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Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios Information


Other names - Canarian Dog, Canary Mastiff, Presa Canario, Dogo Canario

Nicknames - Presa

Country of origin Canary Islands, Spain

Classification & standards
FCI Group 2 Section 2.1 #346 standard

AKC Working (FSS) standard

The AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) is an optional recording service for purebred dogs that are not yet eligible for AKC registration.
UKC Guardian Dogs standard

It is only provisionally accepted by the FCI under the name "Dogo Canario"

The Perro de Presa Canario is a large Molosser-type dog breed originally bred for working livestock. The name of the breed is Spanish, means "Canarian catch dog," and is often shortened to "Presa Canario", or simply "Presa." The breed is also called Dogo Canario, meaning Canarian Molosser.


The breed is originally from the Canary Islands in the 1700s, notably Gran Canaria. Its exact ancestry is unknown, but enthusiasts believe that the Perro de Bardino Majorero, an established farm dog from the Canary Islands, was crossed with the Mastiff and other English dogs brought to the Islands by visitors and colonists, creating the foundation for the modern Presa Canario.

Presa type guard and
catch dogs are mentioned in historical documents of the 16th and 17th centuries. It is believed that the Perro de Presa Canario was created during the 18th century for the purpose of property and flock guarding, the holding and driving of livestock, and exterminating wild or stray dogs. The breed was also used for dog fighting, a tradition the English settlers transplanted along with their Mastiff and Bulldog breeds. Canary Islanders consider these fights "honor fights" and not the sole purpose of the animal. Presa type dogs were referred to as the "perro de la tierra" or "dog of the land".


Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationThe Presa Canario is a large sized dog with a thick and muscular body. The head is broad, massive, square, and powerful. Proper head and good expression are part of the breed standard, and are manifest in the best breed specimens. The ears are normally cropped both to create a more formidable expression, and to prevent damage while working with cattle. If cropped the ears stand erect. In countries where ear cropping is banned the ears are close fitting to the head, they hang down and should be pendant or "rose" shaped. The lips are thick and hang in an inverted V where they join; the flews may be slightly loose. The interior lips are dark.

Males average between 23 to 26 inches (58 to 66 cm) at the withers with a minimum weight of 100 pounds (45 kg). Females average between 22 to 25 inches (56 to 63 cm) at the withers with a minimum weight of 85 pounds (39 kg).
Very high weights could lead to a number of health problems. Too much weight is also known to compromise the dog's athleticism and working ability.

The breed is also characterized by a sloping topline (with the rear being slightly higher than the shoulders). Another characteristic of the breed is the shape of the paws (cat foot) and the catlike movement of the animal. The body is mesomorphic, that is, slightly longer than the dog is tall, contributing to the feline movement. The Presa should be powerful, balanced, and imposing in appearance. It is heavily built, but able to move with great athleticism.


The coat is short with no undercoating and slightly coarse to the touch. The coat comes in all shades of fawn and brindle. The acceptance of the black coat is a point of contention among fanciers as it is allowed by the AKC-FSS, UKC and UPCC standards, but not by the FCI or FIC standards. White is allowed up to 20 percent and is most commonly found on the chest and feet, and occasionally on a blaze on the muzzle. The breed standard requires black pigmentation and dogs should have a black mask that does not extend above the eyes. The breed is known for its very minimal shedding. In order to be properly informed on the Presa Canario's coat and genetics. It's suggested to read the below section titled "Presa Canario – A Legislative Basis for the Name and Standard", there you will find the true "decreto of the Presa Canario" (i.e. The Presa Canario has a solid legislative basis in Spain, and it is recognized as such by a Real Decreto of the MAPA (Minister of Agriculture Fishing and Nutrition), which was published in the Official Gazzette of the Spanish Government ([BOE – Boletin Oficial del Estado]). The original [Real Decreto 558/2001] can be read on the site of the Spanish Government Gazzette. In this authentic legislative source the breed is named precisely as "Presa Canario." A breed standard is attached in the Real Decree and it includes the black coat and a maximum weight. Any other name or standard is not recognized by Spanish law.). Inside the Decreto you will find the real presa's color (which includes gray/grey), here is a translated version of the colors section in the decreto, it reads (It seen distance the dog seems to be one-color and can have clearer excesses in the extremities. It seen closely, is to stand out that the color proceeds of the mixture of hairs of different tones: Brown, brown, more or less reddish, gray, white and black. The basic colors that derive from this mixture are: brown, in their clear tones, media and dark, gray composed of white, gray, and black, with shades that go of the gray silver one to the gray dark one. If it dominates the black one and combines simply with white, gives a black one that cold seems. There are also dogs with a mixture of black, brown and brown reddish, that can dominate in an or several you split, giving the impression of black specimens and coffee. Themselves they are not admitted you stain white or black. At times, a few white hairs, in the shape of star on the chest they are tolerated, or in the upper part of the fingers, but, in that case, anyway, does not owe this to come accompanied by white nails ).There is cases of what seem to be called a grey/gray but appear blueish color, as without a black mask. These specimens are not of true type and should be avoided if in need of pure ones. These rare cases come from crosses with other breeds, such as American Pitbull Terrier, Staffordshire terriers, Cane Corsos, Neopolitan mastiffs, and other breeds which have blue.

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationRED FAWN

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationREVERSE BRINDLE

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationBROWN BRINDLE

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationFAWN

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationRED BRINDLE

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationFAWN BRINDLE

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationSILVER FAWN

Bearclaw Kennels Presa Canarios InformationVERDINO BRINDLE


Dogs have a great deal of diversity in breeds, in all aspects, including coat color and patterns. Canine coat genetics are still being researched. Most of our present understanding of canine coat genetics is based on the work of Clarence Cook Little, author of "Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs" (1979), although some researchers dispute certain of his theories. For those with a keen interest in canine coat genetics, an excellent source for the breeder and the layperson's understanding is authored by Dr. Sue Ann Bowling

As far as the Presa Canario is concerned, it is believed Fawn is based on the Agouti series, specifically the ay allele. Agouti hairs are fawn hairs banded and/or interspersed with black. This gene is recessive to the other genotype of the breed, brindle.

It is known that Brindle is a dominant trait but there is some argument as to where it is located. Little postulated that it was on the E series (Ebr) but if so, would compete with the black mask (Em), which is known to not be the case. Dr. Bowling speculates the gene is most likely on a new series, which she calls "K".

The following are true in canine coat genetics: (remembering alleles come in sets of 2)

1. Breeding fawn (ayay) x brindle (KbrKbr or Kbray) may produce: fawn and brindle offspring.

2. Breeding brindle (KbrKbr or Kbray) x brindle (KbrKbr or Kbray) may produce: fawn and brindle offspring.

3. Breeding fawn (ayay) x fawn (ayay) will always produce: fawn offspring.

For breedings of fawn x brindle or brindle x brindle there is no clear way to predict the number of fawn or brindle offspring. Some litters from these breedings will be entirely fawn, entirely brindle, or, most likely, some combination of both.


Presas are of strong character and are also dominant animals requiring early socialization and obedience training. In some situations, the Presa can be aggressive toward other dogs and suspicious of strangers. Once the dog has been properly socialized and trained, this becomes the exception rather than the rule. Many Presas share their homes with children, other dogs, cats, horses and other farm animals.


Due to its temperament, the Perro De Presa Canario can be a challenge to train. They require a firm owner who is willing and able to meet the challenges a young, dominant puppy may pose. The breed is not traditionally suited for protection sports but it is gaining in popularity due to a small group of enthusiasts who have selected dogs based heavily on function. The Perro de Presa Canario is not recommended for the first time dog owner.


As with any breed, those interested in purchasing a Presa Canario should carefully research breeders and a dog's ancestry to ensure that the breeding lines are healthy. Typically speaking, the higher the degree of consanguinity, the higher the likelihood of genetic defects. Due to the breed's vast gene pool, many of the genetic problems that affect other purebreeds are less evident. However, as the breed becomes more tightly interbred and bloodlines developed the incidence of genetic problems may increase.

As a large breed, the Presa Canario can be susceptible to hip dysplasia. Other reported health problems include patellar luxation and patellar evulsions, skin cysts, epilepsy, osteochondrodysplasias, demodectic mange and cryptorchidism. A health issue unique to Spain is canine visceral leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a blood parasite that has a long incubation period (of several years) and most often leads to death.


The average lifespan for the Presa Canario is 8-12 years.


Some enthusiasts hold that, if the dog's pedigree cannot be traced back to the Canary Islands, it is not a true Presa Canario but rather a Bandog. It should be noted that there is a great degree of diversity in Presa Canarios and Dogo Canarios throughout the world. While this diversity has good implications for health, it has some interesting ramifications for the breed status. The Presa Canario is one of four breeds that does not have a DNA profile.

For years, obtaining proper paperwork from Spain was extremely difficult. It is even claimed (but never substantiated), for example, that a former president of the Spanish club simply didn't give out papers. Some breeders simply do not have papers on their dogs which are bonafide Presa Canarios. The problem in obtaining papers has definitely contributed to the diversity of the breed in many ways. Due to this difficulty, American owners and breeders created and sought other ways to register their dogs, such as AKC-FSS, UKC, UPPCC, and FCI.