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Canary Dog Temperament, Behaviors and More

The Canary Dog temperament isn’t a good fit for a majority of dog owners. As you will see he has numerous traits that won’t mesh well with a variety of homes. Also, his massive size could cause issues for a household with smaller children.

Photo of Canary Dog Playing With Yellow Ball In Park Min
Canary Dog or Perro De Presa Canario

But certain Canary Dog traits are appealing. His watchdog capabilities are second to none, and he has a sweet, affectionate side he shows with loved ones.

The Canary Dog Temperament & Personality

Coaxing the behaviors out of your Canary Dog requires a lot of time and patience.

It’ll take a complete understanding of all his qualities to honestly know whether or not you’re up for the challenge. So, let's dig deeper and figure this out together.


A rather appealing trait within the Canary Dog temperament is his protective instincts. This behavior provides him with well-developed watchdog ability. In fact, he’s one of the best watchdog dog breeds in existence.

It’s an ability that comes from the intense bond he forms with his family. There isn’t a dog on this earth that’ll love his family as this one does. And he’ll do anything to protect his loved ones from harm no matter the situation.

But this protective nature does have its downsides though as he acts reserved around strangers. This issue can become problematic when you take him out into public given his imposing size.

He also tends to get territorial with things and areas he deems his own. The good news is both these downsides are easily correctable with proper training.  


The Canary Dog’s strong-willed personality can cause issues for the wrong type of owner. You see he tends to think his way of thinking is always right. And allowing him to feel this way could make him destructive inside your home.

This trait is why he needs an authoritative, experienced owner to thrive. He could easily overwhelm someone that’s not equipped to take control of his strong personality. There shouldn’t be any point where he finds himself assuming the alpha role inside a household.

He should instead reside at the lowest part of the pecking order. This necessity is vital for households with families as he could overpower small children or teenagers. This trait is why socialization's a must from the earliest age possible.

Aggressive and Highly Active

Aggression is the one trait that continues to haunt the Canary Dog’s temperament. It’s why he’s on banned dogs list within some countries. His aggressiveness is his crutch, and it tends to come out in the worst possible situations.

Photo of Canary Mastiff   Min
Canary Dog at Play

It also why a multiple-dog home isn’t an ideal fit for him. He’ll try to dominate the other dogs and retain a higher spot in the pecking order.  Growing, nipping, and aggressive bullying are some of his most common methods.

But it’s a characteristic, which you can control with the right type of trainer and owner. All you need to do is establish your role as the alpha, and his aggressive should fall in line. Maintaining the Canary Dog exercise needs can also keep it under control.

You see he has a highly active personality and needs multiple long walks a day. If you don’t provide it, his pent energy will funnel into aggression. And it’ll turn into certain behaviors that you won’t find entirely appropriate.

High Prey Drive

Smaller pets and this breed don't mix at all. The Canary Dog temperament features a high prey drive that’ll make him prone to chasing cats or other small pets. You must protect your neighbors' pets from this characteristic as well.

In other words, having a well constructed at least 6 feet high fence is necessary for him. We should mention that an underground electric fence won’t deter him from chasing dogs or cats. He’ll most likely run through it like it's not even there when provoked.

It also not a good idea to leave him outside for hours at a time. His strong-willed personality coupled with his high prey drive will give him a strong determination to escape. And this dog isn’t one you want roaming around your neighbors’ yards for numerous reasons.

Of course, you can curb this Canary Dog behavior, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. After all, you don’t know what might set him off in the future. It’s best to avoid a tragic scenario entirely than tempting fate by not having a solid enough fence.

Gentle and Affectionate

The Canary Dog temperament does have a softer side. Most of the time he’s a gentle, affectionate dog that adores his family. And there aren’t many dogs that enjoy a lazy afternoon more than him.

But it's a trait that needs time to develop. The bond between you and him will require patience to build before he’s cuddling with you. It’s why first time owners might have a difficult time dealing with a Canary Dog.

Once the bond does form though, you’ll have a hard time finding any personal space that isn’t invaded. He’ll even try to be a lapdog, which is problematic given his enormous size will cause some logistic issues.

Appearance: What Does a Canary Dog Look Like?


The Canary Dog size’s on the large side with an intimidating physique:

  • A Canary Dog height is 22 to 24 inches
  • The Canary Dog weight will range from 83 to 110 pounds

His intimidating physique will feature a square-shaped head, which further conveys his imposing presence. This head should be almost as long as it wide. His chest will be broad as will his muzzle.

He’ll have a short, single coat with a rough texture. This short coat will be even shorter on his ears and head. His ears will also be short, cropped and upright.


The Canary Dog colors are either:

  • Fawn
  • Black
  • Brindle
  • Red brindle
  • Silver fawn
  • Red fawn

His face will either feature a dark brown or black mask. This mask can’t go past his eyes according to the breed standard. A white patch or blaze on his head is okay as well.  

There can also be small white markings on his toes, chest, or throat. But these markings can’t cover more than ⅕ of his body.

A Quick Look at the Canary Dog History

The Canary Dog, also known as Dogo Canario and Perro De Presa Canario, history starts with two breeds: the Bardino Majero and English Mastiff. His inception seems to date back into the 15th or 16th century.

The thought is he was brought to the Canary Islands by Spanish conquistadors during this period. His primary purpose was acting as a catch dog. This job consisted of killing predators such as boar or catching rowdy cows.

The Canary Dog temperament was ideally suited for this role and soon became livestock guardians for numerous farmers. He stayed in this role for centuries even up until his first official documentation in the 1800s.

His aggressiveness and impressive body did lend him quite useful in another purpose as well, dogfighting. His popularity in dogfighting circles was evident until it became illegal in the 1940s. This event caused his popularity to decrease significantly.

It wasn’t until the 1970s when his popularity started to uptick when people worked on preserving the breed.  This work led to the first Canary Dog breed club in 1982. And two decades later all the work materialized when the United Kennel Club recognized him in 2003.

Brief Canary Dog Training Guide

Training a Canary Dog can be a massive undertaking thanks to his strong-willed personality. He’ll need an owner who’s capable of providing a firm, consistent hand during training sessions. If you don’t, his independent nature and overwhelming size will cause you all sorts of issues.

The good news is he has a high level of intelligence, which means picking new concepts comes naturally to him. He can learn various commands when approached with the right training methods.

You should use positive reinforcement techniques exclusively as harsh methods might trigger an aggressive reaction. It’s also essential you socialize him as early as possible. This action will keep his protective instincts and aggression in check.

Experts recommend starting socialization no later than 12 weeks. And you should give him obedience refresher courses throughout his life to prevent regression.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Canary Dog Grooming 

This breed is high maintenance thanks to the Canary Dog temperament requiring a lot of energy on an owner’s behalf. But specific grooming issues will need your attention as well. For instance, his coat will shed and need weekly brushing using a bristle brush.

These brushing sessions should end with you spraying him with a finishing spray. You should then wipe him down with a towel, which will cause his coat to shine. His bathing needs are rather low-key as well with only necessary when needed.

Other than these two things, the rest is basic care requirements:

  • Trim his nails monthly
  • Check his ears for build-ups regularly
  • Brush his teeth weekly

Staying Healthy: Canary Dog Health Issues

This breed is little below average health-wise as the Canary Dog lifespan ranges from 9 to 11 years. It shouldn’t be shocking that there are several health conditions any potential owner needs to be aware of:

You can keep most of these conditions in check by staying up-to-date with your regular vet visits.

In an ideal situation, you should be visiting your vet every six months. It’ll keep you informed about the ins and outs of your dog’s health.

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different for your dog. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely dog from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 14 yrs+ without pain and suffering.

If you’re buying a puppy, it’s essential you make sure his parents have their hips checked out. Make sure the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) does this exam. And your breeder must be able to provide you with the results.

Both parents should have an OFA thyroid evaluation, OFA elbow clearances, and eye exams as well. If your breeder can’t provide you with this paperwork, you should look elsewhere for your puppy.

It essential you also understand your Canary Dog needs their meals spread out into multiple servings. If you serve him all his food at once, you heighten the risk of him contracting bloat significantly.

Finding Your Canary Dog

Checkout our Complete Guide to Breeders:

We wrote the definitive guide on finding, selecting, and dealing with dog breeders. This will give you the smarts and confidence to save you money, time and heartache. Read On…

Canary Dog For Sale

The first thing you need to understand is the Canary Dog’s a rare breed within the United States. Finding a reputable breeder with a puppy for sale is tricky. But if you’re determined to get one, you should check out The National Perro de Presa Canario Club.

You see this club is associated with both the United Kennel Club and American Kennel Club. As a result, you can expect the breeders on their site to follow acceptable breeding practices. And the site should contain the contact information of any Canary Dog puppies available.

If they don’t have any litters, you should check out the American Kennel Club database.  It’ll point you towards AKC approved Canary Dog breeders and get you on the right track. Plus, both these organizations have a set of guidelines all the breeders on their sites have to follow.

But it might turn out neither of these organizations have a lead on a Canary Dog litter. In this case, you’ll have to use secondary options like PuppyFinder.com. The only problem is these sites don’t have strict guidelines for the people selling dogs on their websites.

It’s apparent that setting up a meeting with the breeder before purchasing is a wise move. This meeting should take place at the breeding facilities. It’ll give you the opportunity to get a feel of whether or not everything feels right.

And understanding the following bad breeder warning signs will help in this regard:

Bad Breeder Warning Signs

  • Allows you to pay online with a credit card
  • Doesn’t have proper paperwork (OFA certifications)
  • Unsanitary breeding environments
  • Multiple litters available

Any breeder with one or more of these qualities is someone you should run away from fast. It’s highly probable they’re dabbling in some questionable breeding practices. And those methods aren’t something you should encourage.

Estimated Cost of a Canary Dog

If you find a reputable breeder, a Canary Dog price should be around $1,300. It could end up being higher or lower depending on DNA, medical costs, and other factors.

Canary Dog For Adoption

Adopting a Canary Dog won’t be any easier than buying one. It also doesn’t help that there isn’t a specific Canary Dog rescue within the United States; therefore, making this entire process more time-consuming.

You’ll instead have to rely on bigger dog-centric rescues such as Big Dogs Huge Paws. This organization prides itself on finding homeless large breed dogs their forever homes. And given the Canary Dog size, it’s no surprise this club might have some leads.

Another option you should explore is sites like Adoptapet.com. These websites will give you the location of the nearest adoptable Canary Dog. It’ll also give you the contact information of the shelter/rescue holding him.

You could take a little trip down to your local humane society or shelter as well. There’s a high probability these places won’t have an available Canary Dog, but it doesn’t hurt to look. Who knows you might end getting lucky?

Questions to Ask Before Bringing Him Home

When you do find one, it’s massively essential you ask several questions before bringing him. These questions should cover all sorts of topics such as:

  • Temperament Test
  • Energy level
  • Training
  • Previous situation
  • Family history
  • Medical issues

Cover everything you feel needs answering to ensure your home is an ideal fit. If you don’t ask these questions, you could run the risk of bringing him into an unfit situation. It’ll also give you some information on how to make the transition smoother.

Estimated Adoption Fee Cost

Once you’re comfortable with bringing him into your home, the adoption fee should cost you around $300. It could be higher or lower depending on certain factors like shelter/rescue, medical issues, and age.

Conclusion: Is the Canary Dog the Right One For You?

If you want a terrific watchdog that challenges you as a dog owner, the Canary Dog temperament could fit well. His protective instincts will keep you safe at night, and his strong-willed personality will test you during training.

But if this situation doesn’t sound like you, it’s best you look into a different breed. You see this dog represents a significant undertaking and is something only well-experienced dog owners should try.