The Canaan dog dates back thousands of years and may well be the most ancient of all breeds. It started out as a feral breed until the 1930's when they started to become domesticated. Mainly led by Dr Menzel, who captured semi wild dogs and began a breeding programme. They were used by the military, as mine detectors, as pets and guard dogs. She began work training them as guide dogs for the blind, but soon realised that the breed was too independent. The work of selective breeding carried on after her death in 1973. From feral roots, the Canaan dog quickly rose up the ranks and became a popular choice working dog in the harsh climate of the Middle East. Imported to the America in 1965, it wasn't accepted into the Kennel Club until 1997. It is now seen as an excellent herder and show dog and becoming more popular as a pet.
Canaans like to be around people who they see as their pack, but can be wary of strangers. Their natural guarding abilities make it vital to socialise them properly from a young age. This means taking them to lots of different places, meeting new people inside and outside the house. They can be dog aggressive, so puppy classes are important and later adult classes to reinforce good behaviour around other dogs. They like children within the home, but can sometimes try and herd them. They need to know who is boss and will sometimes try and dominate strangers to the home. They make excellent guard dogs and will bark when someone is at the door or walking past. Barking can be a problem if not taught when to stop at a young age.
Canaans are very intelligent, active dogs who can think independently and like mental challenges. Training should be firm, but varied as they get bored easily. Games and food/reward based training works well and they like to learn, to help keep them mentally alert. They do very well in obedience, tracking, herding and many other competitions as they are classed as a working breed, physical contact with you makes them happy. They are defensive of their owners, but not usually aggressive towards people.
The breed needs a fair amount of exercise, whilst they are happy to sleep on your sofa/at your feet, they are not a lazy dog. They will need a least one very long walk a day, preferably two, but also make good jogging partners. Agility competitions are one way to tire them out and they thrive on the fast pace and praise they receive. Incorporating training exercises every day into the walk will help with their independent nature.
The breed suffers no hereditary ailments and is classed as very healthy.
Grooming is simple, a weekly brush to remove dead hairs, more often when they are moulting.
Canaans have an intelligent and independent temperament. Being incredibly agile dogs with heaps of stamina it is important that they get a chance to exercise vigourously everyday or risk having a bored destructive dog on your hands. Don't expect huge affection from a Canaan who would be much happier with mentally challenging training to keep them stimulated instead. They do not particularly like strangers but are seldom aggressive, preferring to bark and back away. To prevent dog aggression (which can be a problem in Canaans) early socialisation is paramount.
Health problems that may affect Canaans include epilepsy, cancer, allergies, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia, luxating patella (dislocation of the kneecap), diabetes and allergies.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 years
- Weight: 16 - 25 kg
- Height: 19 - 24"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Short
- Grooming Requirements: Once a week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Small House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Companion Dog
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour