The Presa Canario Is a Mastiff Breed Typically Used to Herd Cattle

Posted by Christy Caplan
Presa Canario

This dog is not a good candidate for an inexperienced dog owner. The Presa Canario is a Mastiff breed.

We've written many articles about this beautiful dog breed and we always reinforce to owners what we've learned from experts. The Perro de Presa Canario served many purposes. They guarded the farms, helped catch and hold cattle, and exterminated wild or stray 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. 

Breed overview tells us that this dog is large, powerful, intelligent, and headstrong.

"The breed standard says he should be calm, attentive and self-confident, obedient, and docile with family members and suspicious of strangers. But dogs don't come ready-made with those qualities. A Presa Canario needs a leader who can develop and manage those characteristics by guiding the dog with firmness and consistency and without using force or cruelty."

  • Breed Group: Working
  • Height: 22 to 25.5 inches. at shoulder
  • Weight: 88 to 110 pounds or more
  • Life Span: 10 to 12 years


The ancestors of the Perro de Presa Canario were probably brought to the Canary Island by the Spanish Conquistadors and coexisted with indigenous cattle dogs from the beginning of the fifteenth century. 

VetStreet also confirms that the dogs that were likely figured in the development of the Presa Canario include the Iberian Presa, a mastiff type, and various types of bulldogs, known as Alanos. A sheepdog called the Bardino Majorero, notable for intelligence, guardian instincts, courage, and an impressive set of teeth was the final addition to the mix.

The Presa has been a part of the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service since 1996. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2003. 

Overall care 

This high energy breed will benefit from activities like swimming, hiking, and retrieving balls or flying discs. They need proper training! 

Experts confirm that because of its history as a guard dog, the Presa breed is strong-willed, intelligent, and suspicious of strangers. Owners may need to increase chances for socialization and training as a puppy to safely interact with others, particularly in a home with children or other pets.

Overall, the Presa is observant, curious, and wary of strangers. Those qualities, combined with his deep bark, make him a very effective watchdog and guard dog. 

Health Concerns

Talk to your breeder about these common health concerns. The Presa has known orthopedic conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems such as entropion; hypothyroidism; demodectic mange; epilepsy; and cryptorchidism. The breed like other large breeds may also be prone to bloat.

The Presa Canario has been banned from several countries. The breed is allowed in the United States, but not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club

Make sure you use a reputable breeder when looking for a Presa Canario puppy. You can talk to them about general health problems like hip dysplasia to look out for, obedience training, and energy level.

Have you lived with a Mastiff breed? Let us know in the comments.

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The Presa Canario Is a Mastiff Breed Typically Used to Herd Cattle