The Presa Canario is a mastiff dog breed that originated in the Canary Islands. It is a large and imposing breed that weighs 88 to 110 pounds and stands 56 to 65 centimetres. The Presa is bred to work livestock and as a catch dog, driving and guarding cattle against prey. This dog is calm and placid thriving in a home environment. It is an excellent watchdos and guard dog, very loyal and protective.
Are you planning to buy a Presa Canario? Here is a brief background on this large mastiff dog.
The Presa Canario originated in the Canary Islands and dates back to the 15th and 16th century. The breed is believed to have descended from mastiff-type dogs brought by Spanish conquistadores to the Canary Islands where it was bred and developed to guard farms and drive off or kill wild dogs.
Dog breeds that likely contributed to the Presa Canario's bloodline include the Iberian Presa and other types of mastiffs and bulldogs. The Bardino Majorero, a sheepdog with notable intelligence, courage and guarding instincts, was later added to the mix. With its powerful build and daring characteristic, the Presa Canario became popular in the dog-fighting circles until the practice was prohibited in the 1940s.
The number of the Presa Canario breed began to decline, not only because of the dog-fighting ban but also due to the introduction of other guard dog breeds such as the German Shepherd Dog and the Doberman Pinscher. In the 1970s, the interest for the breed increased, and some breed enthusiasts decided to reconstruct the Presa with the goal of developing a massive, strong, fearless, highly territorial and calm dog breed.
By 1982, a breed club was formed in the Canary Islands. It was recognised by the United Kennel Club in 2003, but The Kennel Club in the UK has yet to recognise the Presa Canario as a breed of its own right.
Appearance and Grooming
The Presa Canario is a large-size dog with a thick and stocky body. The breed has a standard size of 88 to 110 pounds and 56 to 65 centimetres. The head is massive, broad and wedge-shaped. The ears are cropped to create a daunting expression and to prevent being damaged while working the cattle. When not cropped, the ears lie close to the head and hang down to a rose shape. The dog has a pendulous upper lip, with the front, upper and lower lips forming an inverted V, while the flews are divergent.
The Presa Canario sports a single coat that is short, flat and harsh to the touch. The coat comes in various colours or shades of fawn, black, and brindle. It is low maintenance when it comes to grooming and sheds very little. Brush the dog once a week to remove dead hair to keep the coat healthy. Bathing should be done only when necessary. However, the breed shed seasonally during spring and autumn and as such should be brushed more frequently.
The rest is basic dog grooming. Trim the nails when necessary, usually once every two weeks. The teeth should regularly be brushed to avoid gum disease and to promote overall oral health. The ears should be checked weekly for dirt or any signs of infection and must be cleaned weekly with a vet-approved solution. When you notice something that is not normal during grooming, immediately consult a veterinarian.
Temperament and Intelligence
Presas may appear daunting and imposing, but they are actually calm and well-behaved dogs that thrive in a home environment. They love nothing more than to be involved in everything around the family. True to their protective and guarding instincts, they are suspicious and wary of strangers, which is why they are highly prized watchdogs and guard dogs. They are also smart and fast learners so training would be easy with the right hands.
With this said, training should be done at an early age, so they understand their place in the pack in the household. They are not suitable for novice dog owners since they need owners who know how to handle a large and dominant dog breed. Once trained, the dog will settle well in their environment and will start to form tight bonds with the owners and naturally protect them from harm. Although early socialisation is crucial for this type of breed, it is a mistake to think that Presas will shed their protective instincts, which are deeply embedded in their consciousness.
The Presa Canario is known as a docile dog, despite its imposing appearance. However, they are not suited to households with babies and toddlers. Their large forms can easily knock over small children and accidents may happen. It is crucial that any interaction between the Presa Canario and any children, regardless of age, is always supervised. Presas get on well with other dogs but might become a bit aggressive towards male dogs they meet. Also, care should be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets since they have a high prey drive.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Presa Canario is 3 to 4 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. How much to feed your dog will vary since it depends on the dog's age, size, build, health, metabolism, and activity level. The best thing to do before you hit the pet supply store is to consult and seek advice from a veterinarian. As a rough guide, here is a typical daily calorie an adult Presa Canario that weighs 90 pounds:
- Senior and less active: up to 1,810 calories daily
- Typical adults: up to 2,030 calories daily
- Physically active/working dogs: up to 2,265 calories daily
Since the Presa Canario is large in size, it is best to buy commercial dog food that is high in animal protein and is formulated for large dog breeds. Strictly follow the feeding schedule and carefully measure each serving. Also, avoid free-feeding as this can cause gastric torsion or bloat.
Health and Exercise
The Presa Canario has a lifespan of 9 to 11 years if given the proper care and attention. However, this generally healthy and imposing dog breed is still predisposed to health issues such as Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Osteochondritis Dissecans Panosteitis, Arthritis, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Demodectic Mange, Epilepsy, Cryptorchidism, Bloat, and Obesity.
Presas are moderately active dogs that require the right amount of physical and mental exercises. They will need at 40 to 60 minutes of daily exercises and as much off the lead time as possible. When they are off the lead, make sure that they are within a safe and securely fenced back garden. If not provide the exercise they deserve, they become bored and destructive.
Cost of Ownership
If you are considering keeping a Presa Canario, you would need to go on a waiting list first as this breed is rare in the UK. The price for a well-bred pedigree puppy is at least £500. To ensure that it grows healthy, you would need to feed it high quality dog food, which can cost from £40 - £50 a month. You would also need to buy it treats and accessories such as food bowls, leads, collars, and bed. The initial combined cost for these things can set you back £200 depending on the brands you opt for.
Aside from the initial purchase, pet insurance is another cost that you will have to shoulder monthly, ranging from £51 for a basic cover up to £94 for a lifetime cover. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, size, weight, and where you live in the UK.
You may also need to set aside £1200 a year for veterinary consultations and other necessary procedures such as vaccinations, boosters, neutering/spaying as these are not always covered by pet insurance. To give you a rough idea on how much you will likely spend month on month, it would be within the range of £100 and £150. This is exclusive of walking or grooming services that you might want to use at times.
Presa Canario Breed Highlights
- The Presa Canario is a mastiff dog breed that originated in the Canary Islands.
- It is low maintenance when it comes to grooming and sheds very little.
- It looks daunting but is actually a calm, well-behaved and docile dog.
- Its protective instincts make it a highly-prized watchdog and guard dog.
- This dog is recommended for experienced owners without babies and toddlers.
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