The Canaan Dog originates from ancient wild dogs of Israel, which date back to biblical times where they worked as guarding and herding dogs. Drawings of these dogs were found in tombs that dated back to 2200 B.C. Bedouins, which are Arab desert dwelling groups, still use these dogs for guarding their camps and herding sheep flocks. Dr. Rudolphina Menzel created the modern day Canaan Dog in the 1930’s, where he trained over 400 of them to use in mine detection work for the Middle East forces. These dogs were able to detect mines better than any mechanical devices previously used. Dr. Rudolphina Menzel shipped four dogs to the United States in 1965 and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1997. The Canaan Dog is used in search and rescue, war sentry, messenger, mine detector, tracking, herding, guarding and as a guide for the blind.
Canaan Dog’s are medium sized, reaching 19-24 inches tall and weighing 35-55 pounds. Their ears are erect and pointed, and the muzzle long and tapering. The tail lays high and is curled up, carried on the back when excited. They are known for their cat like feet, which have very hard pads compared to other breeds. The Canaan Dog has a double coat, with a harsh outer coat and straight, soft undercoat. Coat colors vary from solid black, tan, brown, sandy, red, liver, white, or patched patterns of liver and white, brown and white, black and white, with a symmetrical mask matching the color of their patches. Solid colors can have white trim on their chest, feet and tip of the tail.
The Canaan Dog has very strong survival instincts. They are quick to react and very wary of strangers. This breed will alert you to any disturbances with prompt barking, making them excellent guard dogs. They will protect their property, but are not overly aggressive. The Canaan Dog is good with children they have grown up with, but may be wary of unknown people. They are very intelligent and easily pick new things up. However, this breed does get bored easily with repetitive training, so mixing things up once and awhile is a good idea. Because of their wariness of strangers this breed must be socialized to EVERYTHING at a very young age. A strong owner who can show this dog who is boss is the best match for this loving but protective breed. A well trained and socialized Canaan Dog can be a gentle, caring pet that will stay very loyal to its family.
The Canaan Dog is generally healthy and does not suffer from any known hereditary issues. However, diseases that have been seen in this breed are hypothyroidism, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patella and osteochondritis dessecans. Their average life expectancy is 12-15 years.
Canaan Dog’s can manage living in an apartment if they are properly exercised daily, however they will do best with an average sized yard. They are protected by extreme temperatures of both hot and cold by their dense undercoat. Since they are working dogs they do need a lot of exercise that stimulates them both mentally and physically. Long walks, jogs or herding exercises will make this one happy dog!
The Canaan Dog is a very clean and easy to maintain breed, with little to no doggie odor. They are very easy to groom and require a quick brushing once a week. This breed sheds heavy seasonally.
- Jealous’ Got Milk O’madriver (“Emmitt”) was the first Canaan Dog to win an AKC Best in Show in 2005
- Friday, owned by John F. Kennedy Jr.
Click here to view other Breed of the Week posts for dog breed information!
Pictures courtesy of Dog Breed Info