Canaan Dog Breed – thepetsclinic dogypedia

The Canaan Dog breed is an ancient one that has been used as a herding dog and a guard dog of livestock from time to time. These medium-sized dogs make excellent herders even though they are not related to other breeds of herding dogs. They have a highly developed survival and protective instinct that makes them react to any suspicious circumstances by barking and alerting the family. They are excellent as family pets because of this.

If you need an efficient working dog or a loyal family guardian, these sturdy and easy to maintain dog with medium exercise requirement is a good choice.


The Canaan Dog breed traces its history to the biblical times, and the region then known as Canaan. It roughly encompasses the modern day Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. Living as a pariah for millennia in the eastern Mediterranean region, this dog has evolved as a very sturdy breed without undergoing any drastic changes in its structure or characteristics. They were called ‘Kaleb Knaani’ in Arabic and ‘Kelev Knanani’ in Hebrew, both simply meaning ‘Dog of Canaan’.

Following the dispersal of the people in this area at the time of Roman occupation more than 2,000 years back, these dogs practically survived on their own in the coastal and desert areas of the land. The Bedouins used them as guard dogs to protect their and herd their livestock.

The breed was brought to the notice of the world in 1930, when the Austrian cynologist Dr. Rudolphina Menzel came across these dogs when she immigrated to Palestine. She started the selective breeding of these dogs and found that they were quick learners. Even though her attempts at training them as guide dogs were not exactly successful due to their independent nature, they were good for military use. In the World War II, they did commendable service as sentry dogs, messengers and mine detectors.

Even though these dogs were introduced into the United States in 1965, the official recognition of the breed by the American Kennel Club only came 1997.


The Canaan Dog breed is a typical example of what a primitive dog looked like. They are medium-sized, neat-looking dogs without any frills. The well-proportioned body has a square look. The small ears standing erect and the short upturned tail staying in a stiff curl at the back gives the dog a very alert look. They have a dense double coat with medium-length hair, the color ranging from cream and the different shades of tan to red and black with white colored patches or spots. They may have black or white masks. The breed measures up to 2 feet in height and weighs 20 to 25 pounds.


The Canaan dog is a highly trainable dog with a playful nature. They are very loving, and get on well with the children in the family. However, they can be very protective, and stay alert and aloof when the children in their care play with other children. Being quick and agile, they are excellent at herding and guarding, but they bark more often than other herding dogs.

These dogs have to be trained in a purposeful way as these quick learners are easily bored of repetitive commands and activities, and may actually ignore the commands sometimes. This is part of their naturally independent nature.

Grooming and exercise

Grooming is not difficult with this sturdy breed with its medium-long coat. Light brushing once or twice a week will keep it free of dead hair.

Being an active breed, Canaan Dogs need plenty of exercise every day. Their energy levels are moderately high, and a few brisk walks with the owner can meet their exercise requirements. But in addition to that, they need games and other activities to keep them mentally stimulated. It would be ideal to have a large yard for the dog to play in. They are good herders and would love any opportunity to herd.

Canaan Dog breed is so sturdy they can live outdoors day and night during any season, except in extreme climates. But it may be ideal to have these affectionate dogs indoors to spend the night with their human family.

Common health issues of Canaan Dog Breed

Being an ancient breed of feral origins, the genetic makeup of Canaan Dog breed has not been tampered with. They are generally free of inheritable diseases. In fact, they are one of the healthiest canines around. Common canine health problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, cryptorchidism, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal therapy etc., are very occasionally encountered in individual dogs.

An occasional visit to the veterinarian may help detect and treat any disease conditions they may be having. They have a life expectancy of 12 to 13 years.

 Canaan Dog breed

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