The origin of the Dogo Canario dog breed is, as its name suggests, in the Canary Islands, specifically in the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, especially in the latter where it has become a symbol. It is a relatively young breed, in fact it dates back to around 1800 when the English Mastiff, which arrived in the archipelago at the beginning of the century, and the Bardino Majorero, which is now almost extinct, were crossed. The aim of the selection was to create a fighting dog, a sport which was very fashionable at that time. With the prohibition of dog fighting, this breed experienced a halt to its spread and almost risked extinction, but for some decades now it has been flourishing again, although there are not very many examples.
Its origins, or rather the origin of the majoreros, which is the direct ancestor of the dogo, dates back to the 1300s, in pre-Hispanic times, where these dogs were used as shepherd dogs. Only later was it thought to crossbreed them with molossoid dogs such as the Mastiffs and Bulldogs and Bull Terriers.
In the last century it was used extensively for guarding flocks of sheep and cattle, accompanying and protecting the herds. This breed used to be on the list of dangerous dog breeds, and was removed from the list in 2009, although it is still illegal in some countries to keep this breed of dog.
It is also a valuable watchdog and defence dog.
Character of the Dogo Canario dog breed
The Dogo Canario, despite its reputation as a dog-fighting dog, is not an aggressive or vicious dog. Instead, it is a well-balanced dog that knows how to handle itself and is also an excellent companion for the whole family. Obviously, it is a dog that, given its size, needs to be raised responsibly and by an owner with a firm hand. It is therefore not suitable for first-time dog owners. Early socialisation will get it used to having a good character, both with other animals and with people.
However, it is very wary of strangers and does not always get on well with other dogs. It can be said that he has his own preferences, so initially he tends to keep to himself, but once the ice is broken, he is quite sociable.
It has a very close relationship with its owner, it becomes very attached and tends to follow him everywhere, however it also becomes attached to the other members of the family and especially with children has a strong instinct of protection. It likes to play, but even more so it tends to protect them from a distance as it does not like confusion.
It does not adapt very well to living in a flat, as it loves being outdoors, the ideal for the dogo canario is a house with a large garden and it needs to take long walks and be active. As already mentioned, it is an excellent guard dog, it rarely barks, but when it does it is for a good reason, so it is a good alarm for the house.
It is a sometimes lively dog, but never too exuberant, it is very proud and self-confident, it shows its moods and intentions clearly, and any duplicity is alien to it.
Unfortunately, this breed has few specimens, but thanks to the ENCI, which has entrusted the Italian Molossian Club with the protection of the breed, it is growing rapidly. In Italy, on the Gargano, following the return of the wolf, it has been used successfully for a few years to defend the flocks. Its attachment to flocks and newborns is incredible and it is just as resolute in its attack on predators that enter the property.
It is also a dog that knows how to be alone and look after itself, often demonstrating its desire for independence, occasionally seeking solitude itself, but the strong bond it establishes with its family makes it feel like a member of the same.
Appearance of the dogo canario dog breed
The dogo canario, also known as the canary catcher dog, and still referred to in the original language as the perro de presa canario, is a large dog. It is a strong dog of the molossoid type; the back is powerful, the chest is very broad and with a large musculature. The limbs are strong and of excellent bone structure. The tail starts thick and narrows at the tip and is not very long. It is however agile and slender, with an elastic gait and a long build, especially in the females. The male measures 60 to 65 centimetres at the withers and can weigh up to 65 kilograms, although its average weight is around 50-55 kilograms. The female usually weighs a little less. Its well-proportioned build demonstrates its extraordinary strength and mobility.
The head of the Canary Dogo is large and heavy, the muzzle is square and wide. The rather large truffle can be black or pigmented, but almost black. The eyes are also usually dark, slightly oval, rather large and aligned, they have a serene appearance and an attentive look. The ears, of medium size, are drooping at the sides of the muzzle; on the ears the hair is very short and fine. In the past, the ears of the Canary Dogo were cropped, but now, fortunately, this barbaric practice is banned in many countries around the world.
The coat is short and hard, rustic and rough to the touch, with the exception of the ears. It has no undercoat, and the length is not uniform, in fact it is slightly longer at the withers and on the buttocks. As for the colours, the most common is the fawn, in all its range up to sand, and the brindled which can be from very warm dark to very light grey and even blond.
Care and health of the Dogo Canario dog breed
The Dogo Canario is a strong and healthy dog, it can however suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. Its life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years.
It is very important to take the dog out for long walks at least twice a day, in order to keep it fit and to let it let off steam, especially if it does not have much space at its disposal.
As far as the care of the coat is concerned, as it is a rather short coat it does not need much maintenance, it will be enough to brush it once a week and a normal wash every two or three months.
As far as feeding is concerned, a controlled and balanced diet is needed as the Canary Dogo tends to eat more than is necessary and therefore tends to gain weight, especially if it does not do much exercise.