Canaan Dog

September 23, 2020 // 7 minute read

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The Canaan Dog is a medium-sized dog that stands at a height of 24 inches. They have square bodies covered with a thick coat that mainly comes in white color with additional color patches. Some also come in solid colors that range from black to several shades of brown.

Canaan dogs are known to be loyal and affectionate to their family, which makes them excellent companions. They’ll also be great dogs for those who don’t have the time to play with them as they can be very independent. However, you should take note that they shouldn’t be left alone in the backyard.

These dogs enjoy the company of people and will make excellent guard dogs. You need to be confident and firm if you want to own one, and you need to dedicate time to train and socialize them.

Canaan Dog

Canaan Dog Statistics

Dog Breed GroupHerding
Breed SizeMedium
Height20-24 inches (male); 19-23 inches (female)
Weight45-55 pounds (male); 35-45 pounds (female)
Lifespan12-15 years

Canaan Dog Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Canaan Dog History

The origin of Canaan Dogs can be traced back to Canaan (ancient Palestine and Phoenicia) around 3,000 BCE. This place is known for its spacious land of milk and honey, and flocks of sheep and goat just spread everywhere.

It was the CanaanDogs’ duty or were initially named Kelef Kanani to guard the flock. It is believed that the modern Canaan dogs descended from this breed, but the looks also changed as the years went by.

When the Romans came, the Canaan inhabitants were left with no choice but to disperse to different areas, leaving the dogs unemployed. The dogs have spent years roaming around the desert and not known by the world.

They lived a feral lifestyle, surviving the harsh conditions of the desert on their own. This sculpted them into a tough athlete that is perfectly suited in the desert environment.

By 1935, when World War II came, Isolated Jewish settlements needed tough guard and patrol dogs to withstand harsh conditions. That’s when Rudolphina Menzel thought of the Canaan Dogs and decided to start a breeding program.

Menzel and her husband managed to capture Canaan Dogs as months passed. When they had enough dogs, they trained them for sentry work, land mine detection, and delivering messages. They were also active dogs that helped the Middle East Forces during World War II.

By 1948, the Palestine Kennel Club recognized the breed and was able to register 150 dogs. By 1965, the first of the breed was imported to the US, and a Canaan Dog Club of America was immediately founded.

By the year 1997, the American Kennel Club finally recognized the dog breed, and they now rank 179th as the most popular dogs in the US. Though they are still considered rare, it’s undeniable how excellent their skills are.

Canaan Dog2

Canaan Dog Temperament

Canaan Dogs are confident, alert, and vigilant dogs. They are devoted and docile to his family, gentle to children, and get along well with the pets they grew up with. They are the type that doesn’t desire your physical affection as they are self-reliant and independent.

They are athletic and will be great dogs to have if you wish to participate in agility races. That is if you can train him. They are fast-moving and light-footed dogs, so keep them in a leash when you wish to walk him out.

These dogs retain their primitive instinct – vigilant, wary of strangers, territorial, and distrustful. Canaan dogs are always aware of their surroundings and will alert you when they sense a threat. These qualities make them excellent watchdogs.

But make sure to socialize them early, so they don’t become aggressive, shy, or fearful. Socialize them to new people, places, sights, sounds, and experiences so they’ll get accustomed to it. This will also help build up confidence and make them more well-rounded.

Other primitive instincts found in these dogs are strong prey drive and digging. If you let him free in your backyard, supervise him to ensure that he won’t dig up holes. You should also have securely fenced yards, so he doesn’t chase the first small animal they see.

As intelligent dogs, Canaan Dogs are quick-learners. That is if you are confident, consistent, and firm. Show your dog that you are the leader of the pack, so he follows you.

Although they don’t need constant petting, they need lots of training to stimulate their minds and bodies. Keep him occupied with things to do so he doesn’t become bored and destructive.

Canaan Dog Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Canaan Dogs should do well on high-quality and well-balanced meals. They don’t have any special dietary requirements but make sure that what you feed them is appropriate for their age, activity level, and metabolism. For home-cooked meals, make sure that you only buy high-quality ingredients that are excellent sources of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Add fruits and vegetables in their diet for fiber and vitamins. If you wish to give them commercial food, you must ensure that you buy premium quality ones. Check the label and make sure that the product doesn’t contain fillers, additives, and by-products that can cause your dog’s digestion problems. You should also watch the number of calories you feed your dog daily. If possible, ask your vet’s advice regarding the right feeding requirements specific to your dog’s needs.
  • Grooming: Canaan Dogs are double-coated dogs that shed frequently. This means frequent brushing is also needed to keep shedding to a minimum. Plus, it helps in removing dirt that might be stuck on your dog’s coat. Baths can be given occasionally as Canaan Dogs tend to be clean. However, ears should be cleaned out regularly to prevent ear infection. Don’t forget to trim the nails regularly, too, as long nails tend to cause discomfort to your dog.
  • Exercise: Canaan Dogs are moderately active dogs that need lots of mental stimulation. The ideal training for them is training them for dog sports – obedience, tracking, herding, agility, nose work, carting, and a lot more activities that you can do together.
  • Health: Canaan Dogs are generally healthy dogs. However, there are also certain conditions he might acquire in his life that you should be aware of. Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, and eye diseases are very common to this breed. We advise that you have your dog checked so he’ll be cleared of any possibility. Meeting at least one of your dog’s parents is also really so you can be aware of any hereditary diseases they might acquire. Closely monitor any changes in your dog’s behavior, too, and if there are any, take him immediately to the vet.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Canaan Dogs is 12-15 years.

Famous Canaan Dogs

  • Felix to the Max: First Canaan Dog to compete in the herding group at the Westminster Kennel Club Show

Fun Facts about Canaan Dogs

  • Canaan Dogs are ancient dogs that originated from the Land of Canaan in Israel.
  • They were depicted on tombs that goes back to 2200 and 2000 BC.
  • They were originally known as Kelef Kanani.
  • These dogs were used to guard flocks of sheep and goats that prospered in Canaan.
  • They served as messengers, helpers, sentry dogs, and land mine detectors during the World War.
  • They were the first dog trained to detect land mines.
  • They were first recognized by the Palestine Kennel Club in 1965.
  • These dogs were trained as Seeing Eye Dogs.
  • They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1997.

Check Out Other Herding Dog Breeds:
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collies, Beaucerons, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Bergamasco Sheepdog, Berger Picards, Border Collie, Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collie, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Finnish Lapphund, German Shepard, Miniature American Shepherd, Norwegian Buhunds, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Puli, Pumi, Pyrenean Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Spanish Water Dog, Swedish Vallhunds

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