The Presa Canario is a large, powerful, confident Molosser breed that is often utilized as a personal protection dog. Due to its size and temperament, special methods for caring for this breed are necessary--but overall, Presa Canario care doesn't require a great deal of work. Below you'll find plenty of details on caring for your Presa: puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. For answers to all your questions about Presa Canario care, keep reading!
As a large-sized breed, Presa Canario puppy development typically spans 17-19 months from birth to full maturity. Physically, Presa puppies grow rapidly in height and length for the first 7-8 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining a great deal of muscle mass and some fat; a Presa is normally at or near its full adult size (an average of 24 inches at the shoulders in height and 100 pounds in weight) at 12-14 months of age.
Socially, these puppies develop steadily: they reach adolescence at about six months, sexual maturity at 8-9 months, and full mental maturity by about 18 months (though some may retain their puppylike behavior for a number of additional months). For specific milestones in Presa Canario puppy development, see the chart below.
(NOTE: Dogs of this breed have the potential for aggression towards strangers and other animals, particularly other dogs; this behavior is normally the result of learned behaviors during the first year of a Presa's life. This means that new Presa owners are strongly encouraged to begin obedience training, socialization, and the teaching of gentle disciple methods as early in the puppy's life as possible. Harsh discipline and punishment of Presa puppies should be avoided at all costs.)
|Dog Age||Development Milestone|
|2-3 Weeks||Eyes/ears open, begins walking|
|2 Months||Old enough to be separated from mother, housetrained, introduced to solid food; obedience training and socialization should begin at this early stage|
|3 Months||Can begin exercising; vaccinations/de-worming needed|
|6 Months||Adolescent period starts, characterized by increased independence, fear, disobedience; training/socialization especially important during this stage|
|9 Months||Sexual maturity; can be transitioned to adult food|
As a muscular, athletic breed with a history as a working animal, Presa Canario exercise is extremely important in keeping these dogs happy, healthy, and peaceful. Presas are intelligent, independent, and task-oriented, so they'll be happiest if activities stimulate them mentally as well as physically.
And specifically how much exercise does a Presa Canario need? An adult Presa, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about 60 minutes of true physical activity; you can begin exercising a Presa puppy at three months of age by taking it on short (5- to 10-minute) leashed walks, then increasing the walks' frequency and duration as the puppy grows. It's also important that when walking the Presa puppy, you make sure it walks either beside or behind you, and is not allowed to lead; this establishes you as its "pack leader," and will have a positive effect on the Presa's obedience once it matures.
Some things to keep in mind when exercising your Presa Canario: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't be allowed to participate in activities that include a lot of jumping and running, as doing so can injure their still-developing bones and joints. And regardless of age, all dogs of this breed will need to be leashed when in public. Presas are suspicious of (and possibly aggressive towards) strangers and other dogs, so they'll need to be carefully controlled when you're out and about. When you're walking your adult Presa, make sure you lead the walk as described above, so the Presa believes you're the pack leader. These dogs also have a high prey drive, particularly when it comes to small animals--so even when you're exercising in your own yard, the area will need to be secured with a tall fence to keep the dog from taking off after every interesting-looking creature it sees.
Precautions aside, it's vital that you exercise your Presa Canario every single day. A bored or restless Presa will become disobedient, incredibly destructive, and at the worst, aggressive towards everyone. Consistent exercise, therefore, is good for the dog's sanity--and your own safety as well. Some exercise ideas:
- Walking: Two 20- to 30-minute leashed walks per day is a good target
- Fetch: A Presa will chase a ball or stick for hours
- Tug-of-War: Great indoor rainy-day activity; use a rope or old towel
- Canine Sports: Presas excel at weight-pulling, obedience trials, and other competitions
- Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; bonus if you can find a remote area where your Presa can be off-leash
When indoors, it's a great idea to give your Presa access to one or more chew-toys that will allow the dog to burn any excess energy. These dogs are known to be frequent chewers, so a chew-toy is definitely preferable to your favorite pair of shoes! It's also recommended that you establish a consistent daily exercise schedule for your Presa, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.
The amount of care needed for these dogs in terms of shedding and drooling is low to moderate overall. Presa Canario shedding is seasonal, but fairly light; Presas drool a little, but not nearly as much as other Molosser type breeds.
Presas have short-haired, flat coats that shed a little bit all the time, and more heavily during the spring and fall shedding seasons--but even then, the shedding is not heavy. According to experts, weekly brushing will help for most of the year, and daily brushing combined with a bath or two during shedding season will minimize the amount of shed hairs pretty well.
You can expect a Presa Canario, as a Molosser breed, to drool a little bit in anticipation food, in extreme heat, or after drinking water--but Presa drooling is very minimal compared to similar Molosser breeds like the Dogue de Bordeaux or various Mastiffs. It's a good idea to keep a rag handy (especially in the area where your Presa eats) to clean up any excess slobber.
A joke among veterinarians is: "Beefy dogs need beefy diets." Such is the case with the Presa Canario, a muscular breed that will require a great deal of animal proteins in its diet to provide needed energy. Breeders and enthusiasts agree that the best Presa Canario diet is one consisting of raw/fresh ingredients: lean meats, fresh vegetables, eggs, fish, and other high-protein sources. And while this is technically true, many owners don't like the time and expense required to feed their Presas such a diet; many choose premium dry food instead. Whatever your personal choice, be sure to avoid feeding your Presa cheap, generic, or "store-brand" dog food, as it simply doesn't fulfill the Presa's dietary needs, and will likely shorten the dog's lifespan if it subsists on cheap foods alone. Further, if your Presa Canario food is the premium dry kind, it's a good idea to add some of the raw/fresh foods listed above to at least one meal per day. It's a guarantee your Presa will love you for doing so!
And how much to feed your big Presa Canario? As you can imagine, quite a lot. The typical adult Presa, depending on its age, size, and activity level, will need about five cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. For a raw/fresh diet, an adult Presa will need 2-3% of its body weight in food per day, again divided into two meals. (A 100-pound Presa, for example, will need about 2½ pounds of raw/fresh food daily.) Presa Canario puppy food portions are a bit less for a dry diet: depending on a pup's age, it'll need about three cups of dry food per day, divided into three meals until six months old. Puppies will actually need a greater percentage of raw/fresh food: about 8% of a six-month-old Presa pup's body weight is suggested, then start lowering the percentage as the puppy grows. For more info, see the following chart (which lists dry food portions only):
|Dog Age||Dog Weight||Food Type||Amount||Frequency|
|2 Months||12 lbs||Dry (Puppy formula)||0.5 cups||3x/day|
|3 Months||30 lbs||Dry||0.75 cups||3x/day|
|6 Months||60 lbs||Dry||1 cup||3x/day|
|9 Months||80 lbs||Dry* (Puppy/Adult)||2 cups||2x/day|
|12 Months+||100 lbs||Dry (Adult formula)||2.5 cups||2x/day|
*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing in just a little adult formula with the puppy formula. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a little more adult food to the mixture until the dog is eating it entirely.
Try and stick to the above-listed portions if possible; dogs of this breed will quickly become obese if overfed, leading to joint, breathing, and digestive problems and a shortened lifespan. You can control your Presa's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl, all the time so it can eat anytime it wants; put your Presa's bowl down only at mealtimes instead.
If you're worried your Presa Canario is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Reduce your Presa's food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk or play period to its daily exercise schedule.
Opinions differ on what's the best dog food for Presa Canario dogs. They'll thrive best on a diet made up of fresh foods like lean meats, vegetables,eggs, and other protein-rich sources. Many owners, though, find such a diet for their dogs to be overwhelming, and choose premium dry food instead. If the dry food diet is your choice, you can add some fresh meat or vegetables to at least one meal per day.