Is a Presa Canario the Right Pet for Me?

When choosing a dog breed, it’s important that you understand the characteristics of the breed and what they require before making the decision to adopt. The Presa Canario is a great example of a beautiful dog that has very specific needs—some families may simply not be able to properly care for this breed due to personality, other pets and more.
Before you head to your local Presa Canario breeder, learn more about what this breed needs from you as an owner, the challenges it may present and the type of household in which it will thrive.

General breed information

The Presa Canario breed originates from the Canary Islands, and has long been considered an excellent guard and cattle dog type—its heritage includes bulldog and mastiff genetics. They tend to be large, muscular dogs, with loud, low barks. Their coats are short and flat, with no undercoat, and come in all shades of brindle.

Presa Canarios typically weigh around 110 to 130 pounds for males, and 100 to 120 pounds for females. Males are around 23 to 26 inches tall, while females are 22 to 24 inches.


The Presa Canario is a very confident breed that requires an assertive owner for best results. Passive families can expect that their Presa Canario will take over the household quickly, and they will struggle to regain control.

When paired with the right owner, Presa Canarios tend to be obedient, loyal watchdogs that bond well with their owners. They can be trained to be “personal protection” dogs, but tend to be more suited in guarding property and homes.

Presa Canarios do not tend to thrive in homes with a pack of other dogs, and thanks to their hunting instinct, may need to be kept away from other animals. This breed tends to be an “alpha” breed, so other alpha dogs in close proximity may create conflict.

Special needs

Here are some other critical aspects of the Presa Canario to keep in mind:

  • Dominant owners: Above all, the Presa Canario needs a firm owner who isn’t afraid to set boundaries. This doesn’t mean that you need to be angry or violent with your dog—rather, you must have a firm personality and be used to training dogs. Otherwise, this dominant guard dog will take over the home.
  • Early socialization: If you have children in the home, each of them must be properly socialized with the dog. They should learn how to use commands, what to avoid and how to feed and play with the dog as early as possible. This will help the dog bond to your family members and see them as part of the group to protect. Neighborhood children should also be introduced early.
  • Exercise: The Presa Canario was bred as a cattle dog, imbuing them with plenty of energy that needs to be worked off each day. While they can live quite happily in small apartments, it’s important that you can take them out for runs and play.

Not sure if this is the right dog for you? A Presa Canario breeder can help you make a decision. Call Cabeza Grande Kennel to learn more about what it takes to be a Presa Canario owner.

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