WEIGHT: 84-110 pounds maximum
HEIGHT: 211/2-251/2 inches
COAT: Short, smooth, but coarse
COLOR: Brindles, fawn; some white permissible
OTHER NAMES: Canary Dog
The Canario has recently been reborn, although once near extinction. The Canary Islands belonging to Spain were actually named for the fierce dogs found there, not for its little yellow singing birds. From the Latin cane came the “Island of the Dogs.” These tough, smooth-coated, livestock and farm dogs, called Bardino Majero, were probably similar to the Perro de Pastor Mallorquin and the Cao de Castro Labor-eiro and were present before Hispanic times.When English settlers came to the archipelago in the 19th century, they brought mastiffs and old-style bulldogs which were crossed with these native dogs. The result was the Canary Dog.
This breed was selected and bred specifically for organized fights and became an extremely game, powerful and able fighting machine. Outlawed in 1940, dog-fighting continued as a clan-destine activity, with the quality and purity of the breeding stock deteriorating.
By the 1960s, when the Canary Dog was at an all-time low, the German Shepherd Dog was introduced to the islands. The Shepherd became the breed in vogue, almost causing the demise of the native canine. In the early 1970s, however, interest was renewed in the native breeds, and Spaniards began to search for examples of the Canary Dog. Fortunately, pure specimens had been retained by farmers in rural and isolated areas where the Canario was found to be a good farm hand. Ten years later, breeders produced good examples of the breed, which can be seen today at dog shows. An active breed club is promoting him at home and elsewhere in Europe. Dr. Carl Semencic conducted research and introduced the breed to North America in recent years. Fanciers feel confident the breed is close to FCI recognition.
These dogs have a wide, solid head, often with an undershot jaw. A bit of loose, hanging skin appears on the chin and throat, and the ears are cropped to a point. The Canary Dog, despite his size, is quiet and subdued in the home. Devoted to his family, he makes an excellent home guardian.