The Canary Dog: Pero de Pressa Canario

The Canary Dog history includes the now extinct native dog of the Canary Islands, the Bardino Majero, crossed with imported English Mastiffs. It is interesting to note that the Islands were not named for the little yellow singing bird known as the Canary, but rather for the fierce fighting dogs bred on the Islands: From the Latin “cane” or “canis” dog came the “Island of the Dogs”. Another name for this massive mastiff type of dog is the Perro De Presa Canario. At one time dog fighting was a common and popular form of entertainment in Europe and the British Isles and several breeds were developed especially for their fighting ability and endurance. Some of the necessary attributes of fighting dogs were: tough skin, (often with folds or heavy neck dewlaps) strong jaws and punishing power and strength. The Canary Dog was developed as one of the fighting dogs exclusively and was used for that purpose in the early years of its development. When the sport was outlawed on the Islands, this breed very nearly became extinct by the 1960s. The fanciers of the breed took notice and made serious efforts to perpetuate the breed. Today it is enjoying some popularity as a guarding dog. In the United States this dog is not registered with the American Kennel Club.

This is a dog with a powerful appearance. The head should be nearly as wide as the dog, appearing quite square in profile. The jaw is strong and the muzzle deep. The ears are always cropped. The dog should appear slightly high in the rear with the withers being lower than the croup. The color can be fawn or brindle of varying shades and some white. The Canary Dog has thick skin, especially to protect his body from dog bites, strong and heavy boned, he should have a powerful appearance and a massive head with a large jaw. The entire appearance should present a somewhat forbidding picture. The dog should be 21 to 25 inches and carry a weight of 100 to 115 pounds. The short coat is easy to groom. Brushing down with a brush and wiping off with a damp toweling usually all that is necessary. This dog sheds of course and the hairs can be stiff and somewhat coarse.

The Canary Dog is not for the timid owner. No member of the family which owns a Canary Dog should be uncomfortable around dogs. this is a breed that requires a dominant owner. He presents a fearful picture and can be a dog that shows aggression to humans. Their appearance alone is a deterrent to strangers. The Canary dog is an excellent watch dog but needs to be in homes who establish strong rules and are knowledgeable about obedience. Once the boundaries of dominance are established, the Canary Dog is extremely loyal and showing great affection to his own family and allows no interlopers to come into his territory without permission, whether they be humans or other animals.