They may look a little intimidating, but the Presa Canario isn’t necessarily a dangerous dog. The Presa Canario has a long history as a fierce, loyal guard and herding dog. At one time, they were bred as fighting dogs. Along with their muscular body, square-shaped brachycephalic head, large jaw, cropped ears, and black mask, they can give off an appearance of danger. They are also tall, massive dogs that can weigh upwards of 125 pounds.
Presa Canarios are an alert, territorial, and confident breed—which is why they make such great guard dogs. Because they're suspicious of strangers and have natural “alpha” tendencies, they will demonstrate their power and physical dominance when necessary. And like many other breeds, if these dogs don't receive the proper socialization and training, they have a natural tendency to be aggressive.
Underneath their tough exterior lies a devoted, protective, and even affectionate family pet—but it will take some work to get there. To avoid signs of aggression, obedience training and socialization is a must when bringing home a Presa Canario. The Presa Canario can’t turn off their natural instincts, but an experienced trainer, firm handling, and exposure to various people and places can crack their tough exterior.
They can be a little stubborn at times, but this is an intelligent breed that’s eager to please its owner—and loves having a job to do. That's why training is often very effective. Presa Canario owners should still take precautions at the start of the training process and when introducing their dog to strangers.
Like other high-energy breeds, the Presa Canario can become destructive or develop other behavioral issues when they are bored or left alone for long periods of time. Strong bones, interactive puzzle toys, and plenty of exercise can help your Presa Canario develop into a docile family pet.
Still, that doesn’t mean they are the right fit for every family. Potential Presa Canario adopters with other small pets or dogs, as well as very young children, may not be the best fit. An older child who can help walk, groom, and feed their new four-legged friend will become a welcome member of your Presa Canario’s new “pack”. Presa Canarios have a powerful prey drive and can have a difficult time adjusting to other animals (unless they were raised together as puppies).