The Presa Canario originated in the Canary Islands. As far back as the 1500s there are numerous references to the Canary “presa” dogs in historical documents, especially the local archives. Despite there being no description of the dog’s biotype, there are references to the dogs’ function at that time. Basically they were used as guard and cattle dogs. There are also frequent references to their use by butchers. These functions imply a robust morphology, agility and speed.
The breed developed from the crossing of the original Presa with the Bardino Majorero, which is native to the island of Fuerteventura and widespread throughout the islands, and dogs brought from Britain, in particular, varieties of the Spanish Presa such as the heavy Molosoid or Dogo and the Alano.
“Duna”Owners: Irina & Alex VyatkinThe cross-breeding of these different species resulted in a large breed with coloring that varies from brindle to uniform fawn, all with some white markings.
The various shades of brindle may be tiger, silver and golden, from dark brown to light gray. The uniform fawn color may range from sand to dark ochre. No solid black or white with black markings is allowed. Note that no matter what color brindle or fawn the Presa is, it must have dark eyes with black nose and lips.
“Tammay”Owner: Michael Perry The Presa has always been used as a fighting dog, and was popular to this end in the Islands through the first three decades of the 1900s. There were no regulations and kennels were set up to select the best fighting specimens, with no consideration for characteristics of the breed. Due to this, purely functional fighting characteristics determined the selection and breeding of the Canary Presa. When dog fighting was banned in the 1940s, the breeding and selection of the Presa fell out of favor, and these fine animals were reduced to merely sheparding or guard duties. The situation was made worse by the influx of foreign breeds to the point of near extinction around 1960.
It was at this time, when as breeding decreased and lesser breeds were no longer crossed with the pure Presa, that a purer and more selective animal was obtained through higher selectivity.
This decade was probably the lowest point in history for the Presa, with very few purebred animals left, dispersed all over the country side with no breeding control or record of pedigree.
However, at the onset of the 1970s interest was renewed in preserving this unique dog, among enthusiasts and fanciers who respected the tradition and origin of the Presa. The resurgence shows that the interest in this dog survived over the years, especially among dedicated breeders who made enormous efforts to regenerate this almost extinct breed of gripping dog as part of the Canary Island heritage.
“Chavez”Owner: Michael Perry
Since 1975 it is evident that the enthusiasm for preserving this breed has mounted, especially among young people who have bred consistently, therefore reviving the breed.
At the end of 1982, a group of breeders from Tenerife, responsible for the greater part of the Presa population, collaborated to form an association to advance the recovery of the Canary Presa in accordance with traditional values. This resulted in the founding of the Spanish Club of the Canary Presa, with the object of continuing breeding and obtaining official recognition of the Presa in international circles. Since then the Presa Club has unceasingly promoted the Presa by many means.
“Teneo De Haridan”Owner: Michael Perry In 1990, the National Perro de Presa Canario Club was formed in the United States.
The Presa Canario is recognized and registered by the Federation of International Canines.
“Henderson’s Butcher”Owner: Clark Henderson
Although a large dog, the Presa is quiet and subdued in the home. Devoted to his family, he makes an obedient, reliable family protector. His powerful appearance, severe expression and low, deep bark, makes him unfriendly towards strangers.
The Presa Hard body and strong temperament style allows him to be very competative in weight pulling. Loyal, devoted and eager to please, allows the Presa to compete successfully in obedience and Schutzhund work.
Presas are regularly used as catch dogs for hogs and flock guardians for lambs. Depending on how the Presa is trained, he can be one of the fiercest catch dogs one will see, stopping even the largest and unruliest hog dead in his tracks or he can be the gentlest giant, keeping a careful eye out for danger, thus protecting his young charges.
The Presa is truly one of the most even tempered and all around finest working dogs that you will find.