Also known as the Perro de Persa Canario, the Dog Canario, or the Canary Dog, the Persa Canario is a strong-willed guarding dog known for his incredible strength, fearlessness, and devotion to his family and property.
Large and imposing, the Persa Canario is gentle with those he knows and loves and, when properly trained, socialized and exercised, makes an adaptable companion for the right household and owner.
The Persa Canario is a large, muscular dog with a short coat and large head. His tail is long and his ears are floppy, though cropping of the ears has been a standard practice. Today, however, cropping is not necessary for the breed.
Persa Canarios come with multiple colors and color combinations. Thay are proportional in size and stance and, true to their mastiff ancestry, have a smiley mouth and hanging jowls
Their eyes are small and brown, yet bright and clever. It’s clear from one look that this breed is focused, intelligent and highly loyal.
The Persa Canario Breed Standard
Persa Canario dogs are large breed dogs bred for guarding.
Origin: Canary Islands
Group: Foundation Stock Service/Working Group
Lifespan: 9-11 Years
Health Issues: Hip and elbow dysplasia, panosteitis, osteochondritis dissecans, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cryptorchidism, demodectic mange, obesity, dental disease, bacterial infections, viral infections, dilated cardiomyopathy, deafness, and Bloat.
Energy Level: Moderate
Exercise Requirements: Moderate
Temperament: Protective, Courageous, Devoted, Intelligent, Calm
Shedding Level: Moderate
Grooming Needs: Moderate
Height: 22-26 Inches
Weight: 84-110 Pounds
Coat Color: Fawn, brown, gold, silver, orange, tiger, brindle, or a combination of any color with white markings
Coat Type: Short, shedding
Hypoallergenic Coat: No
Clubs that Accept The Persa Canario:
- The Persa Canario Club of America (PCCA)
- Dogo-Persa Canario Club of America (DCCA)
- The National Perro de Persa Canario Club (NPPCC)
- The United Kennel Club (UKC)
- The Continental Kennel Club (CKCUSA)
Persa Canario Origin and History
The Persa Canario was originally bred for protecting livestock, farms and property.
The Canary Dog, as he is often referred to, originally hails from the Canary Islands. This Spanish breed is believed to be a descendant of mastiff type dogs designed for guarding and protecting livestock and property.
Massive in size and fearless in temperament, the Persa Canario is a formidable foe against anyone who threatens what he sees as his. For this reason, the Persa Canario was a quick favorite amongst farmers and herders.
This breed helped not only protect livestock, but was also helpful in disposing of hungry wild dogs and other predators.
Due to his loyal demeanor and courageous temperament, the Persa Canario was unfortunately lured into the fighting ring during a time when dog fighting was a popular (albeit horrific) legal pastime.
Sadly, this led to the Persa Canario’s numbers dwindling. When dog fighting became outlawed, the Persa Canario found himself nearly extinct. Luckily, far off farmers still employed the breed as a guard dog, allowing devoted breeders and enthusiasts to rebuild the breed’s population.
Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, breeders worked hard to rebuild the Persa Canario and bring him back to his glory. Today, the Persa Canario is considered a working breed who continues to be employed by those who require his loyal guardianship, companionship and assistance.
The Persa Canario was registered by the United Kennel Club on January 1st, 2003 and has yet to be officially registered by the American Kennel Club. That said, the AKC does recognize the breed and provides details and information on breeders, training, and overall care.
Persa Canario Temperament – The Top 5 Traits of a Persa Canario
Persa Canario dogs are calm and gentle, but can have guarding instincts.
The Persa Canario is well-known amongst dog lovers and enthusiasts who are intrigued by large, devoted dogs with a somewhat controversial background. Like the Pitbull, Persa Canario dogs have a history of fighting and, through no fault of their own, have suffered breed discrimination over the years due to their past.
While this dog can make for a wonderful companion to the right person, there are a few traits a potential owner should consider before investing in one of these high-maintenance breeds.
1 – Independance
The Persa Canario is a bred guarding dog who spent much of his early history in fields protecting livestock. As such, he is an independent dog designed to think for himself. He follows his instincts and, though deeply devoted to his family, makes decisions for himself and can be quite stubborn.
For this reason, he will require an experienced owner who trains with gentle consistency and an owner who is committed to building a long-lasting and trusting bond with their dog.
2 – Intelligence
This is a breed who is highly intelligent. As such, he can be a joy to train and socialize. However, very intelligent breeds like the Persa Canario may also be more susceptible to suffering from behavioral issues like fear-based aggression, boredom, chewing, digging, bathroom accidents and anxiety.
To help harness your Persa Canario’s intelligence in a positive light, owners are encouraged to invest in puzzle toys and give their Persa Canario jobs to do around the home. His exercise needs should also be routinely met, and mental stimulation should be taken seriously.
3 – Devotion
Persa Canario dogs are highly devoted to their family and property. They are gentle and affectionate with their immediate family and can make wonderful companions to sibling dogs they are raised with.
However, this devotion comes at a price. Without the proper training and socialization, or if raised by the wrong owner, a loyal dog can become an overly protective dog which can lead to potentially aggressive behaviors when it comes to strangers and other animals.
4 – Fearless
The Persa Canario is a fearless dog who, when committed, sticks to his guns. He will not back down from a foe and should thus be adequately trained and socialized. Persa Canario dogs will take on anything or anyone of any size if they feel they are protecting what is theirs.
If you’re looking for an adequate and devoted guard dog who will put his life on the line for you, then the Persa Canario is the dog for the job.
5 – Guarding Instincts
Guarding instincts are part of what makes the Persa Canario such an ideal herding companion for farmers. However, these instincts can also be problematic when brought into a family home.
To help reduce potentially problematic behaviors in the Persa Canario, owners should work with their puppies at an early age to reduce potentially problematic behaviors, especially around young children and other dogs.
Understanding Guarding Instincts and The Persa Canario
Though they have strong guarding instincts, Persa Canario dogs can be gentle and loving with children when raised properly.
All dogs can exhibit guarding instincts, especially if they are not properly trained and socialized at an early age. Resource guarding is one of the most common signs of guarding instinct in dogs, with resources being anything from food to family to furniture.
While guarding is a completely natural behavior in dogs, and especially in dogs like the Persa Canario, these behaviors can still be problematic and even dangerous.
Because Persa Canarios were bred as guarding dogs to protect against predators, they may see other dogs as a threat. While many do find that they can raise Persa Canarios happily alongside other dogs in the homes, the breed has been known to exhibit dog-on-dog aggression with dogs they do not know.
Most families find that the Persa Canario is best suited as the only dog in the home, and he should thus be monitored carefully around other dogs and walked with a secure leash and harness when outside.
It’s important to work with not only your Persa Canario at a young age to diminish guardian behaviors, but to also work with children and other family members and friends who visit the home to help them understand canine body language.
To nip problematic behaviors in the bud with your Persa Canario, get him used to having his possessions handled at an early age, especially while he is eating, chewing on a bone, or playing with a toy.
Teach him boundaries when it comes to comfy spots around the home, and avoid allowing him to become too possessive over an owner, a toy, or his food.
Because Persa Canario dogs are so intelligent and loyal, they should be easy to train and work with so long as these rules and boundaries are set up early on.
As such, they can make good dogs for families with children as they are known to be gentle, attentive, and mild-mannered in the house.
Still, it’s imperative to monitor young children around your Persa Canario and teach older children how to behave around the family dog. Teach children warning signals in your Persa Canario and refrain from punishing a growl.
Growling is your dog’s way of telling you he is uncomfortable with something and respecting that growl is the best way to avoid a bite.
If you are concerned about behaviors in your Persa Canario, it’s a great idea to contact a professional behaviorist with a background in Persa Canario breeds who understand the importance of socialization and training.
Persa Canario Exercise Requirements
Like all dogs, Persa Canario dogs require routine exercise.
Though the Persa Canario is a large working breed, his exercise requirements are surprisingly easy to maintain. In fact, when his exercise needs are routinely met, he makes for an easy-going and adaptable apartment companion.
That said, exercise should be taken seriously and never neglected. The Persa Canario should have several walks a day or routine backyard playtime in a securely fenced backyard. He will also enjoy jogging, swimming, hiking, and games of frisbee from time to time.
However, Persa Canario dogs can be prone to dog-on-dog aggression, especially if they are not properly trained and socialized. Even then, however, it’s best to keep these dogs on leashes when out and about.
When walking your Persa Canario, be sure to invest in quality dog walking equipment designed to reduce pulling.
The Easy Walk Front Clip Harness
The Easy Walk Front Clip Harness listed above is one of our favorite dog walking harnesses for large breed dogs like the Persa Canario. It fits snugly and has a front clip to reduce and redirect pulling dogs.
This makes handling your Persa Canario much easier, as it redirects your dog back to you if he pulls ahead during outings. The harness also comes in several colors and sizes, and it does not put dangerous pressure on your dog’s sensitive throat and trachea.
The Halti Head Collar
For very heavy pullers, you might consider using the Halti Harness. This harness is a great alternative to prong collars and choke chains, as it reduces pulling without the use of pain or unpleasant pressure.
Instead, it attaches to your dog’s muzzle and head and redirects them firmly back to your side. This is an ideal harness for large breed dogs who get ahead of themselves during walks and, when used along with treats and praise, can aid in training without the use of punishments or pain.
The Persa Canario Grooming Needs
The Persa Canario is a double-coated dog breed who requires routine grooming. (https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-dog-shampoo-dog-wash-5175532/)
Persa Canario dogs are shedding dogs who shed moderately year round and more heavily twice a year during the shedding season. Still, their grooming needs are rather low maintenance and they require only minimal brushing a few times a week with a deshedding comb.
Pet Neat Grooming Brush
The Pet Neat Grooming Brush listed above is the ideal grooming brush for a Persa Canario because it works to remove any loose hair and debris by up to 95%. It can be used daily or as often as needed, and will keep your Persa Canario dog’s coat looking and feeling its best.
Your Persa Canario will also enjoy being brushed by this comb, and doing so often can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your dog if you keep up with it weekly.
During shedding season, you may brush your Persa Canario over more often to help reduce loose hair and potential doggy odor.
Otherwise, their coats are short and dirt-resistant, which means a simple shake is all they need to dispel dust and debris after playing outdoors.
Persa Canarios only need to be bathed once every few months. Refrain from overbathing your dog as this could disrupt his PH balance and lead to skin and coat issues down the road.
Along with occasional bathing, your Persa Canario should also have his ears checked and cleaned regularly. His teeth should be brushed once a day with a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste and his nails should be trimmed often to keep them from cracking or splitting during play or exercise.
Socializing and Training a Persa Canario
It is important to socialize all dogs, but especially large guarding dogs like Persa Canarios.
All dogs should undergo routine and proper socialization and training at an early age, and this is especially true for dogs with guarding histories like the Persa Canerio. These breeds need extra help learning how to trust and will follow your cues when it comes to how to behave.
Training A Persa Canario
Training should begin as early as possible and continue throughout your Persa Canario’s life. Because these dogs are highly intelligent, it’s also a good idea to implement mental stimulation into your dog’s training sessions.
Early on, begin by teaching your Persa Canario solid cues like a good recall and the other basics. This can include sit, stay, and lie down. You may then move on to more extensive training with your Persa Canaio to help enrich his active mind.
Ensuring your Persa Canario is properly trained at an early age will help reduce problematic behaviors and build trust between you and your dog. It’s also important to use positive reinforcement techniques when training like treats and praise.
Remember, the Persa Canrio is highly loyal and will be eager to please you. While he responds very well to praise, he will also respond well to high-value treats like those listed below.
Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats
A good example of high-quality and high-value training treats are the above treats by Pupford. These freeze-dried treats are rich in flavor and very smelly, and they’re exactly the kind of treats a stubborn or strong-willed dog like the Persa Canario will respond to.
However, because these treats are so rich, it’s important to only give them in moderation. You can help increase the value of these treats by only using them during training sessions or during leash training periods when you’re trying to help your Persa Canario focus on you.
The treats come in several flavors including chicken, rabbit, liver, salmon and sweet potato. They are suitable for dogs of all ages and life stages and are made from healthy, quality ingredients.
Training and socialization go hand-in-hand, especially when it comes to large breed dogs with guarding backgrounds. The Persa Canario should be properly socialized at an early age and should be introduced to as many new people, places, experiences, sights, sounds and other animals as early and as often possible.
Properly socializing your Persa Canario can help reduce potentially negative behaviors and fear-based aggression and can help ensure your Persa Canario grows up happy and well-rounded.
Your Persa Canario will likely get along better with children, pets and strangers when they are raised around them often and when their experiences with these people and animals are positive and rewarding.
Never force your Persa Canario into a situation that is clearly frightening for him, as this could lead to more exasperated behavioral issues down the road.
Instead, let your Persa Canario explore the world at his own pace and gently encourage him using treats, praise and patience.
Persa Canario Lifespan and Health Issues
The Persa Canario is a relatively healthy dog when obtained from a reputable source.
For the most part, the Persa Canario is a long-lived dog with little health issues. He has a lifespan of 9 – 11 years, but can live longer under the right circumstances.
However, he is a large breed who can be prone to the same health problems as other larger dogs, and it’s important that a potential owner is aware of these issues early on.
The Most Common Health Issues For A The Persa Canario Include:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Osteochondritis Dissecans
- Demodectic Mange
- Dental Disease
- Bacterial and Viral Infections
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy
- And Bloat
All of the above health issues can be problematic and potentially devastating for any dog and dog owner, so it’s important to take steps early on to protect your dog from suffering.
Before You Get Your Persa Canario
You can help reduce the chances of your Persa Canario from suffering the above health issues by ensuring you get your dog from a reputable source. Going through a breeder or shelter who understands the importance of early health screening and responsible breeding practices can help significantly lower your chances of dealing with a sick dog down the road.
How Diet Impacts The Health Of A The Persa Canario
It’s also important to ensure your Persa Canario maintains a healthy diet. These large dogs are prone to obesity, joint issues, and even Bloat, all of which can have a devastating effect on your dog’s quality of life and can even lead to premature death.
Another problematic issue you should be aware of is Bloat. Also known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or GDV, Bloat is a common and sometimes deadly occurrence and is more common in large, deep chested dogs like the Persa Canario.
Bloat is caused when air fills the intestines, causing the stomach and other organs to flip. Symptoms of Bloat include panting, excessive drooling, lethargy, obvious pain, unproductive vomiting, extended or hard abodom, and collapse.
Bloat can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, Bloat can come on suddenly. However, it can also be caused when your dog eats too quickly, eats too much, eats something he shouldn’t eat, or eats immediately after exercise or play.
You can help combat Bloat, obesity, and other issues in your Persa Canario by ensuring he eats a quality dog food specified for his age, weight and activity level.
Persa Canarios should eat a diet that consists of real animal protein, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and water.
You might also consider investing in a slow feeder or puzzle feeder, like the one listed below.
Outward Hound Puzzle Feeder
Slow Feeders like the Outward Hound Puzzle Feeder may not only help reduce the chances of your Persa Canario suffering from Bloat, but they can also help create healthy eating habits, reduce obesity, and contribute to mental stimulation.
Puzzle Feeders encourage your Persa Canario to slow down while he eats and challenges him to find and eat every kibble in the maze-like bowl. As such, it reduces the amount of air being swallowed and lowers the risk of Bloat.
How To Find The Right Persa Canario Puppy or Rescue For You
Make sure to go through reputable sources who understand the importance of responsible breeding practices when looking for a Persa Canario puppy or rescue.
The Persa Canario certainly comes with its fair share of pros and cons, but when raised right and under the watchful eye of the right owner, this is a breed who has the potential to make an amazing companion.
You have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to getting your Persa Canario, including going through a breeder or a rescue.
When going through a breeder, the average Persa Canario puppy can cost anywhere from $1,300 and $7,500. This price can vary depending on the quality of the Persa Canario puppy’s parent breeds and the breeder you go through.
Persa Canario puppies are some of the more expensive purebred dogs in the canine kingdom, but it’s super important not to cut corners in search of a cheaper pup. Avoid going through backyard breeders or unqualified online sellers offering a puppy for a bargain price, as this could land you in hot water down the road.
If you get your Persa Canario from an irresponsible source, you are much more likely to wind up with a dog who has potential health and behavioral issues. This could not only cost you more money in the long run, but it could also cost you emotionally and even be dangerous.
Instead, stick with a breeder who can provide you with certificates of health proving their puppies have been health screened. Another benefit of going through a reputable breeder is that you have the option of asking about any temperamental issues with the parent breeds.
You may even be able to meet your Persa Canario’s parent dogs to get a better idea of what your puppy will grow up to look and behave like.
If you’re wary of going through a breeder and spending so much money, you might consider going through a rescue. Persa Canario dogs are best suited for experienced dog owners and many well-meaning but inexperienced owners find these dogs to be overwhelming, which leads to their dogs being surrendered to shelters.
There are a number of Persa Canario shelters and rescues that are devoted to this particular breed. Many have their dogs undergo behavioral testing before placing them for adoption, and they may even offer free initial vet exams.
Whichever route you choose to take when getting your Persa Canario, remember that this is a breed who requires plenty of commitment, time, training and love, so make sure you’re up for the challenge.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the Persa Canario breed. Now we would love to hear from you.
What do you think about this dynamic dog? Leave us your opinion about the persa Canario in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.