Does A Presa Canario Need?

One of the most important things to take care of for a Presa Canario is its physical activity requirements [4]. As a very active dog, it needs a lot of exercise to burn its excess energy otherwise your pet might be too hyperactive for you to handle!

The dog requires daily exercise so you should take it out for a walk regularly. If that isn’t possible, try to settle for some activity which requires physical exertion such as playing fetch or running around with your dog.

However, make sure that you are not tiring out your dog as the Presa Canario sometimes just likes to rest for a while and doesn’t like going out every single day [5]. Once you’ve spent some time with your dog, you’ll be able to understand its moods and temperament well enough to decide when to give it a day off from physical activities.

How Much Does A Presa Canario Cost?

This breed is usually regarded as quite expensive and you can expect a puppy of this breed to be around $2,000.

The Molosser-type family heritage and the fact that they are blacklisted across several states in the United States just adds to the appeal and makes it a very sought-after breed.

Moreover, getting this dog from a well-reputed breeder means that you will find a puppy of excellent health and wonderful traits, which will make it easier to understand the high price tag it comes with.

Also, keep in mind that it takes a great deal of time, patience, and effort to train and take care of a Presa Canario, further adding to its cost.

Please note the Presa Canario is banned in New Zealand and Australia.

In the United States, this dog is on multiple lists of restricted dog breeds, and some of the states which have banned the Presa Canario are Alabama, Wisconsin, Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska, Louisiana, Oregon, Arkansas, South Dakota, Ohio, Georgia, Missouri, Idaho, Washington, Colorado, and North Dakota.


The Presa Canario is an excellent breed of dogs known for its intelligence, athletic build, loyalty, and sharp skills. Even though this dog comes at quite a high price, its physical and behavioral traits more than make up for it.

Moreover, while this might not be the most ideal choice for a family dog, the Presa Canario is an excellent watchdog.

Furthermore, its origin at the Canary Islands, Spanish background, Molosser-type heritage, notoriety due to being blacklisted in several countries, and great mental skills make it a very popular and desired breed of dogs.

Also, this dog would require a well-balanced diet consisting of proteins and carbohydrates. In addition to this, it might suffer from several health conditions including eye problems and ligament tears.

Lastly, while this dog is very easy to groom due to its short coat, its training requirements are not so easy. Only get a Presa Canario if you are confident that you will be able to handle a stubborn and dominant dog, and are willing to invest the hours of extensive training this dog requires.


  1. Presa Canario (Canary Dog),
  2. Presa Canario – Can This Guard Dog Make A Good Family Pet Too?
  3. Presa Canario Information,
  4. All About the Presa Canario,
  5. How Much Exercise Does a Perro de Presa Canario Dog Need?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

I accept the Privacy Policy