Before the year 1402

The dogs of the Canarian aboriginals.

The Spanish conquerors arrived in the Canary Islands in 1402. An aboriginal population from North Africa was already living on the canary islands dating back to the stone age. They lived in caves, wooden cabins or stone shelters. The dogs they had were small and were called “cancha”.

Year 1402

The dogs of the Spanish conquerors.

During the conquest of the Canary Islands, the Spaniards bought many animals on their ships, amongst them, different types of dogs: mastiffs, presas, podencos, pedigueros, cattle dogs, and possibly greyhounds.

Between 1500 and 1800

Dogs in agreements and ordinances.

There survive documents named ‘Agreements of the Cabildos and ordinances’ that talk about the purpose of dogs in the Canary Islands between the 15th and 18th centuries. They describe the use for cattle and prey dogs. Both were used for hunting feral dogs, and their other purpose was as guard dogs. However, the presa dogs were also butcher’s dogs helping butchers catch animals. The cattle dogs were in charge of protecting the cattle.

Between 1800 and 1900

Unknown century.

No information about dogs was found between the 18th and 19th centuries within the Agreements of the Cabildos and the ordinances. Therefore, there are 100 years in which we have no history of presa and cattle dogs.

Between 1920 and 1950

The dog fights.

Between 1920 and 1950, some fans of low social status became fond of dog fights, called “pechadas” in the Canary Islands. Those dogs with which they fought were products of crosses between prey dogs, cattle dogs, Spanish Mastiffs, English bulldogs, Bull Terriers and Great Danes. These dogs were simply crosses destined for fighting; however, they also ended up as guard dogs.

Mid 20th century

Dog fighting is prohibited.

Dog fights became a great public spectacle; however, in the middle of the 20th century, they were prohibited. From then on, there were only a few clandestine fights, but the love of fighting faded over time to the point where very few prey-type dogs were left.

Second half of the 70's.

The Perro de Presa Canario begins as a breed concept.

Before the 1970s, prey dogs were never called “Perros de Presa Canario”, but “perros de presa” (prey dogs), perros de la tierra (dogs of the land), and perro basto, or Bordón if it was crossed with an English Bulldog. In the mid-1970s, the Perro de Presa Canario began to be discussed as a breed concept. Breeding began with what was left of those prey-type dogs as a reference and keeping in mind the descriptions from the fighters of old.

First half of the 80's.

Foundation of breed clubs.

In 1982, the Spanish Club of the Perro de Presa Canario was founded, based in Tenerife. In 1983, the Club del Perro de Presa Canario de Las Palmas was founded, based in Gran Canaria. These clubs arose to unify the Perro de Presa Canario fans and promote the Perro de Presa Canario.

Year 1989

1989 standard.

In 1989, due to the joint work between clubs and the most relevant people of that time, the standard of the Perro de Presa Canario was created, a document in which the characteristics of the Perro de Presa Canario are described in great detail. At this time, the Perro de Presa Canario can be spoken of as a breed since it can also be objectively identified. It was agreed that this would be the standard submitted to the FCI for international acceptance of the breed.

The 90's.

On the way to stardom.

The 1990s were a very active decade for the Perro de Presa Canario, as it became quite famous throughout Spain. The first foreign fans began to notice it thanks to the internet. Many shows, exhibitions, magazines, interviews, documentaries, books, etc., were created during this time. There were many specimens, and the Perro de Presa Canario could be differentiated as a unique breed. However, there was also a lot of corruption in the clubs, many disputes between fans, and many ego wars.

Year 1999

The Law of Potentially Dangerous Dogs (PPP).

The Law of Potentially Dangerous Dogs (PPP).

If the history of the Perro de Presa Canario wasn’t already complicated, in 1999, the Law of Potentially Dangerous Dogs arrived in Spain like a bomb. On all the televisions and newspapers, the only thing that was talked about daily was dangerous dogs that had attacked their owners. So naturally, this damaged the Perro de Presa Canario significantly, causing dog sales to drop dramatically.

Year 2001

The Dogo Canario emerges.

Here begins one of the most confusing periods for the breed. In 2001, the Spanish Club of the Perro de Presa Canario presented the breed to the FCI for official acceptance. However, some crucial modifications were made to the breed standard (1989), changing everything. On the recommendation of the FCI, and due to the law of dangerous dogs, the name is changed to Dogo Canario. This name has never been mentioned in the Canary Islands, not even since the time of the Agreements of the Cabildos and the ordinances. This change is because the word “Dogo” sounded less aggressive than “Presa”. The black colour, which has always existed since dog fighting, was also excluded. And the maximum weight of the specimens was changed from 57 kilos to 65 kilos in the case of males and from 50 to 55 kilos in the case of females.

Year 2003

The United Kennel Club (UKC).

Many fans of the Presa Canario, who did not feel represented by the Spanish Presa Canario Club, nor by the new name “Dogo Canario”, thus, a small group of breeders and fans ventured to the UKC. This American club accepted the breed. After negotiations, the breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club (United States of America), with its original standard and traditional name, Perro de Presa Canario.

Between 2003 and 2018

Presa Canario vs Dogo Canario.

Since the FCI provisionally accepted the Dogo Canario in 2001 and the UKC accepted the Presa Canario, the two breeds existed with a shared origin but different names, standards and purposes. The Dogo Canario was a dog selected for beauty shows that lacked functional capabilities. The Presa Canario was kept as a guard and defence dog and smaller and more functional. During all this time, the breeders of Dogo Canario stated that the Presa Canario and Dogo Canario were the same, coming to speak of Presa-Dogo Canario on many occasions.

Year 2018

The Presa and the Dogo Canario are merged.

Because the Perro de Presa Canario is a heritage of the Canary Islands, the FCI is forced to change the name back to Perro de Presa Canario and return to a previous standard; the Dogo Canario disappeared as a breed and merged with the Perro de Presa Canario.

Year 2021

Presarve emerges.

The history of the Perro de Presa Canario has gone through so many changes that it is challenging to understand its true origins fully. For example, during the creation of the Perro de Presa Canario as a breed concept in the second half of the 1970s, many origins were hidden or omitted; on some occasions, it was due to wanting to give the Perro de Presa Canario and older lineage than it genuinely had, and on other occasions, because the true origin of the dogs was not known due to fights between breeders.

From 2003 to the present, in the Perro de Presa Canario, some breeders and fans have misunderstood the history of the breed, selecting dogs without taking into account the phenotypic characteristics of the breed and limiting themselves to selecting only functional aptitudes, even reaching to the point of crossing with other pure breeds with the excuse that the Perro de Presa Canario is a product of crosses.

After the merger of the Dogo Canario with the Presa Canario in 2018, the number of specimens has increased; however, so has the heterogeneity.

Currently, we find many different types of dogs under the same name. Therefore, the function of Presarve is to serve as a guide for breeders, showing them what the true Perro de Presa Canario should be like, which is the one described in the 1989 standard. To do this, we provide breed lovers with various tools to help make it possible.

  • On the central platform (presarve.com), they can register their dogs and obtain digital pedigrees that will be cautiously updated and improved with discoveries, in which videos, photos and certificates of the specimens are displayed.
  • In the presarve museum (museum.presarve.com), you can see all the existing photos of the Presa Canario and all the historical documents that have been discovered.
  • At the Presarve Academy (academy.presarve.com), you can learn about professionals and connoisseurs of the breed in video format.