An Exploration of the Breed Standard

Dogo Canario/ Perro de Presa Canario

At Conquistador K-9, we value the hard work and process that is put into the development of the World Recognized Breed Standard while respecting and considering the controversial path it has taken to get there.  We strive to create Presa Canario within the FCI Standard No 346 and maintain a comprehensive record of our bloodline with the FCI.

Conquistador K-9 is not discriminatory of either the Perro de Presa Canario or the Dogo Canario standard; we are very straightforward in our Presa Canario Puppy selection processes and finishing and training programs.  It is our goal to only produce Presa Canarios that can maintain the Triple Threat Conquistador K-9 standard.

"It is my firm belief that this back and forth is positive for the breed.  Always pushing in both directions, potentially making the breeders breeding for beauty seek out function and the function breeders seek more beauty and exploring what that means to them through evaluating these standards.

I hope the conversation never stops.  The breed can be all these things, good catch dog, good family guard dog, beautiful by standards, swaying from dog to dog levels of those differences. In a sense, it gives me a larger pallet of colors to produce my art with.  I think I have always had a problem with knowing when to say my art is done, I'm working on it."  - Breed Program Manager at Conquistador K-9, Epiphany Ramos

Perro De Presa Canario/ Dogo Canario

Each dog is evaluated based on his or her potential and each dog must go through testing to ensure stability, strong nerves, proper drives, and correct conformation before entering into our program.  We search out independent evaluations of dogs in our program, and do not rely on only one evaluation.  We feel this is very important in selecting candidates for our program, therefor no puppy or adult for either placement directly to clients, or inclusion into our breeding program, will be selected based off of only one individual evaluation.  We have dogs that are raised and trained for the family protection companion as well as for guard duty and champion show ring work, however all our dogs are bred to the FCI Presa Canario/ Dogo Canario Breed Standard as the guiding element of our breeding program, in conjunction with superior health and genetic diversity.   It’s important for us to understand your needs and desires before choosing a dog, so please feel free to contact us for any questions regarding any of our dogs so we can ensure proper placement of their prodigy.

The breed standard for the Presa Canario/ Dogo Canario is a highly polarizing topic for breed enthusiasts.  Below we explore the breed standard beginning with an overview of what a breed standard is, and why we use them.  We review some details between the two breed standards, for educational purposes only, as detailed in an article by Paolo Consolandi, as discussed in the book "From Presa Canario to Dogo Canario" by Alberto A. Espina.  We also look at the opinions of the Presa-Dogo Canario Club of America President, and examined by a renown Spanish breeder from the Canary Islands.

To conclude this exploration of the breed standard, we release this statement; Conquistador K-9 stands behind the benefits that come with having a strong recognized breed club, one that is impartial and inclusive.  One that is not led by one person or kennel, but that is a result of all those involved.  Currently, the only club recognized by Spain, and fits these needs here in the USA, is the Presa Canario Club of America.  Conquistador K-9 is proud of the club, and will continue to contribute to it's wider Presa family through active club involvement, which we encourage from all.  At Conquistador K-9, our dogs can be registered under all available breed standard registries relating to the Presa Canario or Dogo Canario.  We have chosen not to discriminate towards either standard as dogs of all these applicable registries are contained in both. At Conquistador K-9, we are very straightforward in our Presa Canario Puppy selection processes and finishing and training programs.  It is our goal to only produce Presa Canarios that can maintain the Triple Threat Conquistador K-9 standard.  We utilize the primary Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) registry for the Presa Canario, as this is acceptable world-wide.  Our dogs can also all be registered under the AKC, FSS registry, the UPPC registry, and the UKC registry for the Presa Canario.  As you can see, we hold our program to the highest breed standard available across the world.  Below we present some information to our website visitors, however Conquistador K-9 officially recognizes all current standards of the Dogo Canario and Presa Canario and appreciates the efforts of these breed enthusiasts everywhere across the world.

It was not until relatively recently in human history that dogs were developed into specific breeds, labeled, categorized, and standardized. Once standardization began, roughly mid-nineteenth century, the demand for breed classification grew exponentially.  To be clear, breed classification and standardization history is somewhat different than the genetic origin stories and heavily riddled with modern day political influence.  The remaining information on this page will focus only on the breed standardization history of our Conquistador K-9 Presa Canario. There are many discussions on this topic, we will share a few relevant ones.

About Breed Standards

Excepts from, 'Maintaining the Breed' - an article by Frank Kane

What is a breed standard?

Essentially, the breed standard is the picture in words for how a breed should look and also details the temperament of a breed.  It is what lies behind the different types of pedigree dog that we know and love today. A breed standard is the pattern used by breeders in their attempts to breed typical specimens of the breed, and it is the tool of the judge in assessing dogs in the show ring.

What is the value of a breed standard?

The pedigree breeds we have today are our legacy from the breeders of the past when dogs were bred to perform different jobs, from hunting and guarding to fishing and sledding.

In order to ensure that dogs could do these jobs they needed to have certain physical characteristics and the appropriate temperaments. It is the fact that dogs were bred to perform such a wide variety of functions that has given us the diverse range of dogs - small and tall, energetic and laid back - that we now have. Although many dogs may not perform the same functions today, it is those physical attributes laid down in the standards and the 'look' of a breed and/or its temperament which makes the person decide 'I want a dog like that', 'I love Pugs' or 'I must have a Whippet'.

The big advantage of this today is that in buying a well-bred pedigree puppy of a breed, you are usually guaranteed that the puppy will grow up with the appearance and temperament which attracted you to the breed. One can never ensure these things with a crossbred puppy - how tall it will grow, what sort of coat it will develop, and what kind of temperament it will have are all unknown factors.

This in turn helps individuals and families to make educated and responsible decisions about which breed is best for their lifestyle. If they are able to factor in the amount of time they can dedicate to grooming, how much exercise they are able to give their dog, the size of their home and how their dog will be around children, they are more likely to choose the right dog and not end up with the heartbreaking situation where the dog has to be re-homed.

 

History of the breed standards

So if the breed standards help us to understand the different types of dog and to make responsible choices, how did they come into being?

The early breeders were interested in defining characteristics of their dogs and they met to discuss and describe what they thought were desirable features in their breeds.

It is important to remember that in those days all dogs were bred with a function in mind.

  • Terriers were bred to go to ground, to flush out game or kill vermin.

  • The hounds hunted game by scent or sight, the shorter legged ones hunting by ground scent which was encased by their long pendulous ears. The sight hounds were longer legged and built for the chase, the arched loins of Greyhound, Deerhound, Wolfhound and Whippet equipping them with galloping power and the deep ribcage providing good lungs for stamina.

  • The gundogs were another group of breeds which helped their masters put food on the table and again they were bred for varying functions in the field. The spaniels, with the shortest legs of the gundog breeds could be used to go into undergrowth and thick cover to flush out game; the setters and pointers, longer legged and faster, could cover a lot of ground and then mark the whereabouts of game by going on 'set' or 'point', their high head carriage and open nostrils helping them in their work. The retrievers, as their name suggests, were sent to retrieve the dead or wounded game.

  • Pastoral breeds were developed to help man to herd his livestock - and they needed agility, stamina and natural herding instincts. Their coats needed to be functional to equip them to cope with climate and terrain. Note the difference between the Border Collie, bred to work on the expansive fells and the smaller Shetland Sheepdogs, more compact to work on the less expansive areas of the Shetland Isles. The corgis, bred with their shorter legs, were ideally suited to work as heelers, rounding in livestock by nipping at their heels.

  • Working - The working breeds are primarily used for guarding and search and rescue.  The guarding dogs are exemplified by the Bullmastiff or Mastiff, whose size and substance would be a very effective deterrent to any would-be poachers or thieves.

  • Utility - This describes a range of dogs that were bred for a range of jobs not included in the sporting and working groups.

  • Toy - Were bred primarily as companion animals. The miniaturisation of existing breeds, when the runt of a litter might be given to the lady or children of the house as a companion dog led to the development of the toy breeds; small, dainty and light enough to be carried around by their owners. Hence we have the Cavalier King Charles and the King Charles Spaniels, which can trace their roots to the sporting spaniel breeds, and so on.

So form and function were inter-related: the shape, size and temperament of a dog equipped him for his role in life.

Translated from article created by: Félix M. Betancort Paz

LA ISLA DE LOS VOLCANES

https://www.presascanarios.es/

https://www.presascanarios.es/presa-o-dogo

Presa Canario or Dogo Canario ???

There are NO two different races !!!

The name "Perro de Presa Canario" is defended as if it were an ancient relic that must be preserved as gold in cloth, but it is worth remembering that this name did not exist until the early 80's. Originally there was no race called "Presa Canario" or "Dogo Canario" in the Canary Islands, but rather a wide variety of dogs of the Mastiff type, for fights (pechadas), protection, farm dogs ... They were dogs of a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors, similar to "mestizos". The name of these dogs varied as well, but that did not matter, since it was not a breed at all, but only a collection of mixed breeds. In fact, when you commented that you had a "Perro de Presa Canario" it was usual to be asked with disdain: What race is that?  Here they have always been called those dogs "Bardinos", "Verdinos" or "dogs of the land".

 

That denomination begins to be used with the creation of the Spanish Club of Presa Canario when a group of fans of the Canary Islands met to form a "race" and defined a standard (color, size, appearance, structure and morphological limitations). There were some disagreements, however, the majority went ahead and a standard was formed to recognize the "Presa Canario" as a new Spanish breed. As the time passed and the breeding continued, acceptance in the FCI registry was desired. around the world. At this time the race club met and debated the moment where the race was, what they had achieved and what was still to be achieved. They decided that it was appropriate to make some changes at that time, including changing the name to "Dogo Canario" so that the name seemed less violent because it coincided with the time when the Law of Potentially Hazardous Dogs was born in many countries and when and everyone had assimilated and internalized the name "Presa Canario", it is modified by "Dogo Canario" as requested by the FCI for its international registration. 

 

The black color is also rejected due to the dissatisfaction of the Spanish Club and its directors who were always in disagreement with this cape, despite the fact that there have always been black-spotted or white-spotted Canaries in the Canary Islands. In this way, with the acceptance by the FCI, the "Presa Canario" instantly becomes the "Dogo Canario". These changes have not pleased all breeders and fans. A small minority began by claiming that they were raising the "true Canary Presa" as defined in the previous standard, some of these breeders had resorted to foreign standards such as the UKC in the United States that did not change with the new Spanish Club standard . Others said they were going to continue with the previous standard and present it to the Royal Spanish Canine Society (RSCE). However, RSCE recognizes and supports the standard of the FCI.

 

- So what is the difference?

It depends on who you talk to. Some Canary breeders say that they breed the true old lines of the "Presa Canario" and their dogs are much less heavy, less broad and shorter than normal. Some dogs are tall and more "mastiff". Many do not have black masks. Many have excess white and some are completely white or black. Meanwhile, almost any dog ​​breeder that conforms to the world standard FCI of the "Dogo Canario", if asked they will say that their dogs are "Presas Canarios", that both are the same breed.

- So, what is a "Presa Canario"?

There are too many people who use this term to name any dog ​​that resembles any of the standards of this breed. That is why you will have difficulty finding a clear answer.

 

- So, what is the "Cango Dogo"?

It is the dog of the definition of the FCI that was updated in 2013 as part of the acceptance as an Official Race. If the different standards that have been made since 1982 are compared, it will be observed that there are no great changes until the amendment by "obligation" of the FCI for the international registration, so I do not understand what the two races are because of the standard to apply is practically the same ..

 

- These dogs have become bigger and more molossoid? Yes and no. Some historic dogs were wider and more molossoid than most dogs today, while most were thinner. You can only work with the dogs that are currently there and try to develop a homogenous breed.

 

- Has the standard changed? Yes, but not as much as some claim.

 

• The term "Presa" has been changed to "Dogo"

 

• The new standard admits the bite in clamp, although it does not advise it because of the dental wear it produces, while the previous standard rejected the bite in clamp.

 

• The thoracic perimeter of the new standard says that it should be equal to the height at the withers plus 45%, while in the old standard it was requested that it be equal to the height plus 30%.

 

• The old standard accepted the black mantle, while the new standard rejects it.

 

• The old standard said that sometimes these dogs could have white spots around the neck or in the extremities (feet and legs) but never with a percentage greater than 20%, although it was desirable that the presence of white was the most reduced possible . The current standard accepts white patches on the chest, at the base of the neck or throat, previous feet and posterior toes but this should be minimal.

• There is no great variation in size. The old standard said that evils should be between 61 to 66 cm. and the females between 57 to 62 cm. The current standard says that the evils should have an elevation to the cross between 60 to 66 cm. while females should be between 56 and 62 cm. One centimeter has been increased to the minimum height.

 

• Regarding the weight. The previous standard referred to the average; males should be between 45 and 57 kg. The females between 40 and 50 kg. While now the new standard says that the minimum weight should be 50 kg. and a maximum of 65 kg. And in females the minimum is 40 kg. and the maximum is 55 kg. 5 kg has been uploaded to the minimum weight in the woes and 8 kg have been added. to the maximum weight. For females the minimum weight is respected, while 5 kg are added. to the maximum weight.

You can see the difference of both standards in the following links:

 

● CURRENT STANDARD: http: //www.rsce.es/web/index.php ...

● ANTIQUE STANDARD: http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2001/06/14/pdfs/A21156-21182.pdf

 

I believe that where the energies should be spent is that the clubs, groups, associations ... apply the complete standard where the functional character, health and typicity are collected. I understand that the important thing is the dog and the given name, because in 30 years it has already endured two changes, if the dog has changed it is not by how the name is written but by how it is bred. The problem does not arise by difference of "types" because they exist in the most consolidated roots, but of the non-application of the standard or rather of its partial application by personal, economic or club interests. This can be applied to all those who exist, from the club to those who seek to save the race from its harmful and commercial performance. The creation of new clubs does not contribute anything to solve the problem, quotes from "specialist" judges (of course, self-proclaimed and without popular recognition) And if, despite everything, someone does not like the standard, it must be remembered that it has been modified in the same way as the first one. approved (if it was correct before, it is correct now) and at that time there were some people in exaggeration (they were very happy) and now there is another (very happy those, before, disgusted). In the drafting of the standard, the most "remarkable" dogs of Tenerife and Gran Canaria participated, Rapports was made to define the "type" with which the parties agreed, the specialized judges of the two "sides" were appointed.  If there are enough dogs of black coat and spotted in white of excellent quality of being called Canary Presas, then you have to join and try to change the standard again to include these dogs that have a layer that have always existed. In this race, since the beginning of it, although who loves this race knows well that the last thing you see when crossing to Presa Canario is color. The character, the intrinsic nobility of the "Presa Canario" or its intelligence and sense of guardianship to its family comes first.

 

Some claim to create two races of the same arguing that there are already differences between the two lines. For I categorically dismiss this, since my dogs have pedigree FCI and I try to breed under the standard of this federation with dogs as healthy as possible of hips, with full mouths, correct bites, good nerves, good angulations on the hind legs and of course with the character that this breed must have, discarding timid dogs and unbalanced I have in my house some dog with white spots on the face and neck that I have been born of crosses of dogs without spots with pedigree FCI in all its generations since this came into force and to have some good qualities that I like I decided to raise.

 

I also have Presa Canarios of black coat for personal enjoyment, because it is not my intention to raise them for now.  But of course, as these dogs belong to a breeding farm that works with the FCI standard, I do not know if they will be Presa Canarios according to the way of differentiating from these "primitive" people ... as they do not come from their bloodlines they are not the same "Pure Canary Presa ..." and you know the why? For lucrative interests as it happened to Mr. Curtó, who defines himself according to him and his disciples: "creator and lord of the race", but that is no more that a "dealer" who knew how to sell his concept, write books , etc. and who has been manipulating his upbringing according to market demands.  I do not know what these people wanted to create two races of one would have lived if the Spanish Club of Dogo Canario had never changed the name ...

Difference Between the Presa Canario and the Dogo Canario

By Jason Baum, President of the Presa-Dogo-Canario Club of America, Owner of Las Islas de Doramas

The question was: What is the difference between the Presa Canario and the Dogo Canario?  I have not been able to find a clear answer.

 

My response:

Originally there was no “breed” called Presa Canario or Dogo Canario in the Canary Islands, but rather a wide variety of bully/mastiff/guard/farm type dogs. These had any shape, size, or color much like other mixed breed dogs would.  The name of these dogs varied as well, but it didn’t matter because it was not a “breed” at all, but just a collection of mixed breeds.  When a group of  Canary Islander aficionados got together to form a tightly specified “breed” as defined by a standard, with color, size, look, structure, and morphological limitations, there were some disagreements, however, the majority moved forward and formed a standard and became recognized in Spain as an official breed called the Presa Canario.

 

As time went on, and breeding continued, acceptance with the world-wide FCI registry was desired. At this time the breed club got together and reviewed where they were, what the original standard was, what they were able to achieve, and what was still left to accomplish. They decided that some changes were appropriate at that time including a name change to “Dogo Canario” to make the name seem less violent; and rejection of the black color since there were only 14 black dogs and those didn’t seem to have qualities they needed enough to keep them included.  So with acceptance into the FCI with the new standard, all Presa Canario’s instantly became Dogo Canario’s.

 

This change alienated some who disagreed with these changes. A small minority started claiming they were breeding the “true” Presa Canario as defined by the previous standard.  Some of these breeders have looked to foreign standards like the UKC in the United States which did not change with the Spanish standard.  Others said they were going to stick by the older standard submitted to the Royal Spanish Canine Society (RSCE).  However, the RSCE recognizes and supports the FCI standard, the and not previous revisions.

 

So what is the difference? Depends on who you talk to. One breeder in the Canary Islands says he is breeding the true ancient lines of the Presa Canario and his dogs are much heavier, wider, and shorter than the standard. Some dogs in the USA are taller and more Mastiff-like and can weigh 200 lb (90kg). Some look similar to beefed-up boxers. Some like bull mastiffs. Some US dogs have the same look as the Dogo Canario as defined by the standard, but are skinnier and less-molosser. Many do not have black masks as many historical dogs didn’t either. Many have excessive white and some are all white or all black just like some historical dogs. Meanwhile, almost any breeder of dogs that fit the world-wide FCI standard of Dogo Canario, if asked, would say they are breeding Presa Canario’s as well.

 

So what is a Presa Canario?  There are too many people claiming this title to answer this definitively. That is why you have had difficulty finding a clear answer.

 

Then what is the Dogo Canario? It is the dog defined by the current FCI standard which was updated last year as part of full acceptance as a breed. Have these dogs become wider and more molosser? Yes and no. Some historical dogs were wider and more molosser than most any dogs today, while most were skinnier. You can only work with the dogs you currently have and if you are trying to develop a homogeneous breed and you don’t have homogeneous dogs, you have to do the best you can. You cannot look at dogs to determine a breed, you can ONLY look at the standard.  Has the standard changed? Yes, but not as much as is claimed by some. In fact, some dogs as bred by “Presa and not Dogo” breeders do very well in shows. Recently an additional centimeter or two was added to the acceptable height while maximum weights were defined for both male and female specimens.

 

Hope this helps.

​- Jason

 

 

Here author David Espinoza explores some breed standardization origin stories of our beloved Presa;

"The Perro de Presa Canario is a large Molosser-type dog breed originally bred for working livestock. The name of the breed is Spanish, means "Canarian catch dog", and is often shortened to "Presa Canario" or simply "Presa".

 

The breed is sometimes also called Dogo Canario, meaning "Canarian Molosser" which we discuss further.


Since the 16th century, the Presa Canario has been mentioned in documents of the Canary Islands.  It is assumed that it was introduced into the Islands by the Conquistadors and Spanish Colonialists. With time and in isolation it has become breed in its own right.  It is also believed that it has been influenced by other breeds from Great Britain, Cuba, ect.

There was no breed officially known as the Perro de Presa Canario until 1989 when the RSCE (Real Sociedad Canina de Espana) officially adopted a standard and recognized the breed . Prior to this the RSCE had been working with breeders on the Canary Islands to establish a breed. The main centers of breed development were Gran Canaria and Tenerife . The breed originated on Gran Canaria where families who needed working dogs had been breeding a colony of dogs for generations. These dogs were simply called "Presas". The term Presa, in this context, means to clutch, grip, or hold. These dogs were expected to exterminate wild dogs that came to kill and eat the young goats, hold the cattle for slaughter, and guard and protect the homes of their owners. The farmers who bred these dogs for themselves and their countrymen were known as "Preseros" They did not care about size, color, or appearance of their Presa dogs they were only concerned about function. The holding dogs known as Presas had been bred for generations by Gran Canarian families.​

 

It is believed they are made up of various Mastiffs and Bulldogs that arrived on ships that harbored there that bred with the local population. These were crossed with the indiginous Majorero cattle dog from the Island of Fuertaventura to create the breed that would become the Presa Canario. Presa type dogs (holding dogs) are mentioned in historical documents of the Canary Islands in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Preseros added the blood of the Majorero Cattle Dog to their breedings because of its rusticity, ability to live in extremely tough circumstances, and its capabilities as a protector of livestock. The Majorero is an indiginous to the Canary Island of Fuertaventura .The Majorero or "Perro Ganado Majorero" typically had a brindle or black coat and was known as a very durable dog with a hard temperament and a strong set of teeth. The Preseros would also allow their dogs to fight one another as a matter of pride and bragging rights .They considered these fights "honor fights". They used the fights to prove their dogs. 

The Presa became less popular when dog fighting was outlawed by Spain in the 1940s.The Preseros continued to breed their Presa dogs for the traditional uses. The two centers of development for the modern breed were Tenerife and Gran Canaria .There were two different ideas of what made the the ideal Presa Canario. Generally speaking, breeders on the Island of Gran Canaria bred for the functional aspects, ability and hardness and the breeders on the Island of Tenerife bred for uniformity and exhibition. They were bred on the basis of look and not functional ability. The two ideologies often clashed and this became apparent at breed recognition. Each group of breeders sought a standard that enforced their ideal. The Tenerife breeders wanted uniformity and show dogs to impress the RSCE, they lobbied for a tight standard of only brindle and fawn dogs, a more uniform look. The Gran Canarian Preseros wanted a broader standard that included the Black coat, white markings and demanded scissor bite, no prognathism (lower jaw more prominent  )as it was indicative of crossing with modern breeds. The Preseros had a breed that was made of working "Presas", the Majorero cattle dog and other mastiff and bulldog breeds. The Tenerife based breeders used modern purebred dogs, almost exclusively, they included various Mastiffs and bulldogs of all types. There were dogs from Gran Canaria who were brought to Tenerife, however, this was the exception.

The competition for power between the two centers of development was fierce. In 1989 the RSCE recognized the breeders on Tenerife as the “official" club and allowed the black coat to be a part of their Presa Canario standard . After recognition the "official" breed club known as the CEPC (Club Espanol del Presa Canario) continued its program of breeding for show and exhibition .The Preseros on Gran Canaria continued breeding as they had for generations many Preseros felt alienated because their input and influence was quickly marginalized by the CEPC. A few were integrated into the new club and accepted the changes. In 2001 the FCI, aided by the CEPC, recognized the "Perro de Presa Canario breed" as the "Dogo Canario" and eliminated the black coat, traditional markings and maximum weight limitation.

The recognition by the FCI is "provisional" which means it is temporary until the FCI can determine if the Dogo Canario meets its breed requirements. The recognition and name change did not go over well in the Canary Islands. The majority of traditional breeders of the Presa dogs were shocked. The traditional dog they had been breeding for decades, a national icon, a way of life, had been taken from them. The injustice would not last long. In 2001 a group of Presa Canario enthusiasts in the U.S banded together and obtained recognition of the Perro de Presa Canario breed by the UKC in its traditional name. They adopted a standard based on the original standard of 1989.  author: David Espinoza
 

We hope this helps to explain why there are two acceptable standards of the breed."

Here the UPPC explores breed standardization history, based on their board members opinions and research;

 

"Our research shows numerous books written by historians concerning the development of the known Perro de Presa Canario (the Canary Dog of Prey). Documentation of the original, holding dogs date back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Following the conquest of the Canary Islands it is theorized dogs of great size may have existed or were brought there by the Spanish Conquistadors or possibly both. What is known was the function for which these dogs were developed; guarding farms, struggling with cattle and the extermination of wild or stray dogs.

There are several theories regarding the genetic contributions to the creation of the Presa Canario. It is almost certain that the cattle dog, the Iberian Presa (Perro de Ganado Majorero) provided a start to the founding of the Canary Presa. The Ganado was a mastiff type of average size, rustic, intelligent with an intuitive instinct, a fearless guardian. Several other Hispanic breeds contributed to the Presas formation, especially the Presa Espanol in it’s large varieties and the bulldog varieties (Alano), known for it’s clutching instincts. In time the island dogs developed into a completely differentiated breed due to the influence of the Spanish breeds. Around the eighteenth century, the English colonists, traders and merchants brought their Bandogges and Tiedogs, predecessors of the Bulldogs and Mastiffs, to the Canary Islands. Shortly thereafter, the English introduced their gladiator breeds (Bulldogs and Bull/Terriers) and began crossbreeding with the then existent Perro de Presa of the Canary Archipelago. To what degree did each of these introduced breeds contribute genetically to the overall development of the Presa Canario remains unanswerable.

The final ingredient that completes the foundation of the Presa Canario was the genetic infusion of the Bardino Majorero, a pre-Hispanic sheepdog originating on the Island of Fuerteventura. This dog was introduced for its intelligence, physical resistance, offering of excellent guardian instincts with little bark, extraordinary set of teeth and incorruptible courage. The combination of known holding dogs, holding dogs of the continent and the Bardino Majorero, started a new grouping of holding dogs. New to the traditional functions of guarding and catching livestock was added a new function, to the delight of most island breeders: THE FIGHT!

In the 1940’s the prohibition of dog fighting was ordered throughout the islands, although clandestine fights were known to continue during the next decade. It was during this period the Presa Canario numbers truly faltered. The sovereignty of the island Presa worsened further with the introduction of the German shepherd, the Doberman Pinscher, and the Great Dane. The island dog fancier’s interest now focused on these new breeds, almost causing the demise of the Presa Canario breed. During this darkened period the Presa was relegated in small numbers to farmers and herdsmen as their primary guard dog.

Reconstruction of the nearly extinct Presa Canario began in earnest back in the early 1970’s. Reputable breeders bred strong Presas that were rustic, massive, vigorous, and functional, who had acute watchdog instincts, a strong temperament, calm yet confident and were extremely territorial with unlimited courage. This dog when defending what he considers his would withstand the harshest of punishments without surrendering his position.

Full recovery of the Presa Canario heritage started in the year 1982, when a group of breeders from the island of Tenerife formed an association with the goal to propagate the resurgence of the Presa Canario as started in the previous decades. The Club Espanol de Presa Canario (CEPRC) was formed incorporating breeders from Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma. In January 1983, the club was recognized by the REAL CANINE SOCIETY CENTRAL of SPAIN (RSCFRCE). This clubs efforts and successes were duly instrumental in bringing forth the many new Champions of Breed as judged at the ongoing annual Monographic events, held in the islands and mainland. And now, a renewed interest in the breed has extended into the European continent and the Americas.

Reportedly, during the late 1980’s a handful of Presa Canario dogs were imported into the United States either by brokers or interested breeders. Their intended mission was to introduce this wonderful gladiator to the American dog aficionado, while adhering to the known breed standard of the time. It soon became evident with the formation of several breed clubs within the United States that the Presas popularity was on the rise. Dog fanciers were anxious to own and show this rare breed dog. In 1990, the United Perro de Presa Canario Club (UPPCC) was formed in the United States providing a registry to all bonifide Presa Canario dogs. As of January 1990, all certified Presa Canario dogs could be recorded with the American Kennel Club (AKC) under their Foundation Stock Service program (FSS). Soon there after, other American Presa Canario clubs were founded. Some were quick to affiliate themselves with the new Canary Island Dogo Club, it’s officers and breeder members. It appears the intention of this new aligned grouping was to gain FCI breed recognition, this of course required a breed name change from Presa Canario to Dogo Canario. Apart from this non-historic new identity came a reconstruction of a shorter version of the historical Presa Canario. This new dog appears to be of a type more befitting the show ring than that of the rustic guardian known as the Perro de Presa Canario.

' Today, reputable American Presa Canario breeders are moving forward in their mission to continue breeding healthy, functional dogs with fundamentally correct morphology, physically balanced, of good character, with strong temperament, along with the inherited coat colors of: black, brindles of colors from light to dark and fawn, all with traditional white markings.

Depending on how the Presa is trained, he can be one of the fiercest catch dogs one will see, stopping even the largest, unruliest hog dead in his tracks or he can be the gentlest giant, keeping a careful eye out for danger, thus protecting his young charges. The Presa is truly one of the most even-tempered and all around working dogs you will find."

Conquistador K-9 is not discriminatory of either standard; we are very straightforward in our Presa Canario Puppy selection processes and finishing and training programs.  It is our goal to only produce Presa Canarios that can maintain the Triple Threat Conquistador K-9 standard.

Excerpts from...

Not only two different Breed Standards

Paolo Consolandi — November 1st, 2008

Not long ago we were discussing again in our Internet [1] forum, an old and cyclic affair: the differences between the Presa and Dogo Canario, on this specific occasion referring to the differences between the two breed standards. I publish herewith my reflections on the subject without any conceit, or pretending they are exhaustive or a source of absolute truth. On the contrary with sincere humbleness, they simply reflect my ideas — the ideas of an aficionado of the Presa Canario breed, with the full right to express his own opinions. At the same time, I write them here in the hope they may be useful for some of the enthusiasts who read these pages, so that they understand that these differences between Presa Canario and Dogo Canario really exist, even if some may appear clear and others less so.

I'd like to start by pointing out that probably like many other breed enthusiasts, I do not want to reduce the Presa Canario vs. Dogo Canario question to mere orthographic differences, even though I understand they are also important.

As a matter of fact the first, most important difference between the two breeds is the one which is inside the head of the breeder and of the dog owner or enthusiast: there are more crucial things than a breed standard — even if this is a guide at every moment, this is clear — and I herewith make reference to the "breed concept" which is the basis of the same breed written standard that is determined as a consequence. In the case of the Presa Canario we can state that this concept means to inherit a breed which we receive from our ancestors as functional before anything else — otherwise it would not have any reason to be born — and to pass it on preserving its typical characteristics.

But, do not think that if a dog shows 31% white, he is not a Presa Canario (breed standards of 1989). Or do not think that for a good Perro de Presa (catch dog) things like prognathism or missing premolars are unimportant — in spite of any breed standard we have between our hands.

We should never forget that a breed standard is an effort to define the morphological, physical and temperamental characteristics of a dog — in order to represent a population with more or less homogeneity which is identified as a breed. I am saying this as it is ok to speak about and examine the breed standard, and we will do so, but the matter is not all there. Let's not forget from where these breed standards come.

Before entering into the details of the papers we should clarify a crucial point, as there was and still is confusion about the Breed Standard of the Presa Canario, due to the fact that in 1989 more than one was produced. And there are a good number of people who, just as they see the year of a Presa Canario breed standard — 1989 — they automatically think it is the authentic version to which the genuine aficionados of the Presa Canario make reference. But it is not all gold that shines.

More specifically there is not any doubt that the only legitimate breed standard for the Presa Canario is the one agreed between all the existing associations of that time, more precisely the Club Espaliol del Presa Canario, Club del Perro de Presa Canario de Las Palmas, Club del Bardino Presa Canario Faycan, Manuel Curb() and Clemente Reyes Santana. This breed standard shows in the first page the phrase "Recommended by the C.E.P.C.", and was drawn the 21st of May 1989 through two sessions each of four hours as related in his book by the same Manuel Curt6 [2].

The official breed standard, previously elaborated by the Commission of the Royal Canine Association of Spain due to the divergences between the clubs of the two islands (Tenerife and Gran Canaria), contained very obvious errors and has never been used for breeding purposes, as far as I know.

Neither should one think that just because we are dealing with the breed standard of 1989 we are making reference to a state of the art, to a renaissance era of the Presa Canario. Yes, because in 1989 it was not all perfect, there were plenty of dogs with health problems, crosses, public complaints, polemics, dissatisfaction. The ones who were managing the former Club of the Presa Canario — expression of the Club of the island of Tenerife — and who have written more than one version of breed standard as "Presa Canario" (although without general agreement) are those that have then set the base of the Dogo Canario and his breed standard, this is clear and we will not forget it. So, let me repeat it, let's not forget where the breed standards come from, who wrote and accepted them, with their respective objectives.

So, to start, we definitely clarify that we are speaking about two precise breed standards. In the case of the Presa Canario the one of May 21", 1989 — the only one upon which there was general agreement. In the case of the Dogo Canario, the F.C.I. standard n° 346 dated 3rd June, 2001.

On several occasions I noticed that many Dogo Canario aficionados maintain that these differences between Presa and Dogo Canario do not exist, neither in the written standards. So, as I see it there is no other option than to start and analyze the two documents. Let me point out that the very first difference is really prominent: the denomination.

As we know the Dogo Canario denomination was a requisite asked by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (F.C.I.), in 2001, in order to assign the international recognition [31. According to them — who ignore the history and origin of the Presa Canario — the word "presa" would be "politically incorrect", as it referred to the fight between dogs.

To stress such a weakness of the former breed club — unable to even protect the traditional name of its own breed — is just too easy. At the same time it is difficult to find any justification in an error that has set the base of the split between the two breeds.

In its book [4]  , Pascual Asensi Peinado, who was a judge for the Club Espanol del Presa Canario and who is now "recommended judge" by the Club Espanol del Dogo Canario, already it warns the reader at the introduction:: "because of directives of the F. C.I. in the revision of the standards which have been done, the names of breed which are synonymous of aggressiveness or violence will not be authorized, and the word presa has been excluded'. Mr. Asensi Peinado will forgive me, but the name "perro de presa canario" it is not synonymous with aggressiveness, or violence — but rather with functionality — as we will see. The same author goes on and anticipates, alluding to the Ca de Bou case, that "As far as the Presa Canario in order to his incorporation to the F. C.I. it will be necessary to adopt the same or a close term, as per its morphology dogo is the most appropriated one". But there is no reason for which a breed name should be merely an insipid description of its morphology.

Despite some directors and judges of the F.C.I. and of the club del Presa Canario — now of the Dogo Canario,it is possible to demonstrate that the Dogo Canario denomination is indefensible from various points of view, before all, from an historic point of view.

It is a matter of fact that the word "presa" — object of the dispute — is referring to the "catching" task. The ancient "perros de presa" were so called because they were of help in the sacrifice of the cattle. More specifically, it is pertinent to cite one of the ordinances of the Tenerife Council, that the 5th of February, 1516 writes making reference to the dogs:: "...and only untie them in order to catch the cattle". Another Agreement — in this case original of the island of Fuerteventura, of October 21st 1624 sets:"...And this is intended in respect of the dogs, of hunt and of catch (de presa)". So, "perros de presa" as they catch ("prenden" in Spanish) the bovine cattle, as auxiliaries during their sacrifices. For these reasons the word "presa" referred to the dog can be considered as a synonymous of "perro de toro" (bull-dog). Consequently, if "perro de presa" is a politically incorrect name — as the directors of the F.C.I. claimed — they should say the same of the name of breeds like the Bulldog, the Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Bullmastiff.

As for the "fights": well, through his ancient history these dogs were occasionally used in order "kill wild dogs" [5]  , a task we could define as "intra species' fight — but the word "presa" referred to the dog is not derived upon these events, this is a fact.

With the development of the modern Presa Canario the passion for the fights — "pechadas" and fights — rose considerably, to the point where one might say that some of the recent generations were bred more for this reason than in the past L61.

Anyhow, it is necessary to make some distinctions. First of all, the "properly called fights" and the "pechadas" are two different phenomena. In the first ones, which are a product of the criminal world, the money is the king and consequently, with much occurrence, dogs — of various breeds — fight till death, they want it or not. On the other side, the "pechadas" were a product of the rural side of the Canarian world, in which the owners of the catching dogs — people who used to live on the products of the field, not dog fighters —occasionally used to test the dogs to fight in order to see which was the stronger one, and when it was,the prize was a meal. They were not generally fights till exhaustion and the dogs were seldom seriously hurt. The "perro de presa" was an animal which pertained to a poor, rustic, harsh world — but where his services were motive of pride for the owner. This is what can be read in the interviews [7] of the old aficionados to the pechadas, and is the same thing which communicate the old "Pepe el Guardia" from Firgas in Gran Canaria in the interview in the documentary "Senderos 'slams" [8]  . The "pechada" went on playing a role in the concept of the dog, being considered by several breeders and aficionados as a courage test in which one should measure a "perro de presa", especially in Gran Canaria.

Summing up, "properly called fights" and pechadas are and were two different phenomena, products of different worlds, and while the "properly called fights" have always had a very minor role in the world of the Presa Canario, the pechadas were crucial — for some decades — in the breeding and development of this breed. Anyhow, another consideration, even if we recognize the existence of this historical phenomena, it does not mean that it is what originated the term "perro de presa" — that as we have seen existed in the Canary Islands centuries before that the British people imported the passion for the fighting sports and their dogs.

And third, we should remember that this has never been the only task fulfilled by the Presa Canario — which at the same time has been a guarding and protection dog, a dog with a great herding instinct and strongly linked with the Canarian rural world, from where he developed. Finally: it is not possible to arbitrarily associate the word "presa" to the fights of the dogs.

So, first error, the history of the breed is being ignored: the catching task has been confused with that of "fight" — as a result of an erroneous interpretation of the word "presa".

Keeping the focus on the historical point of view, we must take note that while the term "perro de presa" has a known bibliographic and historic value, the same cannot be said as far as the word "dogo" is concerned, as it is not present in the historical documents of the Canary Islands which are at the base of the breed's history. At the same time, it is also widely known that the word "dogo" has never been used by the old Canarian countrymen in order to define their catching dogs, and therefore this word has no relation to the rural and traditional Canarian world.

Let's introduce another incoherence pertaining to the name "Dogo Canario", this time from a literal point of view. Someone pretends that as the words "dogo" and "perro de presa" are synonymous, the problem would not exist. Effectively yes, they are synonymous as various preeminent bibliographic sources can confirm [9]  . But then, I do not see it as a justification, on the contrary! If the two words are literally synonymous the accusations by which the word "presa" is considered "synonymous of violence and aggressiveness" should be extended also to the word "dogo".

And if to this we add the fact that the "dogo" word does not have any historical (traditional and bibliographic) value for the breed in the Canary Islands, that it is just the consequence of an erroneous interpretation of the "presa" word, so... what is the reason of its existence? There is no answer.

The Dogo Canario denomination is indefensible also from a "political" point of view. Or at least please tell me why the Fila Brasileiro was not obliged to change the name into Dogo Brasileiro, as the term "fila" has the same meaning of the word "presa" [10]  . And in this case even more, as the "fila" word makes reference to the hunting and catching activity that these dogs fulfilled not only in the subjection of the cattle, but also when they were used to track and attack the runaway slaves. A barbaric task which luckily yet belongs to history books and that this Brazilian dog shared with another breed very close to him — and to the Spanish "perros de presa" — that is the yet extinct Cuban "perro de presa", historically known through various English-language bibliographical sources with the incorrect name "Cuban Bloodhound".

Yet, without wandering from our path, and without undervaluing from a
single point of view such a noble breed like the Fila Brasileiro - which has all 
my sincere respect — I just see that in some cases the name was not changed in such an act of arrogance, although the meaning is analogous.

Finally, I would also like to point out that — from a legal point the view — the denomination "Dogo Canario" does not exist, with all its consequences.

As a matter of fact the Government of the Canary Islands with the Autonomous Law 7/1991 [11] recognizes the "perro de presa canario" as the natural symbol for the island of Gran Canaria. Then, with the Real Decree 558/2001 [12] and with the Real Decree 1557/2005 [13], the Spanish Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Alimentation recognizes the breed "Presa Canario", without naming at any moment in the list of the Spanish breeds the "Dogo Canario" and consequently erasing any doubt about the fact: legally the "Dogo Canario" does not exist.

It may exist in the head of some director of his Breed Club or in that of some F.C.I. directors — which is a private organization, it is better to remember that, as a private organization is the same Real Sociedad Canina Espanola [14]. Private organizations, that therefore hardly will be able to further ignore — in the same Spanish territory — the law of the country, at least without paying any consequence. This fact , may be crucial, but I will not go on elaborating as it is not the matter of the present article, but we may have the opportunity to further discuss this in the future, at a more opportune moment.

So, to end with the "denomination", to say that the name of the breed is "a detail" is the argument of those who have no cause to justify such violence to a traditional name, awarded by history and one we cannot and do not want to sacrifice for commercial interests.

Skipping to the Historical Summary, I must say that there are differences also. And they are not of little importance, or at least please tell me what is left of the original when we start by losing its name and history.

Even the origin of the breed is not explained clearly in the Dogo Canario Standard. It says: "Molosser dog native (when?) of the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, in the Canary Archipelagos. Emerging (when?) as a result of crosses between the "majorero", a pre-Hispanic (is it proven that that dog is pre-Hispanic? Or, as plausible as it can be, is it merely an hypothesis?) cattle dog originating from the islands, and molosser dogs brought (when?) to the archipelago. These crosses originated (when?) an ethnic grouping of dogs".

On the contrary, in the historical summary of the Presa Canario there is more precise information about his origin: "The most logical conclusion is to think that this dog was introduced into the Canaries by the Spanish conquerors and settlers" and also not ignored is the next historical era characterized by the influence of dogs of other countries — in particular of Great Britain — that, together with that of the Perro de Ganado Majorero give birth to the modern Presa Canario.

At the same time, it is not ignored in the Presa Canario breed standard that "In the last decades he has been frequently used as fighting dog".

Why should one try to hide that? Maybe it should be asked to those who drafted the Dogo Canario breed standard. Anyhow, it is not right to hide or deny it and like it or not, it was a part of the history of the Presa Canario. Considering these differences of little importance is, in my opinion, at the very least superficial.

In its preface letter for the book of Manuel Curto, Clemente Reyes Santana —already at the very first Nineties — writes: "Without an exact knowledge of his past it will be hard to have a real idea of his present and very less of the future which will come" [15]. I agree so much with Mr. Reyes Santana.

Going on with the chapter "General appearance / General aspect and
character" one should note that the breed standard of the Presa Canario is
much more complete and detailed on the whole. Talking about differences between the two, there are some details which seem of importance. As far as the aspect is concerned that of the Presa says: "His aspect is very powerful. Harsh gate.", while el del Dogo is "Their appearance is calm. Attentive geqe". To describe the temperament the Presa Standard uses the adjective "strong" while the Dogo "balanced'.

That may not seem macroscopic differences, but they are indicative of the aim which is behind these changes — a manipulation of the breed standard in order to give the image of a "more presentable" dog for the international community, or to say it more directly, "that can be sold more easily to the great public". And it is clear that with these objectives in mind it cannot be pretended that the rustic character of the Presa Canario may be conserved. As a matter of fact, the breed standard of the Dogo Canario reports between the eliminatory defects — say the worst of the worst - "any indication of aggressiveness". It is at least exaggerated, considering that we are not talking about a sheep, but about a dog which should have a dominant character towards their kind, a strong guard instinct and distrustful towards strangers. And more, considering that in the show rings the specimen are always very close to each other and where it is pretended that the dogs let a stranger (the judge) touch them or even put a hand in their mouth.

In this surrounding the Presa Canario cannot act like a sheep, its behaviour should be totally different. Regarding this aspect, in the already cited book of Mr. Pascual Asensi Peinado, the specialist judge of Presa Canario, Augustin Lopez Melo writes [16]  : "I pay particularly attention to the way by which a Presa Canario comes inside the ring in order to be judged' and he goes on "he looks for something his arrogance should look evident, his self confidence will let him walk with the tail well raised, and he will not loose a single detail when other males will enter the show ring" and more "he will be challenging in front of other males, as its atavism with fighting dogs makes him act like the . And how is that now, in the case of the Dogo Canario, of which according to specialist judge the Augustin Lopez Melo, is considered worth of elimination "any indication of aggressiveness" ?

To say the truth, and to end with the "character", both breeds standards have the serious defects of not requiring or making reference to any temperament test, which should be a requirement for a dog like the Presa Canario but that has been almost always skipped — since the very first shows of the Eighties [17] - and according to which breeders paid even less attention in its selection process.

Let's pass on to the morphology. As far as the "Height to the withers" is concerned, the upper and inferior limits have been changed — in the Dogo Canario standard - by reducing them by a centimeter; I cannot understand with what aim in mind as there is not even a maximum weight. Anyhow, let's not focus on the questionable change of the height values and try to concentrate on a more important aspect. The breed standard of a functional dog should fulfil the difficult work of defining the typical characteristics of the breed yet without falling into the temptation of setting all of them too strictly and precisely, as this would determine the definitive exclusion of a good part of the population and of its genes — including the specimen with great functional skills — with easily imaginable consequences.

This "elasticity" or "intelligence" is translated into the following way in the two breed standards, in the same section "Height to the withers". In the Presa Canario standard we read: "The specimen that may exceed the height limits should show a correct proportion between the site of the limbs and the volume of the trunk". This is a reasonable opening for those specimen which overpass the height values but which possess correct proportions. On the other side, in the case of the standard of the Dogo Canario, the "elasticity" is all summed up in the phrase: "In the case of very typical specimens, a 1 cm deviation from the set maximum and minimum will be allowed'. What a concession! Be warned, just in the case of "very typical" specimens.

Going on, with the "Head". In the standard of the Dogo we read: "covered with loose hanging skin", which is not found in the standard of the Presa Canario (pay attention — we make reference to the agreed one), which is more precise and sets its average length. That is not a casualty too: the head of the Presa Canario should not be "covered" with loose and hanging skin, which should be present on the neck (for functional reasons), as it can be read in the overall description of the Presa Canario: "Cylindrical neck, very muscular and covered with a thick loose, elastic skin". The Neapolitan Mastiffs, the Bullmastiffs, the English Mastiffs...their head is for sure "covered" by loose and hanging skin...

Another aspect which is important for a good head is the Stop, or frontal-nasal depression: the breed standard of the Presa Canario clearly says: "The frontal-nasal depression is slightly pronounced', while that of the Dogo reports: "Defined, but not abrupt". There will be someone who will consider them corresponding, but I see difference between "slightly pronounced' and "defined' and I ask myself why the description of the Presa Canario standard needed to be changed. Would that be in order to be closer to the description of the F.C.I. breed standard N°157, that of the Bullmastiff ? Which of course says "stop: pronounced"...

It is not too difficult to realize, looking at the pictures of a good number of dogs which come from the bloodlines of the ex Tenerife Breed Club [18] -which now is that of the Dogo Canario — as in many cases these dogs show a well defined frontal-nasal depression, probably due to the crossings with foreign breeds in the past years. On the other side, we take note that experts like Clemente Reyes Santana [19] and Manuel Curto Gracia [20], tell us that is preferable and typical — in the authentic Presa Canario — a scarce frontal-nasal depression. Then, the "Lips": "The mucous membranes are of dark colour, but can be in shades of pink." says the standard of the Presa Canario while that of the Dogo Canario does not leave any room for interpretations: "The interior lips are dark". Maybe a minor difference (how many minor ones...) but that is linked again to the "elastic" approach which should always be present in a standard of a functional breed.

In the same section, the one which describes the lips, the Presa Canario breed standard also reports a functional aspect: "Normally he does not drool', an aspect of which there is no trace in the Dogo Canario standard: another casualty? We leave to the reader the interpretation, and go on.

As far as the "Jaws" or "Jaws / Teeths": in the case of the Dogo Canario the standard says: "Scissor bite. Level bite is accepted although not desirable due to the tooth ware that it causes. Slight prognathism permitted'. But then, between the defects it lists the level bite. On the other side, in the Presa Canario standard we read: "Generally he does not show prognathism. Scissors or level bite", and in the slight defects cites the "slight prognathism" and in the serious ones includes "excessive prognathism" and "absence of _premolars".

I like much more that of the Presa Canario, essentially for three different reasons. First of all, as it describes the prognathism as a defect, while that of the Dogo admits it as long as it is slight. Without starting to argue about by which value (or worst, of personal interpretation) this trait starts to affect the functionality of the grip of the dog, I prefer to remember that — as far as we know thanks to oral and written references [21] - the old Canarian dog aficionados used to call the dog which showed prognathism with the negative term "boquinos". As a matter of fact, Don Francisco Saavedra Bolatios — who lived the era of the "pechadas" — interviewed by Manuel Curto says: "And I do not even consider dogs with prognathism".

Second aspect, the level or pincer bite. According to the Presa Canario standard it is legitimate and is not penalized by any manner.

One could argue and try to demonstrate that the scissors bite may be preferable — but to penalize the level bite as it is done in the Dogo Canario standard is a different thing. Every breed has got its own standard, but there are cases of catching dogs for which the level bite is considered the ideal one: for example the in the standard F.C.I. 292 of the Argentine Dogo we can read: "Pincer bite, though scissor bite is accepted.". Regarding this, Ruben Passet Lastra, personal friend of Don Augustin N. Martinez, says "But the ideal thing is that the argentine dogo have a level bite, being his principal mission to keep the enemy and to immobilize him till the hunter would kill him, is preferable the level bite as when one wants to catch a thing a claw is used, while the scissor is used when one wants to cur Another case is that of the Spanish Alano. In his book [22] "Alano Espanol: historia de una realidad consolidada", Augustin Del Rio Yenes describes the morphology of the dog: "Level bite. Sometimes may show certain inferior prognathism.." and more "nonetheless, as it is logic, it is not desirable that this slight defect is produced and one always tend to select in order not to have it".

Also, in the interesting article [23] "So bite me: a detailed study of canine dentition" the author C.A. Sharp — an internationally recognized expert of canine genetics — writes: "Breed standards vary on whether they do or do not fault it. There is dearly no consensus among dog people. Those who fault the even bite claim that it causes increased wear of the incisors, but there is little evidence to support this. A number of years ago the author, upon coming across a wolf with an even bite (Fig. 7), undertook a survey of wolf dentition" and she goes on: "Teeth and jaws were inspected on 39 wolves, 9 of which were captive and the balance skulls of wild wolves trapped over a wide span of time and geography. Of the 39, 16 had even bites. This included five of the captive group, all of whom were related. Even discounting those, fully a third of the wild wolves had even bites.

No structural fault is tolerated to this degree in a natural species, particularly in a feature so critical to the survival of that species".

Having taken note of these unequivocal argumentations about the functional and natural legitimacy of the level bite, we should now pay attention to the own and typical characteristics which define our breed, and which are those we care more about. As far as we know the level bite was widely present yet since the Eighties between the Presas of the islands, coming from different bloodlines. To the respect, we can cite Clemente Reyes Santana who commenting on a website [24] regarding his article "The Perro de Presa Canario" elaborate: "the most generalized bite in the population of the Presas of the Eighties is the level one". And in order to rule out the hypothesis by which this teeth occlusion would derive by crossing with Neapolitan Mastiff; as someone dares to assert, he goes on saying: "not all the considered specimens came from the Neapolitan Mastiff, the bloodlines coming from the kennel of Juan Santana and the ones of Arbelo, from Vecindario, were absolutely free of that crosses and were also taken into consideration".

Third aspect related with the "Jaws" are the missing premolars. The Presa Canario breed standard includes in the serious faults any missing premolar, while that of the Dogo Canario does not consider the missing of the first premolars as a defect. Sure, if the fourth premolars are missing that is a much more serious functional fault, but in the end there are cases in which an incomplete mouth of a Dogo Canario is not penalized by any manner.

Now, do not tell me that in a catch dog the mouth is not that important or that are still minor differences. Anyhow, there are more, we will sum one to the other.

As far as the "Ears" section is concerned, the Presa Canario standard explains
that "The specimen with complete ears will compete equally with those having cropped ears"
but also points out: "When they are cropped, according to tradition,...". I think that

the traditions — passed on by written or oral form — are an important element of ur breed and that for this reason they must be always taken into account —this aspect is again linked to the "transmit by preserving" concept. This aspect is not present in the standard of the Dogo Canario, which just says (in its original Spanish version): "In the countries in which the cut is permitted, they will stand erected': should this mean that the ears will stand or not depending on the laws of the country where the dog actually is?

Forehind legs: the standard of the Presa Canario says "Solid nails, black or white, depending on the coat colour?' while that of the Dogo Canario says "The nails are dark, white is undesirable, although they can appear according to the coat'. Note that in the first one it is pointed out first of all that the nails should be strong —which is a functional element — while in that of the Dogo Canario the colour is the only aspect which is regulated. Now, nor the nails may be white, I imagine the people that before going to the exhibitions try to paint the nails where a little pigment is needed...

Another difference, in the "Trunk": we read in the Presa Canario standard "The overall thoracic build has a cylindrical tendency", while in that of the Dogo Canario this is not said. In a recent discussion published on an Internet [25]  page, in order to answer to Clemente Reyes Santana who describes the rib cage of the Presa Canario with the "cylindrical" term, a user who uses the signature "Club Espanol del Dogo Canario" maintains that "the ribs must be well arched, which produce a very wide chest, but not cylindrical.". This is a different position to what we find in other sources dedicated to the Presa Canario, as the book of Manuel Curto, in which he says that the cylindrical rib cage — not to the point to look like a barrel — is ideal [26]. And also the same Augustin Lopez Melo maintained some years ago that the "cylindrical rib cage" is one of the details which define the Presa Canario [27].

In the "Tail" section, in the Presa standard we find "of high insertion", confirming again what is written also in the "Overall description". In the Dogo Canario breed standard we read: "insertion medium", and between the serious defects it is listed: "high tail insertion".

And finally we come to the "Coat". Probably all already know that the breed standard of the Presa Canario includes the black coat, while the Dogo standard excludes it. This matter has already been the object of a number of discussions and articles, which have undoubtedly proven the historical legitimacy of the black coat yet have demonstrated the fragility of the reason (hypothetical crossings) at the origin of its exclusion, which could be applied at the same time also to other coat colours, like the fawn [28]. The black coat has always been a typical colour, and particularly in Gran Canaria [29] where famous specimens were born, like the more recent "Tinto" of Demetrio Trujillo or the older "Negrito" of Salvador Hernandez Rodriguez.

Without entering too much into the matter, I just would like to point out that the exclusion of the black coat is a very serious problem, not only as unjustifiable as already explained — but also because of the "elasticity" which should be required to the breed standard of a functional breed. If the standard is stricter from an aesthetic point of view, the number of specimens who possess good functional skills that will be excluded from the selection process will be high and their "genetic asset" will be lost as a consequence.

Now, in some cases the Dogo Canario aficionados maintain that the exclusion of the black coat is not that important as "there are not many Presas with black coat". This is a senseless statement. The numerical diffusion of a coat, which in this case is also object of discrimination, is not necessarily linked with its legitimacy, which is the aspect we should care for. Here it comes again the concept of "transmit by preserving".

Again, as far as the coat is concerned, in the breed standard of the Presa Canario we read: "Generally shows white markings on the chest, little or big ones", which is different from the "Markings can appear on the chest" found in the Dogo Canario standard. More in detail, the Presa Canario standard accepts dogs that have till 30% of white, while in that of the Dogo Canario the discrimination of the white markings is very clear, in spite of the statements of the same M. Martin Bethencourt — spiritual father of the Dogo Canario. As a matter of fact, he maintained that — see his book "El Presa Canario" at page 130 - "The verdino-gray coat, with white around the neck and in the paws, is very typical of the Presa" [30]  . So, probably someone changed opinion, as in the standard of the Dogo — it is not just my personal impression — what is being said about the white markings is very far from that. Opinions change, the standard seems to change consequently.

As a matter of fact, no less that in the "eliminatory defects" of the Dogo Canario breed standard we read: "Undesirable white markings ". Having previously specified, referring to the white colour, that "it is desirable that it is reduced as much as possible" it is yet very clear that white markings in this standard have been totally discriminated. The truth, which is supported by historical texts and images — is that in the Canary Islands dogs with white markings exist since a number of years [31] — in spite of any breed standard —and their genetic diversity, as that of the black coated specimens, is an asset which pertains with complete legitimacy to the Presa Canario breed.

Finally the "Weight". The breed standard of the Presa Canario says "Average of the males: from 45 to 57 Kg. (from 99 to 125 lbs.)" and "Average of the females: from 40 to 50 kg. (from 88 to 110 lbs. )" , while that of the Dogo Canario just sets a minimum weight: 50 kg for the males and 40 kg for the bitches. To let an undetermined maximum weight is, in my opinion, an error considering the present day dogs the world tends to produce — talking about molossers -

worrying gigantism phenomena. `Worrying" at least for three reasons. First of all because it plays with the newbies of the canine world trying to impress them with size and so giving more attention to the aesthetical aspect (the bigger, the better) of the dog, without adequately considering other important qualities. In the second place, because in the great majority of the cases these oversized specimens have limited functional skills. Third, because they also probably will have more health problems.

But again, the aspect we should more care about concerns the typical characteristics of the breed. Was once the Presa Canario a dog that easily passed 60 kg reaching in some cases 70 kg or more? It does not result to me. "To preserve" does not mean to manipulate as a consequence of personal likings.

Well, reading and analyzing with a minimum of attention the breed standards it is clear that there are definitely differences. But these differences are not there out of casualty, they are a precise consequence. In this sense, even if I sustain that the differences are there to be seen, I would like to insist on the concept previously explained, be it that the original differences come from the selection process, in the concept of the dog, in the respect at all the time of its history (like it or not) and its traditions. And this, inevitably produces differences not only in the papers (the standards) but also in the same dogs. The idea of "transmit by preserving" was evidently not a priority for those who should have defended our breed in the opportune official places, people who know seem to use the alibi of an eventual — yet improbable, in 2001 —extinction of the breed [32]  , maybe in order to hide macroscopic errors. For the official Club the objective to "diffuse numerically" has always been preponderant. Actually, at the end of the Nineties, Antonio Gomez Ramirez, former president of the Club Espanol del Presa Canario, writes: "the incorporation of these new breeders, always aficionados, favoured the progressive growth of the number of the specimen" and he goes on "this rise of the population produce an easier diffusion of the breed, to wake the interest of more persons, and with that the club accomplish its mission of divulgation and promotion" [33]  . Hard to be clearer.

The same concept of "transmit by preserving" seems not to be clear for those owners, aficionados, breeders who think to support the Presa Canario and at present day participate to a system (with incorrect denomination and different breed standard) ruled by shows which are merely beauty contests. A system in which is not required any type of functional test in order to be awarded titles and consequently to produce a number of litters (as if "beauty champion" would mean "good stud"), so determining — or better said "deteriorating" —the qualities of the future generations.

We come then to the recurring question: are Presa Canario and Dogo Canario two different breeds? To give an answer to this question is possible, after elaborating on two concepts.

It can be object of discussion if the Dogo Canario breed exists or not — and as we already have seen at least from a legal point of view it is clear it does not —but on the other side it is very clear that exists dogs which correspond and are the image of that standard of the Dogo Canario: lymphatic and apathetic dogs, with short legs, too heavy, with much head-facial wrinkles.

Without counting that, in spite of all that can be written in a standard, in reality much of these dogs frequently show also excess of lips, flat or not deep rib cages, incorrect leg positioning and scarce angulations, no temperament. At the same time we should admit that exist also cases of dogs — few, to say the truth — that even if they are formally Dogos Canarios possess the typical qualities of the Presa Canario. But this is not a sufficient condition — anyhow — to affirm that Dogo Canario and Presa Canario are the same thing. In the system of the Dogo Canario these virtuous dogs do not have a future. Their bloodlines will be inevitably mixed with the most widespread ones — the ones of "pure Dogo Canario" — so losing rapidly, generation after generation, their functional skills; all this in order to pursue the mission of the whole system: the title of beauty champion, on which the breeders of Dogo Canario focus their "selection" process.

As a result, the concept of the Dogo Canario is not so recent, it was born in the first half of the Eighties, with the Club Espanol de Presa Canario — direct expression of the breeders from Tenerife — and their methods of recuperation of the breed, totally focused on the aesthetic of the dog. Already in 1985 says Clemente Reyes Santana [34]  : I have not understood if what this club pretend to produce is a dog for decoration, or on the contrag if they try to adapt the standard to the dog which result by the exotic crossings they are producing".

We arrive then to the primordial difference between Presa Canario and Dogo Canario: the breeding concept — for a number of years very different between the island of Tenerife and that of Gran Canaria. Manuel Curto, in the documentary "Il Perro de Presa Canario: l'antico guerriero" [35]  , says: "...the result is a different Perro de Presa in Tenerife and a different Perro de Presa in Gran Canaria".

The same breeder writes in his book [36]  : "In Tenerife they breed docile dogs, without temperament, the majority of the times. That because they do not pay attention to the temperament of the dog, its fierceness, the nobility of its character, its real physical strength. They just look at the appearance, at the coat colours (or brindle or fawn.

In Gran Canaria the colour is not that important. Before now, and since a long time ago, the catching dogs were being selected by their aptitudes, not for the colour of their coat. White or black, brindle or fawn, with white markings or not, it was not important. "A good charge, a firm catch, and the resistance", these were the indispensable qualities in order to be a good Perro de Presa Canario. The dog who used to possess that characteristics could not be, never, quiet with the strangers, nor coward or timid, nor it was indecisive when it was the time to face an human intruder. That is the good dog for the guard and defence of the homes andproperties.".

Anyhow, it is widely known that the population of Presas Canarios from Gran Canaria has always been taken into little account by the "official" Club, the one of Tenerife, which in various occasions has been presented by its own members as the unique party involved into the recovery of the breed. For example M. Martin Bethencourt [37] in his book, which was edited by the same Club Espanol del Presa Canario — writes at page 75 "In face of this big amount of work, we can honestly affirm that to say Presa Canario means just to say Club Espanol  del Presa Canario".Something which obviously does not absolutely correspond to the truth.

Well, for the reasons above explained and with due explanations given, we can in my opinion maintain that Presa Canario and Dogo Canario are for sure "two different dogs". We can elaborate by saying that the separation process has been originated some time ago — in 2001 — and considering what's already said we can add that time will contribute to widening these differences; this in the case the Dogo Canario would not cease to exist before and that consequently the dogs which represent the breed will stop to enter the selection process. With humbleness, the community of El Presa.com has been created some years ago, at the end of 1998 — and it will live on to defend and promote the preservation of the Presa Canario breed with all his typical characteristics that we already talked about.

In order to cite the phrase of a breeder who I esteem and respect for his work — which does not fear the judgment of time: "the Perro de Presa Canario is more alive than ever .

Bibliography

ill See the Internet forum threads: http://www.elpresa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25151 and http://www.elpresa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25277

[2] Manuel Curti) Gracia, El perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera oginen, La Laguna, Tenerife 1991 - Ed. Nueva Grafica S.A.L.

E. Clemente Reyes Santana, El Dogo Canario? — published in the website of the Club del Presa Canario de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: http://www.elpresacanario.com j4_1Pascual Asensi Peinado, El nuevo libro de El Presa Canario y el Ca de Bou, Tikal Ediciones, Barcelona, 2000

151,4cuerdos del Cabildo de Tenerife, 5th February 1516

[6] Clemente Reyes Santana, El Perro de Presa Canario, Revista Aguayro, Caja Insular de Ahorros de Gran Canaria, September October 1988

in Manuel Curti) Gracia, El perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera oginen, Ed. Nueva Grafica S.A.L., La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991 — Page 225

01 Juan Martinez y Alfredo Ayala, Senderos Islelios, TVE2

[9] Eduardo de Echegaray, Roque Barcia - Diccionario general etimologico de la lengua espaiiola - Page 877 -Editor J. M. Faquineto, 1887

r1o] El Diccionario portugues-espariol de David Ortega Cavero published in1966 by Editor Sopena says at page 651. "Filar: (talking about dogs): to catch, to grab"

< >Boletin Oficial de Canarias, Number 61 — Friday 10th of May, 1991 — Pag. 2610Boletin Oficial del Estado — Number 142 — Thursday 14th of June, 2001 — Pag. 21156 - 21182Boletin Oficial del Estado — Number 10 — Thursday 12th of January, 2006 — Pag. 1349 - 1351[141 Ministerio de Agricultura Pesca y Alimentacion - Requerimiento al presidente de la Real Sociedad Canina Espanola para la modificacion de sus estatutos y reglamientos —January 20th, 2003

[15] Manuel Curti) Gracia, El perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera oginen, Ed. Nueva Grafica S.A.L., La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991 — Page 15​

Pascual Asensi Peinado, El nuevo libro de El Presa Canario y el Ca de Bou, Tikal Ediciones, Barcelona, 2000 — Page. 140< >Manuel Curto Gracia, El Perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera origen, Ed. Nueva Grafica S.AL., La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991 - Page 211 and page 214Clemente Reyes Santana, La expresion en el Perro de Presa Canario- published on www.elpresa.com, February 2008Manuel Curto Gracia, El Presa Canario y el Dogo Canario son dos razas distintas, published on www.iremacurto.com Manuel Curt?) Gracia, El Perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera origen, Ed. Nueva Grafica S.AL., La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991 - Pages 101,162,233Augustin Del Rio Yenes, Alamo Espanol: historia de una realidad consolidada, Gijon, Ed. La Versal S.L., 1995C.A. Sharp, So Bite Me: A Close Look at Canine Dentition, published in Aussie Times, July-August 2002See the Internet Page http://www.bienmesabe.org/noticia.php?id=18360  [25]See the Internet page http://www.bienmesabe.org/noticia.php?id=18360 Manuel Curto Gracia, El Perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera origen, Ed. Nueva Grafica S.AL., La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991 - Pages 126 , 208Juan Martinez y Alfredo Ayala, Senderos Islenos, TVE2Manuel Curt?) Gracia. La capa negra en el Perro de Presa Canario, Canidapresa Magazine, n.8 March April 1999Clemente Reyes Santana, in its article "El Perro de Presa Canario", published in the magazine Aguayro of September October 1988, writes: "Another aspect is that of the black coat, that in Tenerife cannot easily be found, and that however in Gran Canaria is preserved in specimens wich are very representative of the breed as they demonstrate their origin from ancient Presas of the same coat colour"Manuel Martin Bethencourt, El Presa Canario, Club Espariol del Presa Canario, La Laguna (Tenerife), 1998< >

25

See for example what is said in the book of Manuel Curto Gracia, El Perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera origen, La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991, referring to the following dogs: "El Teide", owned by Don Pancho de La Paz Hernandez (page 60) —"El Quebrao" owned by Don Polo Acosta (page 135) —"El Palomo" and "El Palgrante" owned by D.Demetrio Trujillo Rodriguez (page 244)< >Magazine "Canaria Agraria y Pesquera", Las razas ganaderas canarias, Gobierno de Canarias, Consejeria de Agricultura Ganaderia Pesca y Alimentacion, Number 74 y 75, 2005Pascual Asensi Peinado, El nuevo libro de El Presa Canario y el Ca de Bou, Tikal Ediciones, Barcelona, 2000 — Pages 152, 153Manuel Curto Gracia, El Perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera origen, Ed. Nueva Grafica S.AL., La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991 - Page 95Canidapresa Magazine, Il Perro de Presa Canario: l'antico guerrieroManuel Curto Gracia, El Perro de Presa Canario: su verdadera origen, Ed. Nueva Grafica S.AL., La Laguna (Tenerife), 1991 - Page 108Manuel Martin Bethencourt, El Presa Canario, Club Espafiol del Presa Canario, La Laguna (Tenerife), 1998

FCI Presa Canario Breed Standard:

A molossoid type dog, originating from Tenerife and Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). It is believed to be the result of matings between the “majorero”, a prehispanic dog indigenous to these islands, and other molossoids introduced to the Canary Islands.

 

These matings produced an ethnical group of mastiff-type dogs, of moderately large size, brindle or fawn with white marking, with a specific molossoid morphology but yet agile and powerful, having a strong temperament, robust and lively, loyal character.

 

During the XVI and XVII centuries, the number of these dogs increased considerably and numerous references to them in pre-Conquest historical texts, especially in the “Cedularios del Cabildo” (municipal registers), which explain their duties essentially as guard dogs and protectors of cattle.

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General Apperance:

A moderately large sized molossoid, with a rectilinear profile and black mask. Robust and well-proportioned.

Important Proportions:

The body is longer than the height at the withers; this characteristic is more noticeable in the female.

 

Skull-foreface proportion is 60-40%. The width of the skull is 3/5 of the total length of the head. The distance from elbow to ground should be 50% of the height at the withers for males and a little less for females

Behaviour / Temperament: