The ”’Perro de Presa Canario”’ is a [[Molosser]] type [[dog]] from the Canary Islands. This large [[Dog breed|breed]] was originally bred as a multi-purpose [[farm dog]], being used as a cattle drover and [[guard dog]]. The name means the “Canarian Dog of Prey” and is sometimes simply called “Presa.”
The breed is originally from the [[Canary Islands]] in the 1700s, notably [[Tenerife]] and [[Gran Canaria]]. Its exact ancestry is unknown, but enthusiasts believe that the [[Perro de Bardino Majorero]], an established farm dog from the Canary Islands, was [[Crossbreed|cross]]ed with the [[Mastiff]] and Old-Style [[Bulldog]] brought from Europe to the Islands by visitors and colonists, creating the foundation for the modern Presa Canario. A number of Spanish breeds such as the [[Perro de Ganado Majorero]], [[Presa Español]], and [[Alano Español]] may have contributed to the development of the Presa Canario.
Presa type guard and [[Hunting dog|catch]] dogs are mentioned in historical documents of the 16th and 17th centuries. It is believed that the Perro de Presa Canario was created during the 18th century for the purpose of property and flock guarding as well as the holding and driving of livestock. The breed was also used for dog fighting, a tradition the English settlers transplanted along with their of Mastiff and Bulldog breeds. Canary Islanders consider these fights “honor fights” and not the sole purpose of the animal. They were used as guard dogs, and less often as farm dogs. Presa type dogs were referred to as the “perro de la tierra” or “dog of the land.”
The breed became nearly extinct after dog fighting was outlawed in the 1940s, but the breed was revived in the 1970s with the help of several crosses by various breeders. This period is generally known as the reconstruction of the breed, with atypical specimens becoming less common.
The Presa should be powerful, balanced, and imposing in appearance. It is heavily built, but able to move with great athleticism.
The head is broad, massive, square, and powerful.
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Proper head and good expression are part of the breed standard, and are manifest in the best breed specimens. The ears are normally [[docking (animals)|cropped]] both to create a more formidable expression, and to prevent damage while working with cattle. In countries where ear cropping is banned the ears should be pendant or “rose” shaped. The lips are thick and hang in an inverted V; the flews may be slightly loose.
[[Image:PresaLogoHead.jpg|thumb|150px|left|A portrait showing the breed’s distinctive head.]]
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 breed can adapt to various climates.
Females average between 22-25 inches at the withers and weigh between 88-105 pounds.
Males average between 23-26 inches at the withers and weigh between 110-125 pounds.
Generally speaking, exceeding the weights listed above could lead to a number of health problems. Too much weight is also known to compromise the dog’s athleticism and working ability.
===Coat and color===
One of the characteristics of the breed is the diversity of markings. Fawn comes in silver fawn, gold fawn, and red fawn. Brindle comes in colorings of black (and may appear solid), brown, and all shades in between. “Verdino” or greenish-tinted brindle is among the most traditional coat colors; reverse brindle or “atigrado claro” and silver fawn are among the most exotic.
The ideal coat is medium length and “rustic,” that is, slightly coarse to the touch. The breed is known for its very minimal shedding.
Presa Canarios have thick skin and short fur that comes in all shades of fawn and [[brindle]]. 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. This breed has never consisted of any shades of blue or grey.
See below for a brief discussion on coat genetics.
The Presa Canario breed is known for its calm temperament, which is often referred to as the “island temperament.” It is considered “gentle and noble” with the family, and distrusting of strangers. The Presa Canario forms a strong bond with its master and human family and can be very protective. The breed is intelligent and is known to possess a “severe gaze.”
In some situations, the Presa can be aggressive toward animals, other dogs, and even humans in rare cases. Once the dog has been properly socialized and trained, this becomes the exception rather than the rule. Many Presas share their homes with birds, cats, dogs, horses, reptiles and other animals.
A dog attack that received much media attention involved a pair of Presa Canario/Mastiff hybrids. These two dogs broke away from their owner and killed [[Diane Whipple]] in front of her apartment door on January, 26, 2001. Allegedly, the dogs had been bred and trained for aggression.
Due to its temperament, the Presa Canario can be a challenge to train. They require a firm owner who is willing and able to meet the challenges a young, dominant puppy may pose. The breed is not traditionally suited for protection sports but it is gaining in popularity due to a small group of enthusiasts who have selected dogs based heavily on function.
As with any breed, those interested in purchasing a Presa Canario should carefully research breeders and a dog’s ancestry to ensure that the breeding lines are healthy. Typically speaking, the higher the degree of consanguinity, the higher the likelihood of genetic defects. Due to the breed’s vast gene pool, many of the genetic problems that affect other purebreeds are less evident. However, as the breed becomes more tightly interbred and bloodlines developed the incidence of genetic problems may increase.
As a large breed, the Presa Canario can be susceptible to [[hip dysplasia]]. Other possible (but generally uncommon) health problems include [[epilepsy]], [[osteochondrodysplasias]], and [[cryptorchidism]]. Health issues unique to Spain include [[canine herpes virus]] and canine visceral [[leishmaniasis]]. An outbreak of herpes can be deadly to a canine population, particularly to newborn puppies. Leishmaniasis is a blood parasite that has a long incubation period (of several years) and most often leads to death.
The average lifespan for the Presa Canario is 8-12 years.
Some enthusiasts hold that, if the dog’s pedigree cannot be traced back to the Canary Islands, it is not a true Presa Canario but rather a [[Bandog]]. It should be noted that there is a great degree of diversity in Presa Canarios and Dogo Canarios throughout the world. While this diversity has good implications for health, it has some interesting ramifications for the breed status. The Presa Canario is one of four breeds that does not have a DNA profile. And despite the fact that some claim the “Presa Canario” is a different breed from the “Dogo Canario” neither phenotype nor genotype evidence can accurately substantiate this claim. Essentially, all Dogo Canarios are Presa-type dogs (that is Presa Canario), but not all Presa-type dogs (Presa Canario) are necessarily Dogo Canarios.
For years, obtaining proper paperwork from Spain was extremely difficult. It is even claimed (but never substantiated), for example, that a former president of the Spanish club simply didn’t give out papers. Some breeders simply do not have papers on their dogs which are bonafide Presa Canarios. The problem in obtaining papers has definitely contributed to the diversity of the breed in many ways. Due to this difficulty, American owners and breeders created and sought other ways to register their dogs, such as AKC-FSS, UKC, UPPCC, and FIC.
Dogs have a great deal of diversity in breeds, in all aspects, including coat color and patterns. Canine coat genetics are still being researched. Most of our present understanding of canine coat genetics is based on the work of Clarence Cook Little, author of “Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs” (1979), although some researchers dispute certain of his theories. For those with a keen interest in canine coat genetics, an excellent source for the breeder and the layperson’s understanding is authored by Dr. Sue Ann Bowling [http://bowlingsite.mcf.com/Genetics/ColorGen.html]
As far as the Presa Canario is concerned, it is believed [[Fawn]] is based on the Agouti series, specifically the ay allele. Agouti hairs are fawn hairs banded and/or interspersed with black. This gene is recessive to the other genotype of the breed, brindle.
It is known that [[Brindle]] is a dominant trait but there is some argument as to where it is located. Little postulated that it was on the E series (Ebr) but if so, would compete with the black mask (Em), which is known to not be the case. Dr. Bowling speculates the gene is most likely on a new series, which she calls “K”.
”’The following are true in canine coat genetics:”’ (remembering alleles come in sets of 2)
1. Breeding fawn (ayay) x brindle (KbrKbr or Kbray) may produce: fawn and brindle offspring.
2. Breeding brindle (KbrKbr or Kbray) x brindle (KbrKbr or Kbray) may produce: fawn and brindle offspring.
3. Breeding fawn (ayay) x fawn (ayay) will ”’always”’ produce: ”’fawn”’ offspring.
For breedings of fawn x brindle or brindle x brindle there is no clear way to predict the number of fawn or brindle offspring. Some litters from these breedings will be entirely fawn, entirely brindle, or, most likely, some combination of both.
*[http://www.dogocanarioclub.org/article1.htm Origin of the Presa Canario]
*[http://www.dogocanarioclub.org/article2.htm Breeding Posterior to the Recognition]
*[http://www.dogocanarioclub.org/article3.htm The Presa Canario and Parellel Presas]
*[http://www.dogocanarioclub.org/article4.htm The Current Profile of the Presa Canario]
*[http://www.dogocanarioclub.org/article5.htm History and Theories Surrounding the Origin of the Presa Canario]
*[http://www.dogocanarioclub.org/faqs.htm Frequently Asked Questions]
*[http://www.dogocanaroclub.org Dogo Canario Club of America, Inc.]
*[http://www.iapconline.net International Association of the Presa Canario]
*[http://www.uppcc.net United Perro de Presa Canario Club]
*[http://www.wdcaonline.com Working Dogo Canario Alliance]
*[http://www.dogocanarioclub.org/forum/YaBB.pl Dogo Canario Forum]
*[http://pub57.ezboard.com/bworkingpresacanario Working Presa Canario Forum]
[[Category: Guardian Breeds]]
[[Category: Working Dogs]]