Presa Canario Breeding Before Breed Recognition

Presa Canario Breeding

Before the Presa Canario was recognized as a breed by the FCI, a Presa Canario breeder had specific priorities. It is likely not surprising to learn that breed recognition often changes standards, and breeders define new characteristics. Here is an overview of how Presa Canario breeding evolved with recognition.
Desirable characteristics

The Presa Canario was developed on two Spanish islands: Tenerife and Gran Canaria. There were likely other islands where the breed developed, but the bulk of the genetic material formed mainly on those two.

Original breeders focused on what they valued personally in the breed. Temperament, body structure, face shape and strong bones were the original focal points. As the dogs were originally bred to protect cattle from wild dogs, strong stock was sorely needed. This was especially valued when the dogs were used for dog fighting events before the brutal practice finally ended in the mid-1950s.

When breed recognition started, preferences became much more specific. Body proportion and the number of ribs were standard, along with preferred colors. Breeders sought a balanced character, and the island of Gran Canaria especially valued mouths with tong or scissor bites.
This was also a time for defining defects. Excessive size, coats that were excessively white, flat ribs and oval eyes were considered detrimental to the breed. Many breeders stopped their efforts out of pure frustration as, in their minds, the community was becoming elitist. However, this did not prevent the breed from evolving and attracting attention from those interested in unique Spanish dog breeds.

Evolution of the breed

As it evolved, there were fewer examples of what was considered optimal for the Presa Canario. When the celebration of the first edition occurred on December 6, 1990 at Ferial del Cabildo de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 203 specimens were registered and 23 consented to competition. The seventh and last edition, presented on October 11 and 13, 1997 showed 103 examples for competition, and only 63 reflected the initial registration of the breed.

This shows that the breed standards stabilized, and in the last edition, the adults in the show ring were fairly homogenous. There were several rings of puppies and young dogs, and there was more diversity. Registration of the breed decreases as populations of the Presa Canario grow.

However, none of this dissipated the Presa Canario’s reputation as a loyal family dog that bonds to his humans closely. With training, they become natural protector dogs as well as therapy and service dogs. They are working dogs, and if you have a job for one, they would be an excellent addition to your family. Just as with any breed of dog, be sure you have the time and financial resources to invest in good training.

Cabeza Grande Kennel is a Presa Canario breeder that focuses on the U.S. market. If you are interested in learning more or reserving a puppy from one of our upcoming litters, contact us today and see if the Presa Canario is the right match for your family.

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