All About the Presa Canario

Learn more about this mastiff breed.
By: PawCulture Editors
Presa Canario

About This Breed

A mastiff breed from the Canary Islands, the Presa Canario has a commanding appearance and may even be a potentially dangerous guard dog if raised by an inexperienced owner. Find out everything you need to know about the breed and to handle him properly before making one part of your family.

Physical Characteristics

The Presa Canario has a large head and heavy, rectangular body.


The breed can come in many different colors including black, brown, fawn, gold, gray, orange, silver and tiger.



Personality and Temperament


Moderate to high


The breed makes a fantastic working and guard dog. If raised properly, they can be calm, attentive, obedient and docile with family.


The Presa Canario does not make a good choice for a first-time dog owner and requires lifelong training starting from the puppyhood onward to ensure it is socialized correctly. The breed also requires extensive daily exercise.



The Presa Canario needs a lot of space to run and plenty of work to keep them busy. They are not good pets for first-time dog owners or for people with small children or other pets unless they are properly trained.


If handled and trained properly, the Presa Canario can be a calm, loyal breed, but they require a lot of attention and early training and socialization. The Presa Canario is also curious and wary of strangers. That, along with his deep bark, makes him a great guard dog but also one that may not be able to distinguish between a friendly visitor and an intruder. Active and athletic, the dog requires daily exercise and they make great exercise companions.


Health problems common in the Presa Canario include orthopedic conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans and panosteitis, as well as eye problems, hypothyroidism, demodectic mange, epilepsy and cryptorchidism (or a single testicle or testicle retained inside the body). Bloat is also common, as well as ligament tears.

History and Background

Believed to date back to the 15th or 16th century, the Presa Canario is a mastiff breed descended from the Canary Islands by Spanish conquistadores. They were used to guard farms, wrangle cattle and drive off or kill other stray or wild dogs.

In the 1970s the breed gained popularity again by people who were hoping to create a courageous and strong work dog.