One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A breed of large, powerful dog related to the mastiff, developed in the Canary Islands and used as a guard dog or (formerly) fighting dog; a dog of this breed.
1980s; earliest use found in Dog World. Apparently from Spanish presa canario, short for perro de presa canario, lit. ‘Canary prey dog’ (both 1982 or earlier) from perro de presa hunting dog (1526; from perro dog + de of + presa prey, booty) + canario (adjective) of, originating from, or relating to the Canary Islands, use as adjective of Canaria.
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