Presa Canarios: Past and Present

The original specimens

If you purchase a puppy from Cabeza Grande Kennel, you are acquiring a dog with a distinguished history. That is why we are committed to responsible breeding practices that produce “total” Presa Canarios. Whether you seek a protector, companion or champion, the Presa Canario may be a good match for you. Here is a history of this breed and what it offers.

Research reveals that Presa Canarios arose from mastiff-type dogs brought to the Canary Islands in the 15th or 16th century. Their original purpose was to guard livestock from predators. Their background includes the Iberian Presa and the Alano. The Iberian Presa remains today and is a rare breed. Alanos, which were bulldog types, were long believed extinct—however, the Alano Español remains today, albeit in small numbers.

There is also research revealing that the Bardino Majorero is part of the Presa Canario development. As a sheepdog, the Bardino Majorero would contribute to the Presa Canario’s ability to act as a guardian for cows and sheep. While the current breeds today are mainly cattle dogs, in earlier times, they would have to serve as protectors for many types of livestock.

In the 1970s, breeders focused on producing a dog that was strong, confident and territorial. This is now the foundation for breed standards, and like other dog breeds, they are divided into categories of working guardians, breeding candidates and pet quality.

To advance these standards, a Presa Canario breed club formed in the Canary Islands in 1982. In 1996, the American Kennel Club became accepting of them as part of their Foundation Stock Service. The United Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 2003. At this time, there are few registrations in the United States, which is why there is no other official AKC registration other than the Foundation Stock Service.

The Presa Canario today

The Presa Canario is now recognized as a breed with a solid head, wide muzzle, powerful jaws and a croup higher than the withers. This results in a strong breed that moves swiftly over terrain. A short neck and loose skin also give the breed good protection if it must fight off a predator or intruder.’=

Presa Canarios must be trained early so they are not aggressive towards strangers and other guards. The myth of the “natural protector” often leads to people avoiding the advanced obedience training needed to ensure their dog is an effective and safe guard dog.

However, Presa Canarios are best defined by their courage and loyalty. They become very tight with their families and make excellent companions and family dogs. While there is responsibility in owning this breed, the benefits are often worth the effort—especially if you work with a reputable breeder who takes the time to determine your best match.

Cabeza Grande Kennel is committed to honoring a history of excellence for the Presa Canario breed. We offer breeding services, and also have litters for sale. If you are interested in learning more or reserving a puppy from our next litter, contact us today to discuss the details.

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