What is a Perro de Presa Canario
The ancestors of the Perro de Presa Canario were probably brought to the Canary Island by the Spanish Conquistadors, and coexisted with indigenous cattle dogs from the beginning of the fifteenth century. These dogs served many purposes. They guarded the farms, helped catch and hold cattle, and exterminated wild or stray dogs. In the 1940s, the breed began to decline in numbers. It was revived again in the 1970s, when reputable breeders developed and bred Presas true to their original size and character.
The breed is also characterized by a sloping topline (with the rear being slightly higher than the shoulders). Another characteristic of the breed is the shape of the paws (cat foot) and the catlike movement of the animal. The body is mesomorphic, that is, slightly longer than the dog is tall, contributing to the feline movement. The Presa Canario is a moderately large, powerfully constructed dog with a harsh-textured, flat coat. The head is massive and cuboid. Ears are set just above the line of the eye and may be cropped, naturally pendent or rose.
The body of the Presa Canario is slightly longer than its height at the withers, with a broad, deep chest, but females may be slightly longer and possess somewhat less rib spring than the males. Skin is thick and elastic. The distance from the withers to the elbow is roughly equal to the distance from the elbow to the ground. The tail is very thick at the base, and tapers to a point. The tail is moderately high and reaches to the hock. The overall impression is that of an imposing, solid guard dog.
The coat is short with no undercoating and slightly coarse to the touch. The coat comes in all shades of fawn and brindle. The acceptance of the black coat is a point of contention among connoisseurs, as it is allowed by the AKC/FSS, UKC and UPPCC standards, but not by the FCI or FCI standards. White is allowed up to 20 percent and is most commonly found on the chest and feet, and occasionally on a blaze on the muzzle. The breed standard requires black pigmentation and dogs should have a black mask that does not extend above the eyes. The breed is renowned for its minimal shedding.
The essential characteristics of the Presa are those which enable it to drive and hold cattle, and to guard its home and family. These tasks require a powerful, agile, courageous dog with a large head and powerful jaws. The Presa is extremely affectionate, docile and well behaved with its owner and family, but is wary of strangers and aggressive with other dogs.
Serious Fault: Unstable temperament
BREED STANDARD FOR THE PERRO DE PRESA CANARIO (Official Translation of the Breed Standard of the Club Espanol de Presa Canario)
Aspects considered by judges:
I. BREED NAME AND SYNONYM
Name: Presa Canario (in Spanish) Synonym: Perro Baste and Verdino for brindled specimens.
II. ORIGINS AND DIFFUSION OF THE BREED
Molossoid dog, native to the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, in the Canary Archipelago, where it was originally bred for fighting purposes. Basically, the Presa dog is the result of crossbreeding between the Bardino or Majorero from the island of Fuerteventura and molossoid dogs that were introduced to the islands from abroad. Its fiery temperament is inherited from the Bardino, a pre-hispanic, hard-working and aggressive cattle dog, widely distributed throughout the islands. The resulting crossbreed has a black mask and a brindled or fawn coat with white spots. A few decades ago, a group of breeders began the process of recovering the breed, drawing on tradition and their experience. Since then, the Presa Canario has been carefully bred and widely promoted.
III. GENERAL APPEARANCE AND CHARACTER
Physical Description: Of medium height, eumetric, straight profile. Robust and well proportioned, mesomorphic, the body being longer than the height at the shoulder, more so in females. The head is large, square and wide-skulled. Slightly flaccid overlapping flews. Black mouth lining. Strong teeth, wide apart, generally fitting. Chestnut-colored eyes of medium size. Ears set high. Round, powerful, muscular neck with thick fur and loose skin. Slight dewlap. Short, straight back Wide tail base. Chest wide and deep. Stomach slightly updrawn. Forequarters straight, large bone and strong cat feet. Powerful, muscular hindquarters “with moderately angled stifles, strong cat like feet, rear slightly longer than front feet. Thick, elastic skin. Short slightly rough hair, without an undercoat. Coat in brindled specimens should be fawn and black with black mask.
Character and Temperament: Powerful appearance, severe expression. Especially suited to protecting, guarding duties and traditionally used for herding cattle and dog-fighting. Impetuous temperament. Low, deep bark. Obedient, reliable family protector, unfriendly towards strangers.
IV. MORPHOLOGICAL DATA
In general, there are more or less long white markings on the chest. The mask is always dark and may blend around the eyes.
Weight: Average male: 45-57 kgs. (100-125 lbs.). Average female: 40-50 kgs. (88-110 lbs.).
Slight defects (1)
• Presence of spur.
• Poor nose pigmentation.
• Excessive prognatism.
• Specimens with slight hound-like appearance
The gait, or movement, of the dog is assessed by the judge when the dog is competing.
• Poor mask.
• Sickle legged or cow hocks.
• Unbalanced character.
• Frail or thinnish appearance.
• Cranio-facial disproportion.
• Curled tail, of equal thickness all the way, amputated or mutilated
Total disqualification (2)
• Monorchid, cryptorchid or castrated specimens.
• More than 20% white markings.
• Totally unpigmented nose or mouth lining.
Most important aspects:
1. Head (typicality): Massive. Muzzle well filled out. Dark colored eyes, well separated. Stop defined, but not too abrupt. Straight nose, not arched. Upper lip not withdrawn Sufficient wrinkle. Well aligned bite, but not level. Reject specimens with level bite.
2. Body: Rectangular, longish, medium sized. Reject height that is neither functional nor characteristic. Well-sloped shoulders. Very arching ribs. Chest deep and the wider the better. Very well-developed pectorals. Separate elbows, not turned out. Strong-boned. Loins higher than withers & well developed. Slight angulation of hind legs.
-Perro De Presa Canario: Special Rare-Breed Edition : A Comprehensive Owner’s Guide
-United Kennel Club
-Fédération Cynologique Internationale
The standard was clearly indispensable. Without it, it was practically impossible to “picture” the new Presa, which had been bred since the 1500’s. The standard was to become the guide for breeders. In most cases, a breed standard illustrates an imaginary dog, because the “perfect dog” that the standard describes does not exist in Nature. Mother Nature does not allow perfection in a living creature; thus, breeders attempt to produce a dog that is as close to perfection as possible. In the case of the new Presa, the standard indeed was used to recreate the breed, not just reproduce better typical specimens from existing typical specimens. That a breed standard is but a written document and, by its very nature, subject to interpretation by each person-breeder, judge, trainer, owner who reads it, complicates the matter greatly. Thus, each breeder’s interpretation, good, bad or indifferent, is in his mind’s eye when he is selecting dogs for his own breeding program. Worse yet, and this is a frequent and regrettable scenario, many Presa breeders today disregard the standard entirely when planning a breeding. The result is that the puppies produced, and the whole of a breeder’s line, lack type and genetic consistency. Thus, today there are many different types of Presas around the world: some of which mirror the breed standard quite accurately, and others that bear no resemblance whatsoever, in appearance or behavior, to the Presa described in the breed standard. Over the past quarter century, many breeders have continued to breed their Presas to other breeds that are imported into their countries. This only yields Presas that do not look like Presas and do not act like Presas, and thus are not Presas at all! By breeding and selecting according to the standard, we are shaping the Perro de Presa Canario. Yet, a breed is not a breed until it is “officially recognized” by a national kennel club. In the Canary Islands and Spain, this is the Spanish Royal Canine Society (RSCE); throughout Europe and beyond, it is the Federation Internationale Cynologique (FCI), which accepted the breed in June 2001 as the Doge Canario, a name which the author and many others oppose. In the United Kingdom, the registry is known as The Kennel Club, which will likely never accept the Presa due to the country’s “Dangerous Dog” laws. In the USA, where the Presa Canario has a promising future, the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the States Kennel Club (SKC) are all-breed registries. The breed’s parent club is the Dogo Canario Club of America.