It is a breed with origins in the Canary Islands, which include the Tenerife and Grand Canaria Islands. It is the result of the crossbreeding between the Mastiff and the cattle dogs from the Canary Islands (brought by the Spanish colonists and which are now extinct). In the 16th and 17th centuries it was used for guarding and herding cattle and later was used in dog fights until 1940-1960 when they were banned.
It is a large-sized, strong, robust, sturdy and imposing dog. It has a massive body, compact, long rather than tall. The head is strong, massive and square-shaped, covered by loose skin, which gives it a wrinkled look. The muzzle is short, strong and wide with a black nose. The eyes are medium-sized, oval and dark brown. The ears are medium-sized, erect in the shape of a rose petal or they can slightly drooping (can be cropped). The bone structure is strong, as well as the muscles and the skin is thick and loose (especially on head). The chest is wide and the tail is medium-sized, with a pointed tip (swordlike). The paws are round (similar to a cat's). The coat is short, straight and rough. The fur can be brown, gray and striped. May have white spots on the neck and chest and it usually has a black mask.
This dog has a strong and aggressive character; is very confident, calm, careful and well-balanced. It is loving and gentle with its master and his family but cautious with and suspicious of strangers. It is a dog with a dominant behaviour towards other dogs and generally gets along better with dogs from the opposite gender with a weaker character.
The coat is easy to groom and a casual brushing with a rubber glove is enough.
It is a dog with a medium level of activity and is resistant to weather changes. It will feel good in an enclosed yard, but also in a flat if it gets its daily exercise. It needs a leash, firm training and a lot of socialization with people and with other household animals.
It is a difficult dog to train. It has a very dominant character and it needs socializing from an early age and the training must be based on obedience and submission.
It is used as a watch dog and for herding cattle.