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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Perro de Presa Canario Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Perro de Presa Canario Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Presa Canario dog

Large breed dogs can make wonderful pets and watchdogs. If you’ve been considering getting a breed of dog that’s on the larger side, you might have run across the Perro De Presa Canario. This is a rarer breed that dates to the 15th century and originates in the Canary Islands. Originally bred as working dogs—herding cattle for the most part—these pups are intelligent and ready to work or play. They also make fabulous guard dogs.

Breed Overview


22 – 26 inches


80 – 130 pounds


9 – 11 years


Fawn, gold, brown, tiger, silver, brindle

Suitable for:

Experienced pet owners, people without children or other pets, those with large & fenced in yards


Intelligent, aloof, headstrong

You will have to check your state and town laws before getting one, though. Due to past instances of unproperly trained Perro De Presa Canario’s attacking and injuring people, breed-specific legislation has, unfortunately, banned this breed in certain places. Don’t let that frighten you off this dog, though, as with the proper training and socialization, they can become loyal, sweet, protective pets.

Because of the extensive training needed with this breed, they will do best with experienced pet owners. They will also do better with owners who don’t have small children or other pets. What else should you know about this noble breed? Read on to find out!

Perro De Presa Canarios Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Perro De Presa Canario Puppies

Perro De Presa Canarios are a rare dog breed, so it might not be very easy to find one. There’s a strong chance you’ll end up getting one from a breeder, in which case. When it comes to breeders, you should choose not only one who follows the United Perro De Presa Canario Club.

That’s not to say there’s no chance of finding one of these guys at a shelter, but it will be a much smaller chance. If you don’t want to purchase from a breeder, you’d be better off trying a rescue organization for Perro De Presa Canarios such as Big Dogs Huge Paws, East Coast Gentle Giants Rescue, or even a rescue in your area that deals with larger breeds.

If you’re looking for a large dog with a strong personality, get ready to train your Perro De Presa Canarios and give them enough time commitment so they grow into happy and healthy dogs.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Perro De Presa Canario

This is a more serious breed than others. They can come across as intimidating, not only because of their size but because of their aloofness and solemnity. These dogs are constantly looking for any danger to their families and are cautious of strangers, making them excellent watchdogs. They are also incredibly smart and will need to receive plenty of mental and physical stimulation, so they don’t become bored and destructive. This intelligence also makes them great at tasks and games!

While they have a reputation for being aggressive, the extent of their aggression will be dependent on how well they are trained and socialized. Perro De Presa Canarios who have been properly trained will be loyal, obedient, and affectionate members of the family.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

While this breed can get along with children if they are highly trained and socialized from a very young age, overall, mixing the Perro De Presa Canario with small children isn’t a great idea. Because these dogs tend to be aloof, they don’t always make for wonderful playmates. That’s not to say that they will be automatically aggressive towards children; they can be quite gentle with them. It’s just that getting there will require an experienced dog owner who puts in a considerable amount of time and effort to make sure they are well-trained.

If you have children and decide on this breed, introduce the two when they are young and teach children how to touch and play with the dog appropriately. Letting kids help with feeding or grooming will let your dog know that they, too, are a part of your family pack.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Young adult male presa canario dog
Image Credit: tsik, Shutterstock

Much like with children, the Perro De Presa Canario tends to not get along well with other dogs and smaller animals. Because they are a more aggressive breed, they will especially not get along with dogs of the same sex, mainly because the Perro De Presa Canario will want to be the top dog. This breed also has strong herding and prey instincts which will come into play when smaller animals such as cats are around.

However, if you introduce the Perro De Presa Canario to other pets at a young age and raise them together, plus start early on their training, they could learn how to play well with others.


Things to Know When Owning a Perro De Presa Canario:

It’s never wise to adopt a pet until you know what you’re getting into. With the Perro De Presa Canario, you’ll need to understand training requirements, along with how to take care of their everyday needs.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Presa Canario in beautiful park outside
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

The Perro De Presa Canario is a huge dog, which means they’ll need more food to keep up with their nutritional requirements. You’ll want to feed your pup four to eight cups of high protein food a day, broken into two or three meals to prevent stomach upset or bloat. They will also need access to fresh water throughout the day, likely more than most breeds due to their size. The food cost alone for this breed will be on the higher side, so be prepared for that.

Exercise 🐕

Some large breeds don’t require a ton of exercise, but that definitely is not the case for this one! These dogs are bred to be working dogs, so they will want and need to be active instead of lazing about. If they aren’t getting enough stimulation, you will see some destructive behavior (probably in the form of chewing up your belongings).

You’ll be looking at around an hour a day of pretty intense activity with these doggos. These guys will want to go on walks or runs with you, but they’ll also enjoy playing in the backyard. They’ll also be happy going hiking and swimming with you.

Mental stimulation is important as well, so be sure to stock up on a variety of toys, including puzzle toys and chew toys. Another way to keep them stimulated is to play a game of hide and seek with them!

Training 🎾

Because this breed is known for being a bit more aggressive than other breeds, they must begin obedience training and socialization right away. Without proper training, you could be looking at a dog that will chase small animals, use its size against you to assert dominance, be overly wary of strangers, or even bite someone. Unfortunately, you will have to have a ton of patience to train the Perro De Presa Canario, as these dogs have a strong stubborn streak.

This breed is highly intelligent, which will help in training, but they are also strong-willed and prone to testing boundaries and attempting to place themselves as the alpha. You will need to be consistent in training and set strong boundaries with them. They will respond better to positive reinforcement such as treats rather than negative reinforcement such as yelling.

You might find it best to go with a professional trainer for this breed—one who has experience working with strong working breeds. Just remember that even if you go this route, you’ll still need to do the follow-up work with your dog by being consistent with what the trainer is teaching them. Also, keep in mind that all members of your family should know what training is being done so they can keep up the consistency.

Grooming ✂️

Perro De Presa Canarios are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They have short coats and don’t shed an excessive amount, so you’ll only need to brush them twice a week using a brush with firm bristles to keep their coats healthy. You’ll find these pups shed more in the fall and spring, so you will need to brush them a little more often during those times.

When it comes to bathing, you won’t need to do it often, just when they become smelly or go romping through a mud puddle. Bathing too often will strip their skin of natural oils which can lead to dryness and irritation.

The Perro De Presa Canario’s nails grow quickly; those will need to be trimmed regularly. (If you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, your vet or a groomer can take care of it.) Their ears will need to be checked weekly for dirt or anything that could indicate infection (redness or a foul odor). If their ears seem rough, you can wipe them down with a damp cotton ball or vet-approved ear cleanser. You’ll also want to brush their teeth two to three times each week.

While this breed may drool some, it won’t be as often as other mastiff types. If you do see drool, wipe it away to prevent it from getting all over everything.

Grooming is something you’ll need to introduce your dog to early on so they can get used to the process.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Perro De Presa Canario is generally a healthy breed. Still, they will be predisposed to a few specific health conditions, especially because of their larger stature.

divider-pawMale vs Female

Male and female Perro De Presa Canarios don’t really have any differences when it comes to temperament. You will, however, notice a difference in their sizes. Males can grow to weigh 100 plus pounds, while females will top out around 80-85 pounds. Males will also be a few inches taller than females.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Perro De Presa Canarios

1. Their paws look like cat’s paws!

Because their feet have rounded, compact toes like a cat’s, the Perro De Presa Canario can be incredibly graceful, despite being big puppers.

2. The Perro De Presa Canario nearly went extinct

Unfortunately, this dog became popular as a breed of choice for dogfighting in the 40s and 50s and, as a result, came close to extinction. Luckily, in the 1970s, the breed was revived via reputable breeders.

3. This breed became known outside the Canary Islands because of a magazine article

American anthropologist  Dr. Carl Semencic described the Perro De Presa Canario in an article about rare breeds for Dogworld Magazine, thus introducing the breed to the world outside of the Canary Islands.





Final Thoughts

The Perro De Presa Canario is a beautiful breed with a bad rep. While they are naturally a bit more aggressive than other dogs, given proper training and socialization, they can become dedicated, gentle, and affectionate members of your family (members who are also very protective!). This breed isn’t recommended for first-time pet owners due to their intense need for training or families with small children, as large dogs and tiny humans don’t always mix, and accidents can happen. However, experienced dog owners who have plenty of room for this pup to run around in and are prepared to dedicate the time to train them may find them to be a wonderful fit. Just check your state and town laws before you go out and get one to make sure they haven’t been banned in your area.

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Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

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