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Canary Dog: Everything You Need to Know

The Canary Dog is a breed of Molossia dogs with heightened territorial and sentinel instincts, which originated on the islands of the Canary archipelago.

The Canary Dog is balanced, albeit slightly suspicious brutal, who considers it his mission to protect the peace of the family in which he lives. Restrained enough not to rush at everyone he meets, but also not phlegmatic, this Molossian guard is always ready for a feat in the name of the master. In her free time from guard activities, Presa Canario is not averse to throwing off the burden of worries and playing with the household. Just do not try to educate him as a babysitter or a deliveryman of morning newspapers – in these niches the Canary dogs are full of more successful competitors.

The breed originated on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. It is believed that the mahorero cattle dogs, bred by the Guanche tribes since ancient times, as well as Roman Molossians, which were brought to the Canary Islands later, took part in the formation of the animal genotype. For a long time, the Presa Canario freely bred in the territories of the archipelago, and the main sphere of their activity was the protection of the owner’s property and grazing.

In the 15th century, the Canary Islands were appropriated by the Spaniards, partially exterminating, and partially sending the indigenous population into captivity. The military conflict also affected the dogs. On the devastating ashes, the animals had nothing to guard, so a new job was invented for them – fighting and hunting wild animals. So, the Canary mastiffs were retrained into gladiators, who organized public performances, which at first were not distinguished by special cruelty.

Aggression and suspicion came to the breed later, when its representatives pumped the gene pool by crossing the Canary Dog with English Bulldogs and Mastiffs brought to Tenerife. The offspring from these matings had great viciousness and reaction speed, so the Spanish authorities considered the breed dangerous, allowing it to be kept only by butchers. Individuals belonging to the owners of other professions were destroyed. Dogs continued their fighting career, for the sake of which they were knitted with other four-legged “aggressors” such as Staffords and boxers. Subsequently, this led to the loss of aboriginal conformation by animals and stratification into breed types.

Since the second half of the 20th century, a ban was imposed on dogfighting, and the genus of Canary dogs fell into decay. Perhaps the breed would have disappeared if the Spanish enthusiasts had not taken up its revival. The animals were once again updated the phenotype, adding the genes of Rottweilers, Great Danes, and Napolitano Mastino, and in 1982 the National Presa Canario Club began to work. In 1986, the first dog dog shows started in Spain, in 1989 the breed was standardized, and in 2001 its representatives were officially registered by the FCI.

Canary Dog looks like a Cane Corso with its moloss-like, emphatically brutal appearance. The breed’s weight category is also serious: a correct male must increase at least 50 kg of live weight, while bitches are allowed to stay at around 40 kg. The “girls” also have other external differences. For example, females have a more elongated body format. In addition, they are much shorter than their partners: only 56-61 cm versus 64-68 cm observed in males. They add texture and charisma to the breed “wild” tiger suit, as well as small folds of skin on the face, reminiscent of the ancestors of the mastiffs.

The strong massive head of the Great Dane has the shape of an elongated cube. The ratio of the length of the skull to the muzzle is approximately 60:40. The skull is moderately convex with prominent cheekbones, a smoothed occipital protuberance, and loose skin. The stop is quite noticeable, but not steep, with a well-defined middle crease. A characteristic feature of the breed is a flat, straight muzzle with a wide base, only slightly tapering at the tip.

Lips, when in contact with each other, lips take the shape of an inverted V, while the upper lips hang slightly downward. The jaws are massive with developed canines, large molars, and relatively small front teeth. Standard bite types are scissor and tight undershot. A straight jaw joint is acceptable, but undesirable, as it contributes to the abrasion of the teeth.

The nose is a brightly pigmented lobe with large nostrils stretched in width. The front of the nose protrudes slightly above the dog’s lips.

The Canary Dog has large or medium-sized eyes with a harmonious fit – that is, not protruding, but not deeply set either. The eyeballs cover dense, brightly pigmented eyelids. The classic color of the iris is from chestnut to dark brown.

Ears hanging loosely on the sides of the skull, the ears are far apart from each other. The ear sheet itself is small, closely adhering to the head and, when folded, resembles a pink petal. Often, the ears are cropped, in which case the organ takes the correct standing position.

The neck of the Great Dane resembles a cylinder with excellently developed muscles and a slight dewlap in the front part.

The body of a purebred individual should be massive, strong, and exceed the length of the animal’s height at the withers by at least 18-20%. The back is straight, but with a slight rise between the croup and the withers. The croup of the Great Danes is developed, and this part of the body looks more massive in bitches. An obligatory requirement of the breed standard is a wide chest with strongly arched ribs and a slightly tucked-up abdomen line.

Canary dogs have muscular, parallel limbs that provide an elastic long stride in movement. The shoulders of the breed are set at the correct slope, the elbows are without eversion to the sides, the pasterns are massive with a slight bend. Seen from the rear and the sides, the thighs of the animal appear elongated and muscular, and the hocks are low. All four feet have tight, rounded toes and hard black pads, with the front feet shorter than the hind feet. Claws – necessarily black.

The tail of the Great Dane has a medium setting, it is very massive at the base and tapering at the tip. In a calm dog, the tail is lowered from top to bottom, but does not reach the hocks; when excited, it takes a saber shape, rises towards the back, but never curls.

Formally, the “canary” do not have an undercoat, but in practice, it can actually be found in the cervical and gluteal regions. The topcoat is short, straight, and coarse. Longer hair on the thighs and withers, the shortest on the outside of the ears.

The traditional colors of the breed are all types of brindle: from light, gray to warm shades. In addition, the standard permits the breeding of deer and sand colors. There is a black mask on the face of the Great Dane. In addition, there may be contrasting white markings on the neck and toes that are undesirable.

An ideal show pet should fit within the parameters set by the standard on all counts. If the dog has noticeable defects in appearance such as general fragility of appearance, atypical skull shape, and disturbing proportions, this will greatly affect the show rating. As for the ban on exhibiting, the Canary Dog, which has the following defects in appearance, can get it:

  • heterochromia or overly light eyes;
  • white marks on wool in places not specified by the standard;
  • overshot;
  • lack of a black mask;
  • depigmented skin of the lips, eyelids, and lobes;
  • keeled chest;
  • cryptorchidism;
  • the croup below the level of the withers.

Individuals with docked tails, as well as those with atypical behavior, are not allowed for exhibitions and breeding. Usually, these are overly cowardly or aggressive animals that are difficult to control in the ring.

Canary dogs are no longer gladiators or game hunters, but their territorial instinct is still strong. That is why it is better to acquire a Canary Dog when there is a need for a protector and a sensitive watchdog. In everyday life, tiger “pitching” is quite balanced and calm but does not fall out of reality, preferring to keep the situation under control. Hence – distrust of strangers and suspicion of everyone who tries to closely contact the owner. In relations with fellow tribesmen, Canarian Great Danes are reasonable and restrained, but exactly until the first provocation. As soon as the intensity of passions reaches its peak, it is unrealistic to stop the dog.

Attacking without warning is not in the Presa Canario’s rules, so if an animal growls, stands up, and shows fangs, this signals that it is time to retreat immediately. Running from the natives of Tenerife is not recommended in principle unless you want to provoke the dog to more drastic measures. Canary dogs have a peaceful and trusting relationship with children. The formidable “bodyguard” can afford a lot for kids, so if you see a dog sledding to children, this is not a staged show, but quite an ordinary phenomenon for a family in which the dog and the children trust each other. However, you should not rely on the patience of the animal: for all their love of children, Canary mastiffs are not included in the top four-legged nannies on which to leave babies.

With the rest of the pets, the breed does not compete for spheres of influence, especially if these same pets are inferior to dogs in size. Having a Presa Canario puppy, it is not necessary to evict cats and dogs of decorative breeds from the house. Living side by side, animals gradually rub against each other and do not conflict. Canary dogs prefer to find out who is in charge among themselves, so if you plan to become the owner of two males or bitches, get ready for friction between the wards. In everyday life, the descendants of Roman Molossians are unpretentious; if the owner does not have a desire to communicate, they easily merge with the interior. Another distinctive feature of the breed’s character is a slight stubbornness that you just need to accept.

The Canary Dog is a dog for which early socialization is important. No matter what the inhabitants say about the bloodthirstiness of the breed, in 9 cases out of 10 it is due to the incorrect integration of the animal into the home and street environment. All the work of accustoming the puppy to the sounds, smells, and surprises of the surrounding world falls on the owner’s shoulders, as well as responsibility for the pet’s behavior. So get ready to work hard before you get a well-mannered and unflappable guard and not an explosive aggressor who creates problems with others and the law.

Inexperienced owners mistakenly understand socialization as the ability of the Canary mastiff to join the canine collective, as well as fostering the habit of not being intimidated by sharp sounds, public transport, and other external stimuli. As a result: on the very first walks of the puppy, they try to “make friends” with fellow tribesmen who are resting nearby, instead of explaining common truths to the kid on their own. Remember, in the first months of life, the mentor and parent for the dog is a person, not a relative. It is with the owner that the baby should walk and obey him.

Attempts to replace the authority of the owner by participation in the educational process of other family members are not counted. The teacher must be someone alone, otherwise, the Dogo Canary will quickly realize that there is no leader in the house, and will derive its own benefit from the situation. By the way, about the dominant features of the breed: they are extremely vividly manifested in adolescence, although, having matured, the “Canarian” no, no, and will try to imagine himself as a superman. In this regard, the dog will have to be regularly reminded that he is not the center of the universe.

Do not forget that the dog should never enter or leave the apartment in front of the person. Attempts to grumble and bite when the owner takes away the toy should be immediately stopped (take away, but not screaming or hitting the puppy). Do not let your pet lie on the bed, as well as prevent your access to any of the rooms in the house. By not stopping such behavior, you equalize the animal with yourself in rights, which stimulates it to further disobedience.

Canary dogs are trained according to the same methods as all leader dogs. Work out basic commands like “Sit!”, “Take a walk!”, “Place!” even a novice owner can since the breed’s memory and intelligence are excellent. To ensure the safety of others and the ability to appear with the dog in public places, it is enough to take courses UGS and OKD. If a sports career is planned for the “Canary”, it is worth going with him to the training grounds. Dogs playing sports should work automatically and immediately execute commands.

Important: you can use the Canary mastiff in sports disciplines no earlier than the animal is one year old. Like most large breeds, the Presa Canario does not have very strong joints, so exercising too early can negatively affect their health.

If you wish, you can also try complex training, which allows you to develop the skills of obedience and protection of the owner in the Canary Mastiff. The ideal option is to allow yourself and the puppy individual lessons with a dog handler. A professional will quickly determine the type of pet, select ways to deal with it, and give helpful advice on suitable training methods.

Since the Canary mastiffs come from a tropical climate, it is difficult for them to put up with the Russian weather realities. For this reason, dog handlers recommend keeping the breed in houses and apartments, allowing for the summer period to move to an open-air cage or yard. Otherwise, the natives of Tenerife are undemanding pets, who care enough to be provided with a separate bed, bowls for food and drink, and a couple of toys. The rest of the “belongings” the dog does not need by and large. The only caveat: take into account the size of the breed and choose larger toys so that the animal does not have the opportunity to swallow them. It is better to throw away spoiled and bitten items of Canarian mastiff’s fun without regret. If the tiger “athlete” managed to gut the toy, there is a risk that he will be able to swallow a piece of plastic or rubber, and this leads to unpleasant consequences and standing in lines at the veterinary office.

The Canary Dog is not such a pronounced brachycephalic, like, for example, the English Bulldog, which does not prevent him from suffering from excessive heat. In the summer heat, you need to walk with your pet less, transferring the promenade to early morning and late evening. Even though the Presa Canario is not included in the Russian list of potentially dangerous breeds, it is recommended to take the dog into public places on a leash and in a muzzle, and individuals who have perfectly passed the obedience standards must also wear “equipment”. Harnesses with weights, which are sometimes recommended for walking large breeds, are better not to use in the case of “canaries”. The descendants of Roman Molossians are already heavy dogs, they do not need an extra load on the joints and spine.

Free walking is possible in a private fenced area, as well as in deserted places, for example, on wastelands or in the forest. Foresight is also important. Sometimes collisions with ill-mannered wards of other dog owners lead not only to a conflict between the owners but also to injuries of pets. If you see that a squeaky decorative furry or an aggressive “Caucasian” is walking nearby, move away with your pet. Canary mastiffs rarely provoke a fight, but they also do not intend to concede to presumptuous fellow tribesmen.

It is not difficult to take care of the short coat of the Canary mastiff: the dogs are washed once every 3-6 months, and twice a week they are passed through the coat with a brush or rubber mitten to collect dead hairs and massage the skin. Formally, the breed is devoid of undercoat, but in practice, it is often found on the dog’s neck and thighs, so periodically it is better to strip these zones, that is, to pluck out the dead down layer by hand.

The breed’s haircut is not regulated by the standard, but in the United States, it is customary to cut the “Canadians”. Basically, these manipulations are performed with show individuals: a haircut helps to emphasize the ideal areas of the figure, diverting the attention of the evaluation committee from less “successful” parts of the body. Buying dog cosmetics like conditioners and hair sprays are also relevant for dog show owners. But if there is a desire to give the pet’s “costume” more shine, without spending extra money, a solution of vinegar, vodka, and water will perfectly cope with the task. It is enough to moisten a cloth in it and run it over the wool.

Set aside time once a week to check your dog’s ears. If dirt or excess sulfur is found inside the funnel, they should be removed with a clean cloth moistened with a special solution or ear drops. The eyes should be examined daily, wiping them a couple of times a week with a napkin moistened with strong tea infusion or chamomile decoction. In addition, every month, the Canary Dog needs to shorten the claws, which is more convenient to do with a claw cutter for large breeds.

Brushing your teeth is also one of the mandatory procedures, which will have to be organized at least twice a week. If you do not risk brushing your Dogo’s teeth yourself, buy oral sprays and gels. It is enough to partially apply them on the teeth of the animal – then, mixing with saliva, the funds are independently distributed in the mouth. Purchased solid delicacies and natural tomato juice clean the plaque well.

The main source of protein in the diet of the Great Dane should be lean, lean meat with a lot of cartilage. A couple of times a week, it is useful to replace the meat part with frozen fish fillets or offal (liver, kidneys, heart, lungs), not forgetting to increase the serving size due to the reduced nutritional value of the listed products. By the way, to satisfy the appetite of such a large dog like the Great Dane, it is better to cook porridge with meat – buckwheat, oatmeal, rice.

Milk is not allowed for adult “Canaries” – it is not assimilated by the body. But buttermilk, low-fat kefir, and cottage cheese are allowed. Poultry meat is suitable for puppies and adolescents as it is rich in amino acids. But in this case, it is important to know that the dog is completely healthy since there are diseases in which any bird is contraindicated. In addition, breeders recommend introducing dietary supplements with chondroitin and glucosamine into the feed of young individuals, which helps to avoid joint problems that often occur in adolescent dogs.

Chicken eggs and seaweed are also sources of useful microelements and vitamins. Be sure to include vegetables in the menu of the Mastiff Canary. For example, cabbage and beets must be heat treated, but carrot shavings are allowed to be fed raw. You can diversify the dog’s diet with fresh berries and rye bread croutons. The body’s need for fats can be easily met with butter and unrefined vegetable oil, but here it is important not to overdo it, so as not to cause an upset stomach.

It will be necessary to determine which dry food is suitable for the Dogo Canary using the selection method, so mistakes and blunders in this matter are inevitable. If you don’t want to experiment on your four-legged friend, try leaving him on the “dryer” that the breeder who sold you the dog bought – sometimes this method works. And of course, don’t skimp on the animal by choosing budget brands. Not only do cheap feeds contain virtually no meat, but they also provoke digestive and kidney problems.

The most common disease of the Great Danes is dysplasia of the hip and elbow joints. The disease is inherited from parents, so early diagnosis of manufacturers is an important nuance that should not be overlooked. Sometimes representatives of the breed are diagnosed with Wobbler’s syndrome, epilepsy, and multifocal retinopathy, but this does not happen as often as in the case of dysplasia. Another important feature of the Presa Canario is its tendency to volvulus and stomach. Usually, overfeeding is to blame, as well as non-compliance with the regime (walking and sports training immediately after eating). The rest of the Canary mastiffs are quite healthy and strong creatures, with careful care they live no less than other large breeds, that is, up to 10-12 years.

How to choose a puppy?

  • Make sure litter breeders are successfully tested for genetic joint dysplasia.
  • Try to get as much information as possible about the puppy’s ancestors from the seller. Do not forget that Canary Dogs continue to exist in different breed types, differing both in appearance and in temperament.
  • Among breeders, the offspring of Spanish and Polish lines are especially appreciated, so if you are offered a puppy from “Poles” or “Spaniards” – this is a big plus.
  • Since it is easy for an inexperienced owner to confuse a Canary mastiff with a Cane Corso, it is better to go with a specialist pedigree for the first acquaintance with the puppy and the seller.
  • If possible, get to know all the animals from the litter and test them for courage – are they afraid of the presence of a stranger, how they react to harsh sounds. Give preference to moderately brave, curious, but not aggressive babies.
  • Ask the breeder to show you the breeding bitch. It is from the parent that puppies often inherent character traits and habits.

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