AKC Dog Breeds: Canaan Dog

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Herding Group
Height: 19-24 inches   Weight: 37-57  pounds  Color: solid black, brown, white, or black & white

The Canaan Dog is a herding and flock guardian dog native to the Middle East. He is aloof with strangers, inquisitive, loyal and loving with his family. His medium-size, square body is without extremes, showing a clear, sharp outline. The Canaan Dog moves with athletic agility and grace in a quick, brisk, ground-covering trot. The original story of the Canaan Dog begins with it being a pariah dog in the ancient times of Israel. Many believe that this dog breed could actually date back to biblical times, making it one of the oldest dog breeds still around today. Thought to be a herding dog and a guard dog of those ancient Israelites, the Canaan Dog roamed the region, helping to protecting the flocks of sheep and other animals as well as to guard those that slept in the camps.

General Appearance

The pricked ears of this breed are broad at the base and have rounded tips, set high on the head. The bushy tail curls when the dog is in 'alert' mode. The dog's almond shaped eyes are a dark brown sitting over a slightly slanted and dark nose. At first glance, the Canaan Dog looks inquisitive when it glances at you, more curious than suspicious. The Canaan Dog is a double coat breed. The outer coat is harsh, straight, flat, and short. The under coat is soft and dense. The color of the coat comes in two distinct patterns: white with mash, and solid colored with or without white trim. Solid coat colors range from black, sandy, red, liver, and all shades of brown. The legs are long and straight with paws that almost resemble those of a cat. The medium sized chest is also moderately deep and covered by a double coat of short, flat fur. The head is shaped in a sort of blunted wedge shape with a defined stop at the nose.

The Canaan Dog is a loyal and affectionate animal, with plenty of love and devotion to shower upon his family, and he is always eager to please, keen, enthusiastic, and resourceful. These intelligent dogs can be quite manipulative and strong willed when they want to be, and are best suited to owners that have some experience of dog ownership and training. The Canaan Dog is not overly demanding when it comes to attention, and is very independent yet very adaptable. His high level of intelligence means that you need to keep him mentally stimulated through the activities that you provide, as boredom can lead to destructive behavior. The Canaan Dog is an animal that can be distrustful, and this makes him wary with strangers. His territorial streak, protective nature, and observation skills, coupled with his keen senses, make him an effective watchdog. The Canaan Dog will get along well with children if he has been raised with them, but can get aggressive with other dogs. The may also chase smaller animals, as the prey drive of this breed is strong. However, those brought up with other animals will usually be okay with them and will readily accept them. The Canaan Dog is a keen digger, and also loved to bark, which is the main way in which he expresses himself if he senses threat or danger.


The Canaan Dog is one of the easiest dog breeds to groom as the coat is simple to groom and to maintain. A weekly brushing with a coarse brush will help to keep stray hairs from becoming too much of a nuisance. Try to comb the hair out one a week as well to keep the appearance nice and healthy and comfortable for the dog too. It should be noted that this dog is a seasonal shedder, so you will have times of the year when shedding can be problematic - especially if you're not keeping up with the weekly brushings.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The Canaan Dog is prone to such health issues as patella luxation, eye problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, and hypothyroidism. The life expectancy of the Canaan Dog is around 12-15 years.

Activity Level

The Canaan Dog requires an inordinate amount of strenuous physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. They greatly benefit from working, herding, and family play sessions. This breed makes an excellent walking, jogging, and hiking companion. They do best in a home with a large safely fenced area where they are able to romp and run freely. Canaan Dogs will do okay in an apartment provided they are given sufficient exercise, attention, and stimulation.


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Canaan Dog on dog encyclopedia
Canaan Dog profile on dog encyclopedia