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Herding breeds: Canaan

Canaan Dog photo     The Israel Canaan Dog is an ancient breed whose origins have been lost in the sands of time. Drawings and carvings dating from pre-Biblical times depict dogs very similar in type to the "modern" Canaan. The breed belongs to one of the oldest families of dogs, the Spitz family, which includes the Basenji, the Australian Dingo, and the Siberian Husky, and whose members exist all over the world. Although dogs of similar type appear throughout the Middle East, the specific type of the Canaan Dog is found primarily in Israel. Basically a wild dog that has evolved through natural selection, only the strongest, most fit and most intelligent specimens survived the demanding conditions of the harsh Israeli environment.

General description

  • Height: 19-24 inches
  • Weight: 40-55 pounds
  • Color: There are two color patterns.
        Pattern 1: Predominantly white with mask and with or without additional patches of color (large body patches are desirable).
        Pattern 2: Solid colored with or without white trim. Color may range from black through all shades of brown -- sandy to red or liver. The trim on a solid-colored dog may include chest, undercarriage, feet, and lower part of leg and tip of tail. In all color patterns, self-ticking may be present.
        Mask: The mask is a desired and distinguishing feature of the predominantly white Canaan Dog. The mask is the same color(s) as the body patches on the dog. The basically symmetrical mask must completely cover the eyes and ears or can completely cover the head as in a hood.

    Grooming requirements
        An extremely clean dog by nature, the Canaan requires minimal brushing (somewhat more when shedding the undercoat) to stay in perfect condition. A curry brush is all that is required to properly brush this breed.

    Breed characteristics and personality
        The Canaan Dog is a survivor because of his self-reliance and his adaptability. He is not a dog for everyone. His independence requires that his owner be loving but firmly in charge. His natural qualities work well for man, but he needs to be socialized at an early age. If he is introduced as a puppy to people and other dogs, his tendency toward aloofness and his predisposition to dog aggression will be properly moderated. Although these traits are not exhibited by all Canaan Dogs, they are inherent in the breed as necessary requirements for survival in the wild.
        He is an affectionate, devoted companion who develops a strong but not overly dependent attachment to his owners, including children. His territorial instincts, wariness of strangers, and keen senses of smell and hearing, coupled with his willingness to guard, make him an excellent protector of home and family. He enjoys outdoor activities and exercise, but is also content to curl up on the couch with his family.
        The Canaan Dog is also extremely vocal. Vocalizing when danger is spotted accomplishes two things: Intruders will often give up if they know they have been discovered and have lost the element of surprise. Secondly, other pack members are alerted and they can rush to the aid of the caller, which will make any intruder think twice about proceeding.
        He does not need constant attention or reassurance, and thus he may not be suitable for a family that enjoys close contact with an attentive pet.

        He excels in obedience, agility, tracking, and sentry work. He may also exhibit herding instinct.

    Web links

  • AKC Canaan Dog page
  • Israel Canaan Dog Club of America
  • The Canaan Dog Club (UK)

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