Do Presa Canarios Make Good Family Pets?

My sister is a vet and she suggest I contact you with this question. My husband and I have a close friend who bred his Presa and had puppies. He was unable to get rid of all the puppies and is left with 2. A male and female. He is stuck with the reality that he now has to get rid of one. And wants us to take one. They are 2 years old but seem very friendly. Would this be a smart move? We have a 14 year old daughter. She has met both dogs and they seem very friendly but just unsure bc of their age. Can you give me your advice?

Thank you the Robinson’s

Hi “The Robinson’s”

The average Presa is a lot of a very serious breed dog. Typically more of a hobby than a pet. Females of the Molosser breeds (Presa Canario’s are from this family of dogs) are typically more malleable and less problematic than the males.

Presa’s are protection dogs, typically bond with their families quite well, very strongly even, which on the surface may seem great but a bonded to the family Presa and a bonded to the family Golden Retriever are typically going to react very differently when a socially active 14 year old girl has visitors from her peer group over. Particularly when their friends behave in a rambunctious manner which is of course to be expected.

I would have a lot of questions about any dog someone is finding a home for when they’ve kept them as long as this person has. For starters, if he has kept them for 2 years, what has changed that requires him finding them new homes? Where’s the training at? Is it real obedience or just the trick version of obedience? How do they react and respond to direction around things like small children, the elderly, thunderstorms, things they see walking by when looking out windows, how much time have they spent alone in yards every day, are they crate trained, have they ever been separated and left alone and much much more.

Another set of questions would be, do I have time to train – really train this dog? Most people don’t have the time to train, really train a Golden Retriever and with Presa Canario’s it’s really not an option as “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you” intervention may be required from time to time. I have no doubt you can do it, the problem is usually how much is there left over of the Robinson’s at the end of every day to get the training done and maintain it day to day. If you’re unsure as to what is involved download my ebook The Beautiful Balance – Dog Training with Nature’s Template as it will give you an excellent idea of what real training is and isn’t and what your overall commitment would be to do the job correctly.

Overall I can say that a Presa Canario is a great dogs in the right hands and all too often a gun with a brain in the wrong hands. I would take having a Presa in my home as seriously as having a fire arm. I have no objection to either but my own sons would be drilled to my satisfaction into understanding that a gun is not a toy and a Presa is not just a pet. Practically speaking, in my experience this is far easier to convey and more importantly to maintain over the long term, with a firearm, than a cuddly Presa Canario.

Please don’t get the impression I’m trying to talk you out of getting a Presa Canario. Might be a great dog for you. I just don’t want you to underestimate what you would be committing to.


John Wade

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2 thoughts on “Do Presa Canarios Make Good Family Pets?”

  1. We purchased a presa approx 16 years ago from a breeder just outside of london. I was always fascinated by the breed and loved the look and stance. A week after we brought the 18 week old female home, my mom insisted we have you come to the house and meet Lucy and view her interaction with my new born son and 8 year old mastiff. Your advice on the constant training and using common sense ie no baby in dog crate, no baby around dogs during feeding ect were obeyed and we had an incredible loyal best freind to our son as he grew up and an amazing partner for our other dog. I have to think the Hollywood sensationalized storied you hear about presa’s are a result of idiots training the dog to be aggressive and overly protective and antisocial. Thanks again John for your words of wisdom with Lucy.

    1. Hi Mitch,

      You’re very welcome and thanks for your input. I occasionally get some criticism from people that read some of my writings accusing me of being “against” breeds like the Presa Canario or Cane Corso (here is one of those misdirected accusations) but if what I write is read more carefully it’s obvious the truth is quite the opposite. It’s not enough to like the Presa Canario or the Cane Corso, you have to also respect the breed. One way to respect the breed is to take them seriously and take into account that owning one is not the same as owning a Golden Retriever. I’m delighted that your time with Lucy, your own Presa Canario was a positive experience and that I played a role in making it so.



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