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Canaan Dog

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Independent and intelligent, the Canaan can be a wonderful companion but is happiest when it is the only dog in the household. Good with children but wary of strangers, this breed is protective and highly active. Unfortunately, Canaans are rare and so finding a puppy can be a challenge, but those who are successful will build strong bonds with their canine friend.

Which breed group is the Canaan in?

Breed group: Utility

Canaan breed history

An ancient breed which evolved in the Middle East, the Canaan was bred to guard and herd livestock. These dogs may be the descendants of the Indian Wolf and are spitz-type canines which are seen mainly in Israel. During the War of Independence in Israel, Canaans were used as guard dogs to protect isolated settlements. They were semi-feral and could cope with the harsh conditions. Today, Canaans can still be found guarding Bedouin flocks in the desert.

The Canaan is little known in the UK but was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1970. This dog is one of the rarest in the world and so prospective owners may find themselves disappointed.

Canaan breed characteristics

Resembling wild dogs such as the dingo, the Canaan is a distinctive dog with a wedge-shaped head which is flat between the ears. They have long muzzles and black noses together with almond-shaped eyes. Their ears are medium in size and boast rounded tips. These are carried erect and contribute to the Canaan’s proud demeanour. Their necks are muscular and arched and their bodies square with level backs. These dogs possess powerful legs, well-developed thighs and cat-like feet with tough pads. Tails are set high and carried curled over the dogs’ backs when they are excited or in motion.

The Canaan has a dense and harsh outer coat together with a profuse undercoat. The accepted colours include, black, cream, red, white and tricolour.

The Canaan is an independent soul which can be territorial and wary of strangers. They are rarely aggressive and are calm by nature but can experience an awkward stage when they are around 10 months old, at which time, they can become insecure.

  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Height: up to 60cm
  • Weight: up to 25kg
  • Wedge-shaped head
  • Long muzzle
  • Level back
  • Muscular
  • Powerful
  • Cat-like feet
  • Tail carried over the back when in motion
  • Short double coat in a variety of colours
  • Independent
  • Calm
  • Rarely aggressive
  • Good watchdogs

Health issues with the Canaan

A strong dog which can withstand extremely harsh conditions, the Canaan is nonetheless prone to several conditions as follows:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Patella luxation
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Deafness (bi-lateral & uni-lateral)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Addison's Disease
  • Masticatory Muscle Myositis
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Seizures
  • Cancer
  • Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration

What is the Canaan bred for?

These rare dogs evolved naturally in the Middle East and were used to guard and herd livestock.

What sort of owners does the Canaan suit?

The Canaan forms strong bonds with people and can be an amazing companion.  It is tolerant with children and easy to train. Better still, the Canaan is low-maintenance and sheds only minimally. However, it does require a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation. A Canaan may also prove to be territorial and wary of strangers. Dogs of the same sex can be aggressive towards each other. This breed is best suited to being the only dog in their household and to living with an active owner who can be with them all day. They wouldn’t be happy living in the urban environment as they are roamers by nature and favour life in the countryside.


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