The Canaan Dog is a herding and guarding breed that was is believed to have been originally used in biblical times by the Hebrews. While today they are companion dogs in Europe and North America, excelling at dog sports and agility, the Canaan is still used as a working pup in certain areas.
The Canaan Dog is very protective and territorial of their home and needs a strong leader to show them right from wrong. For this reason, this pup is recommended for first time dog owners but for those who have experience training an often stubborn dog. That being said, when raised in the right environment and socialized properly, the Canaan can make a wonderful family pet and companion to you.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this dog and whether they might be the next addition to your household, keep reading below.
History Of The Canaan Dog
The Canaan Dog is a rare breed, with only around 1,600 of these dogs in the world. They were registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1997 and currently rank at 150th out of the 155 breeds they have registered.
The Canaan is also recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) which recognized them in 1992, alongside The Canaan Dog Club of America that was formed in 1965.
It is thought that the Canaan Dog was bred from dogs called the Kelef Kanani, which were around in 2200-2000 BCE in Egypt. They were originally used as hunting and guarding dogs, protecting flocks in the Middle East. However, when the Roman conquerers invaded, the Canaan dog found itself unemployed and went to live in the hilly desert of southern Israel.
The Canaan Dog had to adapt to the harsh lifestyle of the desert, although they were still occasionally used as working dogs by those who lived in areas that are now Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel.
However, in 1935, things changed. World War II was brewing, but so was an independent Jewish state. Jewish settlements in Palestine needed guard dogs that could withstand desert conditions, and the area’s armed forces were looking for a desert-tough guard and patrol dogs. Dr. Rudolphina Menzel, a professor, was in charge of creating a dog that could meet all these needs.
Dr. Menzel bred Canaan Dogs, adapting them with each round of breeding. They became working dogs for sentry work, land mine detection, and message delivery, as well as dogs within the Middle East Forces during World War II. By 1948, the Palestine Kennel Club had registered 150 of them.
The Canaan Dog was first imported into the United States in 1965, which is when The Canaan Dog Club of America was formed.
Characteristics Of The Canaan Dog
Due to the fact that the Canaan Dog is so rare, it can be difficult to find one of these pups. If you are lucky enough to find a breeder, you may have to be put on a waiting list. the litter sizes are normally between 4 to 6 puppies and a Canaan Dog puppy can set you back between $800 and $1200.
The Canaan Dog is a medium sized dog breed. Males usually stand between 20 to 24 inches tall and weigh between 45 to 55 pounds, while females are normally smaller and stand between 19 to 23 inches and weigh between 35 to 45 pounds.
These herding dogs have a very agile body which allows them to move very quickly. Their ears stand erect on the top of their head and their tail is bushy. Their dark eyes give them a very cute expression, too!
The Canaan Dog has a double coat that helped to regulate their bodies in the desert temperatures. The outer coat is straight and harsh to the touch, and it lays flat on the body with a ruff at the neck. The undercoat is short and softer, although the thickness of it varies depending on the climate in which the Canaan lives.
Fortunately, the Canaan Dog does not shed too much. However, they do still need to be brushed. We will go into more detail about grooming later on.
The Canaan Dog can come in a large range of coat colors. They can be white, black, brown, red, liver and sandy. They can be a solid color, predominantly white with a mask and sometimes additional large patches of color, or even with white trim on the chest, belly, feet, lower part of the legs, and tail tip. Some brown dogs also have specs of black throughout their coat.
The Canaan Dog is a versatile and adaptable breed that loves their family. They feel it is their duty to protect you and will become very territorial of their home. This means they can be aloof with strangers and won’t be afraid to bark if they feel there is something out of place, making them an excellent watchdog and guard dog. Because of this, socialization and training is very important for this breed.
You will need to be a strong and confident owner when it comes to looking after the Canaan Dog, purely because of their wariness around those they don’t know. They often see everything as a threat and so continued socialization and training throughout the duration of their life is needed.
These dogs can also have an independent streak and will try to take charge if you don’t show them that they are in charge. Thanks to their territoriality, this can lead to them deciding who and who isn’t allowed on their property which can then in turn lead to more behavioral issues. You will need to show them that you are the boss from a young age so they learn to listen.
The Canaan is a highly reactive dog and will react quickly to many situations, especially if they feel their home or family is under threat. They are very intelligent and are always willing to engage in different activities, although also have their limits and will become bored if asked to repeat the same thing over and over again.
While the Canaan Dog is sociable with their family, they do not need to be by your side every minute of the day. This is great for those who have to be at work for many hours. That being said, they won’t tolerate being left outside for hours at a time alone either and so enjoy quality time with those that they love.
The Canaan Dog has a relatively long life expectancy. On average, these dogs can live for between 12 and 15 years.
Known Health Issues
The Canaan Dog is a hardy dog breed that is mostly healthy. However, they are still prone to some health problems. We have laid out these main health concerns below.
– Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
– Elbow Dysplasia — this is a common condition in larger breeds of dog. It can be caused by different growth rates and can cause lameness. It can be fixed with surgery.
– Hypothyroidism — this can be caused by a deficiency of the thyroid hormone and may produce signs that include infertility, obesity, mental dullness and lack of energy. It can be treated with medication.
– Von Willebrand’s Disease — this is a disease that is found in both humans and dogs. It is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. It cannot be cured but it can be treated with small surgery.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Canaan Dog, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. As we have mentioned above, the Canaan is not recommended for first time dog owners, purely because of their training and socialization needs. Read on below to find out more.
Food And Diet
The Canaan Dog needs roughly 1.5 to 2.5 cups of food a day. The amount you feed them should be based on their age, their weight and their activity level. You should also check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding them based on these factors.
Pick a high-quality dog food that meets your Canaan’s nutritional requirements. Take a look at the food we recommend below.
Best Dog Food For The Canaan DogBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Pedigree Adult dry dog food for the Canaan Dog. Formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adults dogs, this food provides complete and balanced nutrition to keep your pup healthy. There are optimal levels of omega-6 fatty acid to nourish skin and to help keep your dog’s coat shiny, too, as well as whole grains and a special fiber blend to support healthy digestion.
This recipe includes whole grains, protein and vegetables to give a well rounded diet alongside antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even better, the crunchy kibble pieces help to clean your Canaan’s teeth as they chew, helping to prevent dental decay. There are also no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in this food.
The Canaan Dog is a relatively active dog, but they don’t have very high exercise needs. Happy to be with their family, they will like to accompany you on hikes and runs but are also happy just to have one to two walks a day.
Because they are an intelligent breed, the Canaan Dog can be taught tricks, agility and dog sports for competitions. You will need to persevere with training and remember not to repeat the same command over and over, as they will become bored. Teaching your dog these things will help to keep them mentally stimulated too.
While out walking your dog in public or in the park, it is a good idea to keep them on a leash. They can become aggressive towards other dogs they don’t know, especially those of the same sex.
The Canaan Dog can make a wonderful family pet when placed with experienced owners who understand their needs. An adaptable dog, this breed can live anywhere, whether it is in a small apartment or in a large house with a yard. As an owner, you must be prepared to be firm and consistent with your Canaan otherwise they will believe they run the family and will want to do their own thing!
The Canaan Dog gets on very well with children. They are gentle, devoted and protective towards the younger members of their family, but you should still supervise your children with your Canaan. These pups can make great playmates for kids, but they can sometimes be a bit rough without meaning to be.
These dogs can also get on well with other dogs. However, they will need to be socialized extensively with them and will always do better with dogs that they have been raised with. It is for this reason that you shouldn’t let them off the leash at the park, as they can end up bullying other dogs who they don’t know. We recommend investing in a high quality dog leash for this breed.
With dogs they do know, they will play but it tends to be rough play. For those who don’t know the Canaan, it may come off as aggression.
The Canaan can get on with other animals such as cats, but, again, only if they have been raised with them. Small animals may activate the Canaan’s prey drive, so it is not a good idea to keep these animals together unless you have properly socialized them together.
Training is one of the most important things you will need to do with your Canaan Dog, aside from socializing. While these dogs are intelligent, they can be stubborn and independent and will not always want to learn. You will have to be firm and consistent with them so they learn that you are in charge.
If you don’t train your Canaan Dog, they will take their independent nature and run with it! This will likely cause them to become the boss of the house which can lead to further behavioral issues, especially when it relates to strangers coming onto their property.
Like all dogs, the Canaan Dog responds best to positive reinforcement techniques and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats. You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
Early and continued socialization throughout the course of your Canaan’s life is extremely important. Thanks to their history, these dogs are very aloof with strangers and very territorial around their property and their people.
You will not be able to socialize your Canaan Dog for a few months as a puppy and then give up. You will constantly need to be introducing your Canaan to new things throughout their life so they learn what is a threat and what is not. This is especially true if you are planning on entering your Canaan into dog sports or plan to show them. They will need to know how to react around other pups they have never met.
Introduce your Canaan Dog to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a calm and controlled way. Start from a young age and continue throughout their life so they learn how to react in new situations.
The Canaan Dog does not shed too much, so you will only need to brush them around once a week. They will shed more twice a year, when they shed their undercoat, and during this time you should be brushing them more frequently. To do this, use a stiff bristle brush to loosen any dead hair.
Fortunately, you do not need to bathe your Canaan Dog often as they are a relatively clean breed. However, you will need to brush their teeth two to three times a week, if not more, to help prevent dental decay and disease. You should also clip their toenails as and when it is needed.
Started grooming your Canaan Dog from a young age so they grow used to it. You can use treats and praise to show them that it is not a situation to be feared.
Canaan Dog FAQ’s
How much does a Canaan Dog cost?
A Canaan puppy can cost between $800 and $1200. You should always make sure you are buying from a breeder who can show you health clearances for both parent breeds. They should also be able to prove that the dog you are buying is actually a Canaan. Because they are so rare, you should always double check!
Where can I find a Canaan Dog?
Canaan Dogs are a very rare breed with only around 1,600 of these dogs in the world. Therefore, finding one of these pups can be difficult. If you are lucky enough to find a breeder, you may need to be put on a waiting list as puppies may be in high demand.
If you would prefer to adopt a Canaan Dog, you can do a quick search online for rescue organizations. Two organizations to look at first would be the The Canaan Dog Club of America, Inc. and the Canaan Dog Rescue Network. Both of these will be able to help in finding a Canaan for your home!
The Canaan Dog can be a handle for inexperienced owners, but for those who know what it takes to train and socialize one of these pups they can become a wonderful family companion. Gentle and protective with their family members, these dogs get on very well with everyone they are socialized with.
They are extremely loyal and will be quick to ward off any intruders that come to the house and won’t be afraid to bark about it! Because of this, proper training and socializing from a young age and continued throughout their life is mandatory, especially if you don’t want a Canaan who thinks they run the place! However, once they are settled into a loving family environment, these dogs are a fantastic breed to have around. If you’re lucky enough to find one of these pups, do you think you’ll be adding one to your home?