Breed Standard

FCI Standard 346 Dogo Canario


UTILIZATION: Guardian and cattle dog.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 2 Section 2:1 Molosser – Type: Dogo

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: Molosser dog native of the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria,
in the Canary Archipelago. Emerging as a result of crosses between the “majorero”, a pre-Hispanic
cattle dog originating from the islands, and molosser dogs brought to the archipelago.

These crosses originated an ethnic grouping of dogs of “dogo” type, of medium size, of brindle or fawn
color, marked with white, of robust morphology, characteristic of a molosser, but with agility and drive.
Of tremendous temperament, rustic and of an active and loyal character.

During the XVI and XVII centuries their population increased considerably. Numerous mentions of them
exist in the historical texts prior to the conquest, mainly in the “Documents of the Town Council” which
explained the functions that they fulfilled. Essentially they functioned as a guardian and cattle dog, as well
subdued the cattle for the butchers.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Molosser dog of medium size, well balanced, of straight profile, with a black
mask. Rustic and well proportioned. It is mesomorphic; the body is longer than the height to the withers.
Females accentuate this characteristic being slightly longer.

TEMPERAMENT / BEHAVIOR: Their appearance is calm. Attentive gaze. Especially equipped for the
function of guarding and traditionally used for the handling and driving, of cattle. Their temperament is
balanced and of great self-security. Serious and profound bark. He is gentle and noble with his family,
with great affection to his owner, and suspicious with strangers.

Expression is confident, noble and a little distant. When alert his attitude is very firm and the gaze watchful.

HEAD: Is massive, brachycephalic, of solid appearance, and covered with loose hanging skin. Its shape is
a somewhat lengthened cube.

The proportions of cranium – muzzle are 60% – 40%. The width of the cranium is 3/5 of the total longitude of
the head.


– CRANIUM: Lightly convex in anteropusterior and transversal directions, although the frontal bone is flatten
to the plane. Zygomatic arch very pronounced, with well developed temporal and mastoid muscles, but without
being pronounced. The occipital crest is unappreciable.

– NASOFRONTAL DEPRESSION (STOP): Defined, but not abrupt. The middle furrow between the frontal
sinuses is marked and occupies approximately two thirds of the cranium. The craniofacial lines are parallel
or lightly convergent.


– MUZZLE: Shorter than the cranium. Normally 40% of the total head. The width is 2/3 of the cranium. It is of
very wide base and diminishes slightly toward the nose. The nasal line is flat, of straight profile and without ridges.

– NOSE: Wide, strongly pigmented in black. It is inserted on the same line as the nasal cana. The front is set
slightly behind the front of the lips. The nostrils are large, appropriate for easy breathing.

– LIPS: The upper lips hang, but without excess and when viewed from the front form an inverted “V” where they
join. The interior lips are dark.

– MANDIBLE / TEETH: Scissor bite. Level bite is accepted although not desirable due to the tooth ware that it
causes. Slight prognathism permitted. The canines show wide transverse distance. The teeth are wide, with a
strong base of implantation, with large molars, small incisors and well-developed and correct fitting canines.

– EYES: Slightly oval, medium to large size well separated, brevilineal, neither sunken nor bulging. They are well
pigmented in black and tight, never drooping. The color fluctuates between medium to dark chestnut, in
accordance with the color of the coat. Never light.

– EARS: Of medium size, well separated, with short and fine hair, they drop effortlessly to both sides of the head.
If they are folded, they are rose shaped, close fitting to the head. The base is at a point slighter higher than the
eye line. Ears are set very high and joined are atypical and excessively crowd the top of the cranium. If cropped
they are erect.

– NECK: Somewhat shorter than the total length of the head. The lower portion presents loose skin that contributes
to the formation of a slight dewlap. It is solid, straight, cylindrical and very muscular.

– BODY: Straight lined, wide, deep, the length is 18-20% longer than the height at the withers, this being more
accentuated in females. The flanks are not very marked.

– TOP LINE: Straight, without deformities, supported by well developed, but not very visible musculature. It ascends
slightly from the withers to the croup. Never saddled nor roached.

– CROUP: Medium, wide and rounded. It should not be long, because it would limit movement. Females normally

– CHEST: With great width, pectoral muscles very marked. The depth should arrive to a minimum at the elbow,
from the the profile and from the front. The thoracic perimeter will be normally equal to the height at the withers
plus 45%. Ribs very arched.

– LOWER LINE: Lightly tucked, never descending.

– TAIL: Thick base, narrowing until the tip and not surpassing the hock. Insertion medium. In action it rises in shape
of a saber, without coiling or pointing toward the back. It in rest hangs straight with a slight curve at the tip.



– Shoulders: With good inclination
– Forelimbs: Well angulated, oblique and perfectly composed, straight, of wide bones and with good musculature.
– Elbows: They should not be affixed to the chest or pointing outward. The distance of the elbow to the ground normally represents 50% of the total height in the males and somewhat less in the females.
– Metacarpals: Very solid and slightly inclined
– Front Feet: Cat foot with rounded toes, not very close together. The pads are well developed and black. The nails
are dark, white is undesirable, although they can appear according to the coat.

HIND LIMBS: Strong and parallel, without deviations.

– Thigh: Long and very muscular. The angulation is not pronounced, but without being scarce.
– Hocks: Always low.
– Rear Feet: Slightly longer than the front and of the same characteristics.

MOVEMENT: The movement should be agile, elastic and cover a lot of ground. Long steps. The carriage of the tail is
low and barely rises above the dorsal line. At attention, the position of the head and the tail is raised.

SKIN: Thick and elastic. Loose in and around the neck. When alert it forms several symmetrical wrinkles in the middle
furrow between the front sinuses like axis in the head.


– HAIR: Short, rustic, very flat without undercoat (at times might be found, in neck and buttocks) and with a certain
harshness to the touch. Is very short and fine in the ears, slightly longer in the withers and crest of the buttocks.

– COLOR: Brindle all ranges, from dark very warm tones to the very light gray or blonde. Fawn to sandy in all ranges.
Markings can appear on the chest, at the base of the neck or throat, on front and rear toes, it is desirable that it is
reduced as much as possible.

Mask always black and should not surpass the height of the eyes.


– Height to the Withers:

Males:  60 – 65 cm. (23.5 – 25.5 in.)
Females:  56 – 61 cm. (22 – 24 in.)

In the case of very typical specimens, a 1 cm. deviation from the set maximum and minimum will be allowed.

– Minimum Weights:

Males:  50 kg. (110 lbs.)
Females:  40 kg. (88 lbs.)

FAULTS: Any deviation of the afore mentioned is considered a fault and the seriousness of it is considered to the
degree of the deviation from the standard.


– Excessive wrinkles in the craniofacial region, which does not spoil the expression.
– Pincer bite.


– Head that doesn’t complete the established proportion.
– Craniofacial lines are very convergent (excessive stop, very marked).
– Mask that surpasses the eyes.
– Front and rear feet turned inward or outward.
– Lips excessively hanging, limited or forward.
– Equal height croup – withers.
– Excessive dewlap.
– Drooping lids.
– Dorsal roach.
– Very scarce or excessive angulations.
– Descending lower line.
– Chest not very deep.
– Splayed feet.
– High tail insertion.
– Fine tail.
– Slender bones.


– Square profile.
– Head triangular, narrow, not cubed.
– Slight appearance.
– Tail coiled, very fine, of the same thickness the entire length or deformed.
– Very short or excessive size.
– Saddled or roached top line.
– Scarce posterior chest. Weak front. Ribs not well arched.
– Absence of wrinkles in the facial cranium region (tight without elasticity).
– Eyes light (yellow). Eyes very close together or oblique. Protruding or sunken.
– Excessive prognathism.
– Absence of any tooth (except the P.1)
– Ears set very high.
– Cranium round or arched.
– Craniofacial lines divergent.
– Hair satiny and fine.
– Poor mask.
– Neck long, not massive.


– Character unbalanced and any indication of aggressiveness.
– Total depigmentation of the nose or inside of the lips.
– Total absence of mask.
– Undesirable white markings.
– Overbite.
– Croup lower than the withers, descending dorsal line.
– Blue eyes or with different colors.
– Amputated tail.
– Monorchids or cryptochids.
– Under developed chest (cathedral chest).

NOTE: The male should have two testicles of normal appearance and completely descended in the scrotum.

Accepted FCI June 3, 2001


Phenotype Guide

These pages are  designed to be a guide in the understanding of correct and incorrect phenotype in the Dogo Canario though the use of illustrations and photographs where applicable.  We hope that you will develop both an understanding of typical breed features as well as serious faults of the breed, including how to identify a dog of impure breeding.

 Normal Morphology

  1. cranium

  2. face

  3. stop

  4. nose

  5. lips

  6. corner of lips

  7. profile of the face

  8. eyes

  9. lids

  10. ear

  11. occipital crest

  12. mastoid

  13. frontal sinus

  14. neck

  15. upper border of the neck

  16. jowl

  17. withers

  18. dorsum

  19. loin

  20. croup

  21. angle of the rump

  22. shoulder

  1. distal shoulder

  2. tip of sternum

  3. arm

  4. elbow

  5. forearm

  6. carpal

  7. metacarpal

  8. toes

  9. chest

  10. ribs

  11. flank

  12. abdomen

  13. groin

  14. thigh

  15. peak of the buttocks

  16. knee

  17. leg

  18. hock

  19. metatarsal

  20. dorsolumbar line

  21. tail

Measuring Proportions

  1. Continuation of the facial line
  2. Continuation of the cranial line
  3. Cranial facial angle
  4. Cylindrical neck
  5. The perimeter of the thorax is equal to the height of the withers plus 45%
  6. Withers
  1. Height to the bottom of the chest is 50% of the height to the withers
  2. Length of the shoulders
  3. The length of the body is equal to the height at the withers plus 18 or 20%
  4. Height of the croup
  5. The dorsolumbar line is straight, ascending lightly toward the croup
  6. Height to the hock.  the hocks are low