The origin of Presa Canarios in the United States is a bit complicated. Much of this is due in part to the fact that there are two different breeds that are often confused for one another when the phrase “Presa Canario” is used. To truly understand the Presa Canario, you must acquaint yourself with its complex history in this country.
Presa Canarios come from Spain
Fully descended Presa Canario dogs are recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, giving the breed designation number 346. This official recognition was bestowed upon the Spanish dog breed in June 2001. The full pedigree of this breed traces its lineage directly from Spain, unlike the other breed that they are often confused for, the American Presa.
While the Presa Canario is considered a Spanish breed, this canine was a large part of the culture and lifestyle in the Canary Islands. When Spain conquered this island chain off the coast of northwestern Africa in the 16th century, the Spanish first discovered this unique dog breed and took it back to their home country with them. From there, the Presa Canario became a Spanish breed for the next several centuries.
The Presa arrives in the United States
In the 1980s, ads began appearing in dog magazines advertising more exotic breeds. At the time, it was considered fashionable to own exotic dog breeds, and many breeders were cashing in on the trend. This included what was incorrectly called the Presa Canario. In fact, American Presas do not derive their full bloodline from their relatives in Spain. These dogs are actually a line mixed with Presa genetics, thus creating the American Presa.
Their exact origin is up for some debate. Up to three different Presa Canario breeders lay claim to introducing the American Presa to this country. Since different supposed experts on this breed assert that they were the first to introduce the Presa Canario to the United States, their lineage is a bit muddled.
For instance, Tobin Jackson of the former Deer Run Kennels in Frenchtown, NY is one of the parties that claims to have brought Presas to the United States. Unfortunately, in the years that have passed, dog breeders have come to know Jackson and Deer Run Kennels for their less-than-stellar practices.
While Jackson said he only bred English Mastiffs, two dogs that were not English Mastiffs appeared at Deer Run: Enrico and Arbaco. (The lineage of these dogs is questionable, however.). Enrico, at least, sired two litters while at Deer Run. He and Arbaco were certainly not descendants of the English Mastiff that Deer Run was known for breeding.
Furthermore, Jackson spoke on the topic of Presas with author Dr. Carl Semencic, who wrote about Presas and other breeds in the book Pit Bulls and Tenacious Guard Dogs. This tome was one of the first introductions of the Presa to Americans.
Despite their somewhat confusing past, Presa Canario dogs are a one-of-a-kind breed. At Cabeza Grande Kennel, we pride ourselves on top quality breeding standards to ensure you are taking home a healthy, well-rounded Presa Canario. For information about these dogs, contact us today.