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Published in the UKC
U.K.C. Breed Standard
United Kennel Club, Inc.
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 Perro de Presa Canario was recognized by United Kennel Club on
January 1, 2003.
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 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
The head is massive, cuboid in shape. When viewed from the side, the
skull and muzzle are roughly parallel to one another, and are joined by
a well-defined, but not abrupt, stop. When the dog is alert, the skin
forms several symmetrical wrinkles in the median furrow.
Skull and muzzle not in correct proportion, abrupt stop.
The skull is cube-shaped, broad and slightly domed, but without
occipital protuberance. The width of the skull is about 3/5 of the
length from occiput to nose. Zygomatic arch is very pronounced and
there is a deep median furrow that diminishes in depth from the stop to
the occiput. Cheek muscles are well developed without being pronounced.
The muzzle forms a smaller cube that tapers just slightly from stop to
nose. The length of the muzzle is roughly 2/5 of the length of the
head, while the width is about 2/3 as wide as the skull. The bridge of
the muzzle is flat and straight. Lips are moderately thick and
pendulous with black pigment. The top lip should fall naturally over
the lower without excessive flews. Viewed from the front, the lips form
an inverted “V” where they join.
The Perro de Presa Canario has a complete set of evenly spaced teeth,
set in a wide jaw. A scissors or reverse scissors bite is preferred. A
level or slightly undershot bite is acceptable.
Missing any tooth other than the first premolar.
Excessively undershot bite.
The nose is wide and black. In profile, the nose fits cleanly into the
square formed by the nasal bone and the front plane of the muzzle. The
nose does not protrude beyond the front plane of the muzzle, which
would give a snipey look to the head.
Eyes are slightly oval, set level and wide apart, and range in color
from medium to dark brown, in accordance with coat color. Eyelids are
close-fitting and black.
Light eyes, droopy eyelids, eyes set close together or obliquely.
Blue, gray, or yellow eyes, non-matching eyes.
Ears are of medium size, set just above the line of the eye and wide
apart, and covered with short, fine hair. Ears may be natural or
cropped. The natural ears may be pendent or rose. Pendent ears drop
effortlessly to the sides of the head, and rose ears are close fitting.
Cropped ears are erect.
The neck is cylindrical, thick, well muscled, and slightly shorter than
the length of the head. Loose folds of skin at the throat form a slight
Excessive dewlap, long or weak neck.
Shoulders are muscular and well laid back. The upper arm is of good
length and well-angled so that the front legs are set well behind the
point of the shoulder. The elbows set slightly out from the body. Front
legs are straight, well muscled, and heavy boned. Pasterns are strong,
short, and nearly vertical.
A properly proportioned Presa is about 20% longer (measured from
prosternum to point of buttocks) than tall (measured from the withers
to the ground), and length of the front leg (measured from point of
elbow to the ground) should approximately equal one-half of the
dog’s height. Females may be slightly longer in body. The
withers are slightly elevated. The back and loin are strong but without
prominent musculature. The back line ascends slightly toward the croup
which is just slightly higher than the withers. The croup is of medium
length, wide and slightly sloping. Females normally have slightly wider
croups. The loin is moderately short, muscular and deep, with moderate
tuck-up. The ribs are well arched. The brisket extends to the elbow.
The chest is broad and deep with well developed pectoral muscles.
Ideally, the circumference of the deepest part of the chest should
equal almost 1½ times the dog’s height at the
Shallow chest, croup and withers equal height, body too short,
swayback, roach back.
Croup lower than withers.
Hindquarters are powerful and well muscled. In profile, the croup is
sloping. The angulation of the hindquarters is moderate. When the dog
is standing, the rear pasterns are short, perpendicular to the ground
and, viewed from the rear, parallel to one another.
Overangulation, sickle hocks, cow hocks.
Feet are round, compact, cat-like. Rear feet are slightly longer than
the front. Pads are well developed, tight, black, not splayed. Nails
are solid color, white or black depending on coat color of toes.
The tail is a natural extension of the topline, set moderately high. It
is thick and muscular at the base, tapers to a point. A tail of the
correct length extends to the hock but never below. Tail carriage
ranges from a pump handle tail when the dog is relaxed to a saber tail
when the dog is alert.
Fine tail, curly or blunt tail, low tail set.
The Presa has a short, flat single coat that is harsh in texture. It is
very short and fine on the ears and slightly longer on the withers and
the back of the rear hindquarters.
Satiny, fine coat.
Any shade of fawn, black, and brindle in any combination of these
colors. The face must have a black or dark brown mask that does not
extend over the eyes, with or without a white blaze or patch on the
head. Minimal white markings may appear anywhere between the chest and
the throat, or on the toes,
Mask that extends over the eyes.
Absence of dark mask, white markings covering more than 20% of the dog,
coat color or pattern other than described above.
Desirable height at withers for a mature male is 23 - 26 inches.
Desirable height at withers for a mature female is 22 - 25 inches.
Minimum weight for a mature male is 100 pounds and for a mature female
is 85 pounds.
When trotting, the stride is long, effortless and well coordinated and
the tail is carried above the backline.
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Overshot bite. Blue, gray, or yellow eyes. Non-matching eyes. Croup
lower than withers. Docked tail. Absence of dark mask. White markings
covering more than 20% of the dog. Coat color or pattern other than
described in “Color” paragraph above. Albinism.
Copyright 2003-2008, United Kennel Club, Inc.