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Canaan Dog

A sturdy dog of medium-size built along the lines of a racing hunter rather than a heavy plodder, the Canaan Dog is the only breed originating in Israel and is a member of the Herding Group. Squarely proportioned without extremes, the Canaan moves with athletic agility and an efficient ground-covering trot vital for survival in the wild. The head is wedge-shaped with prick ears, the nose is dark and slightly slanted, and almond-shaped eyes are dark brown and have an alert expression. The front legs are straight with round hard padded cat-like feet. The bushy tail curls over the back when the dog is excited or alert. The medium length double coat is harsh, straight, and lies flat. Canaan Dogs range in color from red to sand or may be black or white. They are often solid colored but may have white trim on the chest, feet, and tail tip; conversely, they may have a patched pattern of white with black or brown. In all color patterns there may be some ticking. The majority of US dogs are white and black, probably because the first four imports were white with black masks and patches.


Fast Facts

12 - 13 years
45 - 55 lb
35 - 45 lb
20 - 24"
19 - 23"
Canan Dog, Kanaan Dog, or Canen Dog
Kalef K'naani, Kelev Cana'ani

Canaan Dog Temperament

While reserved and aloof with strangers, the Canaan Dog is inquisitive, loyal, and loving with his family....

The dog gets along well with pets and other dogs. This is a highly territorial guard dog as well as a vocal watchdog. The Canaan Dog tends to be a one-person dog or one-family dog. Highly intelligent, the Canaan Dog is easily trained and excels in obedience, agility, tracking, and sentry work. They may also demonstrate the herding instinct. Somewhat independent, they require an owner who is firmly in charge.

Caring For a Canaan Dog

The Canaan Dog is a worker by nature, and needs plenty of physical and mental exercise everyday....

Herding exercises, games, or vigorous training will help to satisfy these needs. Because Canaans are very defensive of their territory, they need socialization when young. If introduced as a puppy to people (especially children) and other dogs, their tendencies toward aloofness and dog aggression will be diminished. Canaans are moderately active indoors and can reside in an apartment if they get enough exercise. However, a sizeable yard would be preferable. Their dense undercoat protects the dog from extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold — so they can live outdoors, but they also make wonderful housedogs. Grooming requires little more than a weekly brushing. An extremely healthy breed, the Canaan rarely needs to see the vet and has no documented hereditary illnesses or conditions.

Canaan Dog History

A Brief History of the Canaan Dog

The Canaan Dog is known as the natural breed of Israel and is sometimes called the Israel Canaan Dog....

This herding dog was originally bred in the 1930s from Israel's feral dogs by Dr. Rudolphina Menzel, though the Canaan dates to pre-biblical times. Their lineage is documented in the tombs at Beni-Hassan in Egypt dating from 2200 to 2000 BC where drawings depict dogs that look very similar to the Canaan Dog. Through the centuries, the Bedouins used the Canaan Dog to herd and hunt (and they still do today), and it is because of this that the breed managed to survive until the 1930s, when Haganah, an Israeli paramilitary organization, asked Dr. Menzel to develop a dog that could guard remote Hebrew settlements. Finding that traditional war breeds did not do well in Israel's arid climate, Dr. Menzel began concentrating her efforts on the local feral dogs, called "pariah dogs." Menzel domesticated and bred these dogs, and gave them the name "Canaan Dog" in honor of their homeland. Canaan Dogss have proved highly intelligent and easily trainable. They have served as sentry dogs, messengers, Red Cross helpers, and were among the first dogs trained as land mine detectors. In 1965, four Canaan Dogs were imported to Oxnard, California. The Canaan Dog entered the American Kennel Club Miscellaneous Class in 1989 and was admitted to the Herding Group in 1997. Today, Canaan Dogs serve as seeing-eye and therapy dogs.