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Canaan Dog Breed

If you’re reading this article within the United States and you’ve never traveled abroad to the Middle East or Israel, it would be understandable why you may not be familiar with this particular dog breed.

That said however…

There is a reason why this dog breed has survived for thousands of years and why they continue to find a role in many individuals’ lives today.  This is why we wanted to take a moment and try to familiarize those who may not have had the pleasure of meeting one of these animals.

Origins of the Species: the Canaan Dog

As we’ve alluded to, the Canaan Breed has been around for a long time (think biblical times).  The breed is surrounded by biblical history and has had biblical events alter how it developed over the centuries.

You see, the Canaan dog is believed to have originated out of the biblical land of Canaan (think modern-day Israel over 2000 years ago).  At or around this time, the Israelites had to abandon the land of Canaan due to severe droughts affecting their land. As a result, many Canaan dogs were left and forced to fend for themselves within the Negev desert.

During which time…

Many of these domesticated animals became feral animals, thus honing their skills to become independent hunters, capable of surviving in bleak and thriving.

This is why they ultimately became highly valued animals to the Bedouin people (nomadic people of the desert) as guard dogs and assistance animals helping them with their livestock.

Then fast forward…

Several thousand years into the early 1930s, a breeding program was introduced to “officially” tame the now feral desert dog Dr Rudolphina Menzel.  After she set up her institution, the program produced many working dogs that were given to the military to work as mobility dogs.

Today, it is believed that an estimated 2-3 thousand of these dogs are scattered across the world since they became a desirable breed known for being highly adaptable.

Canaan Dog Characteristics

If you’re looking for an excellent “watchdog” or “guard dog,” the Canaan dog breed could be the perfect dog.  Inherently watchful by nature, one won’t need to do much to encourage your Canaan puppy to begin keeping an “eye” on everything and be wary of strangers.

But be warned…

Canaan dogs are also likely to bark a lot.  And by a lot, we mean they’re likely to bark at anyone who walks past your house day or night.  So, you’re going to want to consider this before purchasing a Canaan puppy or better yet, adopting a Canaan dog from a Canaan dog rescue center.

They’re also going to…

Be wary of anyone who has not been “officially welcomed” by their owner, so be sure to keep that in mind when walking your Canaan or having someone enter your home for the first time.

Additionally, if you want to be the center of your dog’s world and have them with you every second of the day, then a Canaan dog probably isn’t the right dog for you.

You see, Canaan dogs are very loyal companions, but they are just too busy patrolling the house and ensuring everything is secure, safe and in order, rather than following you around all day!

That said, however…

These dogs do need early socialization to keep them happy and reliable. And it should be noted that, because the dogs have a very acute sense of sight and smell, don’t be surprised if they tend to try and bolt while on a leash (at least until adequately trained) because at their core, these are herding dogs that are always ready and eager to work!

Canaan Dog Care and Maintenance

Because at its core, the Canaan dog breed is a “herder,” you will want to ensure they get plenty of time to exercise correctly.  For those unfamiliar with the Canaan breed, one might compare them with Border Collies regarding temperament, intelligence and exercise requirements.

And like a Border Collie…

Your Canaan will love being trained to do tasks around the house – but be careful not to repeat yourself too much in training because they know. They tend to do well in athletic training and excel at agility courses. Canadians are said to be at their “happiest” when kept entertained and “challenged.”

This means that they’re going to require quite a lot of stimulation and if they’re left alone too much or allowed to get too bored, they will find “fun” on their own which doesn’t always produce the results an owner is looking for (think torn up shoes)!

Puzzle balls…

And other interactive type toys are a great way to keep your Canaan busy between active play sessions.

Are Canaan dogs good with children?

You bet they are, but beware.   Canaan dogs have excellent herding and survival instincts and will be gentle with your children and other dogs in their pack (and can be part of their herding group).

But outside of this – be wary.

If your child is playing with another child and they accidentally get a little rough with one another, there is a high chance your Canaan will go into defense mode and try to protect your child from the aggressive play of the “stranger.” This is where their defensive instinct might be a hindrance, so always keep it in mind.

Canaan Dog Traits

Classified by the American Kennel Club as the national breed of Israel, these dogs have a “rugged” beauty. The Canaan breed is medium in size and belongs to a class known as ‘Pariah’ dogs.

Pariah Breeds are dogs often part feral due to their ‘outcast’ nature. They are square-chested and are built for endurance (rather than beauty). They’ll typically have low but pointed ears and usually come in “desert colors” – tans, browns, and yellows.

Your Canaan will also have a double coat – a short and wiry outer coat with a soft and fluffy undercoat – often with white trim. Both will fall out bi-annually and make a mess of your house without solid brushing. You can brush him weekly for the rest of the year to keep him looking trim. They also have a bushy tail that curls forward a little when they are happy.

For more information about the care and maintenance of the Canaan dog breed, we would highly recommend that you check out the Canaan Dog Club of America as they can often be an invaluable source of information about Canaan clubs in your area as well as for information about quality and reputable breeders.

Is the Canaan dog breed a healthy one?

You bet!  They’re one of the healthiest purebred breeds out there! This is because the breed itself was only adequately established in 1977, and therefore they have not suffered from over-breeding that many other species have (at least for now).

That said however…

Health problems you may want to look for should include: luxating patella (or floating kneecap), Hip Dysplasia and Osteochondritis Dissecans (cracks in the joint muscles and bones.)

Do you know where I can find a Canaan puppy?

Like usual, please be careful of bad breeders. Puppy farms are a huge problem in the States today, and there are ways to tell if your breeder or pet store is using puppy farmers to stock their wares.

In general…
  • If a pet store or breeder has several breeds under one roof then turn around and walk out.
  • If they do not or cannot provide you with proper documentation, do not buy.
  • If they will not let you meet at least one of the parents then shop elsewhere.

If you ask, a genuine Canaan puppy breeder can provide documentation for both parents. They will also have healthy, happy dogs raised in a safe and comfortable environment, with no risk of losing life to the mother.

If you would like more guidance on where to buy your Canaan puppy specifically, you can go to the Kennel Club website to find a list of suitably screened and reputable breeders to buy from.

Our final verdict is…

The Canaan dog breed is excellent; it’s just a matter of whether or not you’ll be a wonderful owner of one of these fabulous animals.

And unfortunately, this is something that we here at IndulgeYourPet can’t answer. Still, we would suggest that you take the time to reach out to a Canaan dog owner in your area and get to know one of these dogs before you do decide to purchase a Canaan puppy or better yet, adopt a Canaan dog rescue.

This way, you’ll be able to know for sure if getting a Canaan is suitable for you!

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