Canary Mastiffs, officially called Perro de Presa Canario, are a large, powerful breed of mastiff known for their protective instincts and distinctive look. Excellent guard dogs and loyal companions, Canary Mastiffs and their features are lauded by their loving owners, however, some fear them due to their power, size, and history of being used in dog fights.
Today, we’re going to talk about Canary Mastiffs as a breed including their temperament, care, and the real facts regarding this misunderstood powerhouse.
History of Canary Mastiffs
The history of this breed originating in the Canary Islands is somewhat shrouded in mystery. There are several theories regarding the genetic contributions that went into breeding this unique breed. However, a few things are certain. The Iberian Presa was the foundation of the current breed.
The Iberian press was a mastiff-type breed of average size. It was a rustic, intelligent breed with intuitive instincts and a fearless, guardian spirit. Other contributing breeds included the larger varieties of the Presa Espanol and the Alano bulldog, known for its clutching instincts.
Although originally bred as a herding and guard dog, Canary Mastiffs were a favored breed among islanders for dogfighting through the 1950s. Much like the Pit Bull, the breed’s power and history have led it to be a misunderstood breed that is sometimes feared.
Canary Mastiffs are intelligent, fiercely loyal, and strongly bonded with their families. Guardianship is in this breed’s DNA. While loving with his family, the breed is curious, observant, and wary of strangers, if not necessarily aggressive.
This is a breed that will wait and watch, assessing all newcomers to determine if they are a threat to the family.
Because of the breed’s innate, and incredibly strong instinct to protect the family from all threats, it is imperative to social Canary Mastiffs early and to the fullest extent possible. Owners should take their puppy everywhere that dogs are allowed and encourage neighborhood children, adults, and their dogs to interact with the puppy.
It should be noted that proper socializing means keeping all interactions friendly, upbeat, and most importantly, with a sense of safety. The idea is to show your dog that the world is a place full of new friends to be made. A bad experience as a puppy may cement the exact opposite idea in a breed like this.
Canary Mastiffs are a generally hardy breed, not prone to sickness or disease. However, like all giant breed dogs, they have a shorter lifespan than other breeds. Canary Mastiffs live from about 9 to 11 years of age.
Outside of their age, this breed has a higher instance of certain diseases and disorders, however, the instance is only higher. There is no guarantee that anyone dog will develop any of the following:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia – A condition in which the ball of the bone doesn’t seat correctly in the socket.
- Canine Epilepsy – A treatable disorder in which the dog is prone to seizures.
- Osteochondritis Dessecans – A condition in which bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies due to a lack of blood supply.
- Cryptorchidism – Also called undescended testicle, it is a condition in which the testicle does not descend from the body into the scrotum.
- Patellar Luxation – A condition in which the kneecap does not remain in place when the knee is flexed.
- Ruptured ACL Ligament – A common condition among large breed dogs in which the ACL ligament tears due to stress from fast movement or jerky turns.
- Hypothyroidism – A condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone.
- Entropion – A condition in which the eyelid is rolled inward toward the eyeball.
Care and Exercise
No matter what breed of dog you have, always feed a high-quality, grain-free food that uses whole protein sources like fish, chicken, or beef and carbohydrate sources like potato, pea, sweet potato, or brown rice.
Canary Mastiffs are a generally calm breed and require only moderate exercise. A few walks a day or some playtime in the backyard is all that should be needed to keep this breed happy. If you live in an apartment, even a few brisk walks up and down the hallway can be enough during inclement weather.
This is a short-haired breed, so grooming should be easy. All Canary Mastiffs need are weekly grooming with a brush and the occasional bath.
Canary Mastiffs are Excellent Companions When Properly Raised
Although powerful and naturally wary of strangers, Canary Mastiffs can be taught that the world isn’t a place of their family against everyone else if properly socialized. The breed’s inquisitiveness makes for relatively easy socialization early on, which leads to a more friendly, accepting demeanor later in life.
When properly raised Canary Mastiffs are a loving, loyal family pet that, while initially hesitant, will accept new people and animals around their family. Practicing good training, socialization, exercise, and care leads to a long, happy life with this breed.