You are currently viewing New – old – breed standard for Presa Canario in FCI. FCI coming back to original breed standard as of October 5th 2023

New – old – breed standard for Presa Canario in FCI. FCI coming back to original breed standard as of October 5th 2023

It’s official. FCI approved the original breed standard for Presa Canario. Many people protested changes that lasted for 20 years and leaded to big split in the overall type of Presa Canario and breed lost uniformity. From now on there will be only one guide as all organizations adopted almost same version of Presa Canario breed standard

If you can and speak Spanish please find the Spanish version and read the original one. 

Underlined, bold text means these are the parts that changed

5.10.2023/ EN FCI-Standard N° 346 PRESA CANARIO

TRANSLATION: Brígida Nestler. Technical Supervision: Mr Miguel Ángel Martínez. Revision: Mr Jorge Nallem.

Official language (ES).

ORIGIN: Spain.


UTILIZATION: Guard dog used for protection of cattle.


Group 2

Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid Breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle dogs.

Section 2.1 Molossoid Mastiff type.

Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: 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 catch dogs, of medium size, brindle, fawn or black 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 preConquest historical texts, especially in the “Cedularios del Cabildo” (municipal registers), which explain their duties essentially as guard dogs and protectors of cattle.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: A medium-sized molossoid dog, 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: Severe look; attentive expression. Especially suited to guarding and traditionally used for herding cattle. Balanced temperament and very self-confident. Low and deep bark. Obedient and docile with family members, very devoted to its master, but can be suspicious of strangers. Confident attitude, noble and a little distant. When alert, the stance is firm with a vigilant attitude.

HEAD: Massive, brachycephalic and compact in appearance, covered with thick skin. The shape tends towards a slightly elongated cube. The cranial-facial lines are parallel or slightly converging.


Skull: Slightly convex in anteroposterior and transversal direction. Frontal bone tends to be flat. The width is almost identical to the length. Pronounced zygomatic arch, with well developed cheek and jaw muscles, but not prominent, covered with loose skin. The occipital protuberance is only slightly marked.

Stop: The stop is pronounced, but not abrupt. The furrow between the frontal lobes is well defined and is about two thirds the size of the skull.


Nose: Wide, strong black pigmentation. In line with the muzzle. The nostrils are large to facilitate breathing.

Muzzle: Shorter than the skull, normally about 40% of the total length of the head. The width is 2/3 of that of the skull. Very wide base, narrowing slightly towards the nose. Bridge of the nose is flat and straight, without ridges.

Lips: The upper lip is pendulous, although not excessively. Seen from the front, the upper and lower lips come together to form an inverted V. The flews are slightly divergent. The inside of the lips is a dark colour.

Jaws/Teeth: Scissor bite or slightly undershot bite, max 2 mms. The dental arch is wide at the canines. The teeth are wide and solidly set. Large molars, small incisors, well developed canines. The absence of premolars P1 is not subject to penalisation, given that the catch is made with incisors and canines, which must be properly aligned and anchored.

EYES: Slightly oval in shape, of medium size. Set well apart, but neither sunken nor protruding. Eyelids are black and tight-fitting, never sagging. The colour varies from dark to medium brown, depending on the colour of the coat. They should never be light.

EARS: Medium sized, set well apart, with short and fine hair. They fall naturally on each side of the head. If folded, they are in the shape of a rose. They are set on slightly above eye level. Ears set too high and very close on the head are considered unusual. In countries were cropping is allowed, they must stand erect.

NECK: Shorter than the length of the head. Skin on the underside is loose, forming a slight dewlap. Solid and straight, it tends to be cylindrical and muscular. Average length: between 18 and 20 cm.

BODY: Long, broad and deep. Its length is normally 18 or 20 % longer than its withers height.

Top line: Straight, without deformations and sustained by well developed but barely visible muscles. Rising slightly from the withers to the croup. Back apparently hollow, just behind the withers. The height at the croup is 1,5 cm more than the height at the withers.

Croup: Medium length, broad and rounded. Should not be long as this would limit movement. The female is usually broader.

Chest: With great capacity and well defined pectoral muscles. Seen from both the front and the side, it should be well let down to at least the elbow. Thoracic perimeter is usually equal to the height at the withers plus 30% of the latter, although a bigger proportion is desirable. Well sprung ribcage.

Underline and belly: Slightly tucked up, never sagging. The flanks are only slightly pronounced.

TAIL: Thick base, tapering to the tip, down to the hock but no longer. High set on. In action it rises like a sabre, but without curling nor leaning towards the back. At rest it hangs straight with a slight curve at the tip.



Shoulder: Well laid back.

Upper arm: Well angulated, oblique.

Forearm: Well balanced, straight. Strong boned and well muscled.

Elbow: Must be neither too close to the ribs nor sticking out.

Metacarpus (Pastern): Very solid and slightly sloping.

Forefeet: Cat feet with rounded toes, not too close together. Well developed and black pads. Nails are dark, white nails should be avoided, although they can occur in function of coat colour.


General appearance: Seen from behind, strong and parallel, without deviation.

Thigh: Long and well muscled thighs.

Stifle (Knee): Angulation not very pronounced but should not be insufficient.

Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Always well let down.

Hind feet: Slightly longer than the front feet, otherwise identical.

GAIT / MOVEMENT: On the move, the Presa Canario is agile and supple and should cover a lot of ground. Long reach. The tail is carried low and the head is carried only a little above the level of the back. When alert, the head and tail are carried high.

SKIN: Thick and elastic. Looser on and around the neck. When alert, the skin on the head forms symmetrical wrinkles which fan out from the furrow between the front lobes.


Hair: Short, coarse, flat with no undercoat (it can appear on neck and on back of the thighs). Rather coarse to the touch. Very short and fine on the ears; slightly longer on the withers and on the back of thighs.

Colour: All shades of brindle up to sand color. All shades of fawn up to sand base color. Black. White marks are acceptable on the chest, around the neck or throat, forefeet and hind feet, but these should be kept to a minimum. The mask is always black (in fawn and brindle specimens) and should not spread above eye level.


Height at the withers:

Males: 61 – 66 cm.

Females: 57 – 62 cm.


Medium: Males: 45 to 57 kg

        Females: 40 to 50 kg

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


Pincer bite.

Too many wrinkles in the craniofacial region.

Presence of claw.


• Any fault is considered severe when affecting the expression and limiting the type of the dog.

Specimens with greyhound appearance.

• Incorrect head proportions.

• Extremely convergent facial-cranial lines (over pronounced stop)

• Loins and withers of the same height.

• Incorrect position of limbs.

• Square profile.

• Triangular head, narrow (not cube shape).

• Thin, curled or deformed tail. Set on high.

Too pronounced saddle or roach back.

• Light eyes (yellow), very close together or oblique, sunken or protruding.

• Excessive undershot mouth.

• Insufficient mask.

Butterfly nose.

Too floppy chaps.

• Missing teeth except P1.


• Aggressive or overly shy dogs.

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities.

• Total depigmented nose.

• Unacceptable white marks.

White marking on more than 20 %.

• Overshot mouth.

• Croup lower than withers. Sloping topline.

• Blue eyes or unmatched in colour.

• Cropped tail.


• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

The latest amendments are in bold characters.

Ewa Ziemska

Breeder and researcher of Presa Canario. Lived in Poland, London UK and presently stays in Kentucky, USA and traveled through whole Europe and 22 States discovering the breed. Speaks Polish, English and Spanish. Master of Science of Management and Computer Modeling and Engineer of Production Engineering of Kielce University of Technology. Avid traveler, photographer and dog book collector. Instagram @reygladiador