Where Are Presa Canarios From?

The Perro De Presa Canario, or the Presa Canario as they are popularly known, is a large dog belonging to the mastiff dog category. Due to its large morphology and great instinct, the Presa Canario has conventionally been used as a working dog, mostly for guarding, hunting, and herding. The dog was also used in dogfights, dwindling their numbers close to extinction before the banning of dogfighting. Presa Canario is still used as a guard dog, following decades of cross-breeding, making the dog bolder, stronger, and more intelligent. So, where are Presa Canarios from? 

Where Did Presa Canarios Come From?

Presa Canario is a sturdy dog breed whose origin is traced to the Canary Islands, an independent Spanish archipelago area located in the Atlantic Ocean. Presa Canario is a descendant of various ancient mastiff dogs native to the Canaries and commonly used to herd cattle. These breeds include the Perro de Granado Majorero, Presa Espanol, and Perro Bardino, also known as Bardino Majorero. The Presa Canario was also influenced by cross-bleeding with some Molosser dogs, such as the bulldog and pitbull, which were later introduced in the Islands. It explains some similarities in physical features that the Presa Canario shares with these dogs. The cross-breeding and versatility that the present-day Presa Canario has undergone hints at the rich history of Presa Canario dogs.

History of the Presa Canario Dog

The American Kennel Club pins down the roots of this dog from the popular mastiff breed common in the Canary Islands back to the 15th and 16th centuries, following the conquest of the Canaries. These dogs were typically used as farm guides, offering protection to cattle from wild animals of prey and annihilating unwanted stray dogs. Tenerife Island’s Town Council issued a decree in 1526 declaring a verdict to kill Presa Canario dogs as they destroyed farm animals. It contributed to the decline in the number of these dogs. Later, after introducing the dogfighting tradition in the Canaries by British colonials, the Presa Canario was picked for the dog fights because of their physical features. Dogfighting further reduced the number of these dogs. This tradition also introduced bulldogs and pit bull terriers to the Canary Islands, leading to their cross-breeding, which resulted in their similar physical features. 

Dogfights were criminalized in the Canary Islands between the 1940s and 1950s, and the breeding of the Presa Canario was strictly controlled. It led to the breed coming close to extinction. However, efforts to revive and ensure a steady number of Presa Canarios by trustworthy breeders started in the 1970s. By 1982, the Presa Canario breed recovered and was recognized as a reinstated Spanish dog breed. Since 1996, it has been documented in the Foundation Stock Service. Grand Canaria Island uses the Presa Canario as its animal emblem. 

Given the history of Presa Canario dogs, they might not come across as friendly animals. However, through proper handling and training by an experienced dog owner, they become peaceful, affectionate, and a great human companion. However, they are aggressive without proper training and have been prohibited in some countries due to their territorial behavior. They are allowed in the United States, with some reservations in some states. D & G Kennels is one of the few Presa Canario breeders in Georgia and the rest of the States.