Perro de Presa Canarios

The Perro de Presa Canario is a mastiff breed from the Canary Islands. He is a complex, powerful dog with special needs when it comes to ownership. The Presa is a giant breed, weighing 84 to 110 pounds. He is used as a “catch dog,” driving cattle and hogs and running off or killing strange dogs.

The Presa has a massive head, heavy rectangular body, and a short coat in brindle, black, fawn or any combination of those colors. In communities and countries with breed bans, he is often among the breeds that are outlawed. Here is what you should know about the Perro de Presa Canario.

Is the Perro de Presa Canario the Right Dog for You?

The Presa Canario is not an appropriate choice for an inexperienced dog owner. First-time dog owners and people who have had only “soft” breeds such as retrievers, spaniels or toy breeds need not apply. This dog is large, powerful, intelligent, active and headstrong. A Presa Canario needs a leader who can guide him with firmness and consistency and without using force or cruelty.

Early, frequent socialization is essential. Purchase a Presa Canario puppy from a breeder who raises the pups in the home and ensures that they are exposed to many different household sights and sounds, as well as people, before they go off to their new homes.

Continue socializing your Presa Canario throughout his life by taking him to puppy kindergarten class, visits to friends and neighbors, and outings to local shops and businesses. This is the only way he can learn to be discriminating, recognizing what is normal and what is truly a threat. That said, no amount of socialization will make him friendly toward one and all. The Presa Canario is first and foremost a guard dog, and he takes his responsibilities seriously.

Begin training as soon as you bring your Perro de Presa Canario puppy home, while he is still at a manageable size. A nothing-in-life-is-free program, requiring puppies to “work” for everything they get by performing a command before receiving meals, toys, treats or play, often works well with this breed. It’s always a good idea to take a Presa Canario to puppy kindergarten followed by basic obedience class, especially if you are working with a trainer who understands the Perro de Presa Canario mindset.

The Presa Canario has a high activity level and needs a job to do, which can be anything from being your on-leash jogging companion to daily training activities. He will not be satisfied to lie around and do nothing all the time.

He must also be prevented from chasing and killing cats or small dogs belonging to the neighbors. The Presa Canario has a high prey drive and a territorial nature, so he needs a strong, solid fence at least six feet high to keep him on his own property. An underground electronic fence is never appropriate for this breed.

Like any dog, Perro de Presa Canario puppies are inveterate chewers and because of their size can do a whole lot of damage. Don’t give them the run of the house until they’ve reached trustworthy maturity. And keep your Perro de Presa Canario puppy busy with training, play and socialization experiences. A bored Perro de Presa Canario is a destructive Perro de Presa Canario, taking up digging, chewing and other undesirable behaviors.

The Perro de Presa Canario should spend plenty of time indoors and outdoors with his family. Chaining a Presa Canario out in the yard and giving him little or no attention is not only cruel, it can also lead to aggression and destructive behavior.

The Perro de Presa Canario has a smooth coat that sheds. Brush him at least once a week to remove dead hair and keep the skin and coat healthy. Clean the ears and trim the nails as needed, and bathe the Presa Canario on the rare occasions that he’s dirty.

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Perro de Presa Canario Puppy

  1. Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. Perro de Presa Canario is not especially common, so you may have a wait of six months or even a year or more before a puppy is available.
  2. Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Perro de Presa Canarios aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Perro de Presa Canario can live to be 10 or more years old, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.
  3. Puppy or adult, take your Perro de Presa Canario to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues, and in particular to watch out for the early signs of diabetes and skin problems, including ear infections.
  4. Don’t ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site that offers many breeds and popular mixes, or that ships with no questions asked. If you buy a puppy from these sources, you’ll be more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
  5. Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Health Issues Common to Perro de Presa Canarios

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

The Perro de Presa Canario has some health conditions that can be a concern, especially if you aren’t cautious about whom you buy from. They include orthopedic problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans and panosteitis; eye problems such as entropion; autoimmune thyroiditis and demodectic mange; epilepsy; and cryptorchidism (a single testicle or a testicle retained inside the body). The breed may also be prone to gastric torsion, also known as bloat, and anterior cruciate ligament tears.

Ask the breeder to show evidence that a puppy’s parents have OFA or PennHIP clearances for hip dysplasia, plus OFA elbow clearances. Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Hip Dysplasia
Medium $1,500-$6,000
Elbow Dysplasia Medium $1,500-$4,000
Osteochondrosis Medium $2,000-$4,000
Panosteitis Medium $200-$800
Entropion Medium $300-$1,500
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat) Medium $1,500-$7,500
Cruciate Ligament Injury Medium $1,000-$3,000
Estimates based on claims paid by Embrace Pet Insurance


Pet Insurance for Perro de Presa Canarios

Pet insurance for Perro de Presa Canarios costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Perro de Presa Canarios are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Perro de Presa Canarios are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Perro de Presa Canario is when he’s a healthy puppy. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.