If you’re the type of person who loves big dogs and are in the market to bring home a new puppy, you might find yourself looking at Presa Canario puppies. An offshoot of the mastiff family, Presa Canarios certainly fit the bill for “big dogs”—but that doesn’t mean they’re an option for everyone. If you’re a first-time dog owner or inexperienced with working/guard dogs, you might want to think twice before talking with a Presa Canario breeder.
Not a good breed for first-timers
While some dogs like Huskies or Shiba Inus aren’t recommended for first-time owners because of their high energy and restlessness, Presa Canarios aren’t recommended for other reasons—namely, because of their stringent training requirements.
Presas need lifelong training, starting from their earliest age (three weeks). The reason is because these dogs are well bred to be guard and working dogs, and their instincts have been honed to make them exceptional at their job. Without proper training and socialization, desirable Presa Canario characteristics can quickly become problems. An unruly or undisciplined Presa can become a danger to you, your family or even themselves.
The demands of Presa owners
If you’re like most people, you go to work from 9 to 5, five days a week. While you’re at work, your dog is left alone in their kennel or free to roam the house—and for most breeds, that’s okay. Not for Presa Canarios, however. These dogs need constant exercise and challenging, which means they need to be engaged often by trainers and owners to channel their focus and energy correctly.
Presas are naturally cautious and wary of strangers or anything they don’t understand. Without proper training, this can manifest in bad ways. A well-trained Presa will be able to distinguish between a visitor and a guest vs. an intruder. Training also makes these dogs safe around small children and other pets. Without this extreme focus on training, Presas can develop anxious, bad habits that can manifest in aggression.
Finally, it’s important to remember that Presas are BIG dogs! They need lots of space to roam and run, and plenty of opportunities to unleash pent-up energy. It’s not enough to let your Presa run around the yard by itself—it needs exercise opportunities that are engaging.
Cost and lifelong considerations
The other prohibitive part about owning a Presa as a first-time dog owner is their cost of ownership. From the start, these dogs are expensive. Presa Canario breeders charge in the tens of thousands for a well-bred dog with good temperament. From there, their sheer size means Presas require more money spent on food, toys, beds and vet visits.
There are also some potential health costs to be aware of as Presas age. Their size and stature can leave them prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as cherry eye—a common mastiff trait. Ligament tears are also something to be aware of—the result of intense activity and a massive frame.
Not for first-time owners
While their size and appearance may be everything you’re looking for in a big dog, it’s important not to ignore the Presa Canario characteristics that make them prohibitive for first-time owners. Consider this breed only if you’re willing to make significant commitments in your dog in terms of cost, attention, training, exercise and care.