A medium-tall and medium-sized dog, symmetrical, with a straight profile. Rustic appearance and well-proportioned. It is a mesomorph whose trunk is longer than its height at its shoulders. The females are generally longer than the males. A massive head, rather square, and a wide cranium. The upper lips cover the lower ones. Black mouth lining. Strong teeth wide apart and well set. Medium-sized brown eyes. Highly set ears. Round neck, very muscular and covered with a thick, loose, elastic skin. A slight dewlap. A highly set tail. A wide and very ample chest. A moderately tucked belly. Fore legs perfectly positioned, with wide, strong bones and pronounced angles which guarantee good shock absorption and a long trot. Rounded feet. Powerful, muscular back legs with medium angles and correct positioning with rounded feet being slightly longer than those in the front.. Thick elastic skin. Short hair with no undercoat, slightly rough. Black, fawn and striped coat. The mask is generally black.Functionality:The Presa Canario is a molosser, coming from the Canary Islands (Spain) with a solid and powerful look but at the same time agile and dynamic. It is a dog with a strong temperament, dominant and with a marked guard instict, very loyal with his family and very unstrustful towards strangers.The Presa Canario is a poliedric dog from a functional point of view. Even if he is a natural born guardian (and his instinct in this sense leaves no doubts) his powerful physical conformation with the impressive agility wich characterise his structure, make him particularly suited for the defense training, that we suggest to follow to all the owners of a Presa Canario.However, the functional training presuppose the completion of an obedience or ?education? course, that should be attended by each owner with his own dog, ideally when the pup is between the 6 and the 12 months old.This course prepares the field for the next working tests, helping to build and to consolidate the relationship between the dog and the owner and also helping the socialization process of the pup, that is really important in order to prevent disagreeable and dangerous episodes of aggressiveness, that are also extremely harmful for the reputation of the breed.A full course of guard and defense is the completion of a path and it will let show the phisicals and psychics skills of the Presa Canario: instinct, intelligence, courage, power, trustworthiness.As said above, the Presa Canario is a complete utility dog, suitable to a number of functional tests. In the United States, for example, some specimen are used with success for the competitions of Weight Pulling. Another functional discipline in wich the Presa Canario is used with very good results it is the wild board hunt.Summing all up, the Presa Canario thanks to his morphological and phyisical charasteristics can, without any doubt, obtain excellent results in a lot of functional disciplines.In order to transform these opportunities into objective results it will be necessary, however, a systematic work, responsible and shared by both enthusiasts and breeders, that must be conscious of the extreme importance of the methodical use of hip x-rays, parentage exams (DNA) and temperament tests. Defintely, for a functional breed like the Presa Canario the working test should be considered of much more importance than conformation show. Without these 3 points it will be difficult to better the breed.
It is important to specify that the modern Presa Canario nothing has to do with the ancient Presa Canario, quoted in the municipal ordinances of the Canary Islands since the first years of the XVI century and that were taken on the Islands by the conquerors coming from the Iberian peninsula. Without going into the historical details, it is enough to point out that, in the first decades of the XX century, with the prohibition of dog fightings (from wich we clearly take distance but that undeniably pertains to the history of our breed), the interest towards our breed went falling, bringing it pratically to the extinction.Luckily, starting from the first years of the Seventies there is a rebirth of the interest for the catch dogs and, thanks to crosses with different breeds, most of them molossers, come to light the (new) Presa Canario we know today. It is opportune to clear up that the genetic basis of the true modern Presa Canario is the Perro de Ganado Majorero, a herd dog original of the Fuerteventura island.In 2001, after years of questionable politic of the official Spanish Club of the Presa Canario, there is the recognition by the F.C.I. of the ?Dogo Canario?; it was the last straw that break the camel?s back: the spanish breed club, just to reach that objective, submitted itself to the wills of the FCI and accepted even the name change of the breed, name with deep historical origins but that the FCI judged ?politically uncorrect? for the presence of the word Presa (?catch?). As this was not enough, a number of modifications to the breed standard were made: first of all the unjustifiable exclusion of the black coat, the elimination of a maximum weight, the discrimination of the white markings. This was enough to start a little revolution: at this point a group of enthusiasts of the Presa Canario decide to work outside the officiality and to go on with the selection of the original Presa Canario, as it was described in the standard of the Real Sociedad Canina Espanola till 1999, wich should be considered the original and reference Standard of the breed (that included the black coat and did not discriminate in any way the white markings till the 30%).The 1st of January 2003, the Presa Canario enthusiast movement reach an important goal, that is the official recognition of the breed in the United States of America, by the United Kennel Club, of course with the original denomination and with a standard that is very close to the original one of the RSCE.Nowadays there is still a lot of work to do, but the thing we more care about are the results that are reachable on a breed betterment point of view, thanks to a serious selection process, based on the sistematic certification of hip displasia free for the dogs used in the reproduction lines and with the continous test of the temperament of both sires and dams.
The Presa Canario coat is short all over. Generally thicker around the shoulders, throat and crest of the hindquarters. No undercoat. Compact around the tail. Rustic aspect and a little coarse.Bardino coats (brindle) in a range from a very warm dark color to a neutral, light and fair gray. Black. Full range of tawny to sand-colored. White markings are possible on the chest (dogs called ?corbato?), on the neck (?acollarado?), on the belly (?bragado?), on the paws (calzado). The mask is always dark and can go up to the eyes.
The ailment wich breeder of the Presa Canario should try to reduce is surely hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, there are still too many breeders wich are not conscious of the importance of hip testing and that use their breeding stock without checking their hips.
Paolo Consolandi - www.elpresa.comÿ