Canaan – Mixed Dog Breed Characteristics & Facts


The Canaan Mixed Dog Breed is a pariah dog that has endured for countless years in Israel’s desert. Some of these dogs are still employed for this purpose today by Bedouins and Druse, and are thought to be descendants of the canines that the Hebrews used to herd and protect their flocks and encampments in biblical times. Despite being purebred dogs, you might find them in shelters or with rescue organizations. Don’t forget to adopt! If you want to bring a dog home, avoid shopping.

Canaan Dogs are pets and competitors in dog sports like conformation, agility, and obedience in Europe and North America. They are extremely adaptable and can even cope with apartment living if their owners can accommodate the breed’s exercise requirements. They do, however, require strong leadership and consistent instruction because they are an old pack breed. They are intelligent, but they can also be obstinate. If you use positive reinforcement, your dog will be eager to please you. For a list of all Canaan Dog characteristics and information, see below!

Canaan Mixed Dog Breed Pictrure

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Canaan Dog – Mixed Dog Breed Characteristics

Adapts Well To Apartment Living****
Good For Novice Owners**
Sensitivity Level****
Tolerates Being Alone***
Tolerates Cold Weather***
Tolerates Hot Weather*****
All Around Friendliness***
Affectionate With Family****
Dog Friendly***
Friendly Toward Strangers**
Health And Grooming Needs***
Amount Of Shedding****
Drooling Potential*
Easy To Groom*****
General Health*****
Potential For Weight Gain**
Easy To Train*****
Potential For Mouthiness***
Prey Drive***
Tendency To Bark Or Howl***
Wanderlust Potential**
Physical Needs****
Energy Level****
Exercise Needs***
Potential For Playfulness****

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group:Herding Dogs
Height:19 to 24 inches
Weight:35 to 55 pounds
Life Span:12 to 15 years

Dogs played a fundamental role in ancient Middle Eastern societies because they were employed to herd and protect the flocks of sheep, which were a man’s greatest source of wealth. These ancient dogs, known as Kelef Kanani (Hebrew for “Canaan Dog”), have persisted into the modern era while retaining the characteristics that allowed them to survive in harsh desert environments for thousands of years.

The Canaan Dog of today still possesses the same smooth coat, pricked ears, and bushy tail as his ancestors, as well as the same alert, watchful, and inquisitive nature that made him a renowned herding dog. This canine athlete is quick to change directions and trots quickly, covering ground faster than you can imagine. The Canaan Dog is endowed with an endearing and responsive personality in addition to his pleasing form and graceful movement.

A properly socialized Canaan Dog loves his family and is adaptable to many living situations, despite the fact that his heritage of desert survival gives him some independence. He finds that apartment living with several quick daily walks is just as enjoyable as a suburban home with a yard and three rowdy kids. Although this breed is active, it doesn’t have a lot of energy. The Canaan Dog is also unlikely to stray far from home due to his territorial nature, though like any dog, he should have a fenced yard to keep him safe from traffic and other hazards.

This breed is adaptable. The Canaan Dog is intelligent, quick to pick up new skills, and eager to participate in almost any canine activity, from tracking to herding, obedience to agility, even though he doesn’t excel in any particular field. Only when he has to dive into a chilly lake to retrieve a bird does he draw the line. Canaan of today still has some of its ancient herding techniques, some of which have been successfully tested.

The Canaan does not have the same herding instinct as some other breeds, such as the Border Collie, nor does he possess the same level of focus as some sporting breeds. Few Canaans will repeatedly retrieve a ball 100 times. The Canaan is a moderate both in appearance and behavior. Nevertheless, in order to combat tendencies toward aloofness and aggression toward other dogs, this dog needs to be handled with firmness but love as well as early socialization in puppyhood. Canaan training is simple for seasoned dog owners, but it can be challenging for novices.

A positive outlook and the assistance of a capable trainer can make things easier. The best motivational strategies for this sharp dog include food rewards, praise, and play. He needs a stimulating and innovative learning environment because repetitive training quickly grows boring for him. It’s crucial to offer him firm, strong leadership as well. If a Canaan believes he is in charge rather than you, he will decide who is allowed on his property, which can cause serious behavioral issues.

Canaan Dogs are known for being extremely reactive, which is a great survival skill. A dog’s life can be saved by responding quickly when faced with something unfamiliar, and being cautious or suspicious in unfamiliar circumstances is one of the reasons the breed has endured to the present day. These characteristics still exist because Canaan breeders have worked to preserve the breed’s character, making them excellent watchdogs.

Be prepared for some barking; the breed makes a great and loud watchdog. Because they are so vigilant, Canaans will immediately notice anything new or any new visitor on their property. They will bark to let you know someone is there, but they will circle and hang back to observe what is happening. Some people may perceive them as being shy because of this, but it’s just how they react to unfamiliar or potentially dangerous situations.

Children get along well with Canaan Dogs because they view them as members of their pack and are gentle with them. They get along well with cats and other small pets in the home where they are raised. Canaan Dogs have been employed as mine detectors, trackers, and alert dogs more recently. They have been used to herd and protect flocks and encampments for centuries. They take part in obedience, conformity, agility, and herding competitions. The Canaan is affectionate and devoted, but not a glutton for attention.

When necessary, he can keep himself busy. Of course, this does not imply that he ought to spend all of his time alone in the backyard. Canaans are social dogs who enjoy spending time with their owners, just like any other breed. They make excellent companions and guardians of one’s home and belongings. The Canaan Dog might be the perfect pet for you if you recognize and value the special traits of this breed and are prepared and able to live with a primitive breed that still exhibits the same instincts and behaviors that have kept him alive for thousands of years.



  • For new dog owners, the Canaan Dog is not the ideal breed.
  • Due to their ancestry, Canaans are a more pack-oriented breed than other breeds. They’ll try to take control of the “pack” from a submissive owner.
  • To help them distinguish between threats and non-threats, they require extensive and ongoing socialization throughout their lives.
  • Canaan Dogs have a history of dog aggression. Some people cannot coexist with a dog of the same sex, while others show aggression toward any dog they encounter.
  • Canaans are reserved around strangers.
  • Canaan dogs bark when something new or unusual occurs in their domain. If they aren’t taught when to stop barking or if they are frequently left alone for extended periods of time, they may develop into nuisance barkers.
  • They do not make good guard dogs because they may be indiscriminate about who and what is a threat due to their suspicion of unfamiliar people and objects.
  • Canaan Dogs need a yard that is completely enclosed.
  • They enjoy digging and can transform your beautifully maintained lawn into a patch that resembles the moon’s surface.
  • Although they are highly trainable due to their intelligence, their independence and lack of motivation can make it uncertain whether they will choose to pay attention to you. They approach training with a “what’s in it for me?” mentality.
  • They shed heavily twice a year, and then less frequently the rest of the time.
  • There are only about 1,600 Canaan Dogs in existence, making them a rare breed. You should plan on waiting if you want a Canaan Dog puppy.
  • Never purchase a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, a puppy mill, or a pet shop if you want a healthy dog. Find a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to ensure that they are healthy and free of genetic diseases that they could pass on to the puppies.


Canaan, which was ancient Palestine and Phoenicia from about 3,000 BCE, is described in the Bible’s book of Exodus as a good and spacious land that is flowing with milk and honey. There were abundant flocks of sheep and goats, and where there are flocks, there are dogs. The Hebrew term Kelef Kanani, which translates to “Canaan Dog,” was used to describe the dogs of these ancient Middle Eastern communities.

The Canaan Dog, the Kelef Kanani’s modern-day descendant, and the Kelef Kanani probably had little in common. Dogs with smooth coats, pricked ears, and bushy tails curling over their backs are depicted in tomb drawings from Beni Hassan in Egypt, which date to between 2200 and 2000 BCE. They undoubtedly exhibited the same alert, watchful, and inquisitive expression as the Canaan Dog of today, a breed that could very well be a living representation of the earliest domesticated dogs.

The ancient Middle Eastern herding dogs kept their flocks from wandering, guarded them against predators or thieves, and raised the alarm when danger approached. The Canaan Dog lost his job as a result of the invasion of Roman conquerors and the dispersal of the region’s inhabitants to distant lands over the centuries. He withdrew to the hilly desert of southern Israel, where he led a savage existence that depended on his cunning and physical stamina.

He occasionally kept up his nomadic lifestyle, working for the Bedouin desert nomads, or he provided security for the Druse, religious hill tribes who lived on Mount Carmel and other locations in what are now Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. The dog developed into a cunning athlete who was perfectly adapted to his environment as a result of this harsh lifestyle. The Canaan Dog lived free in the desert for ages, but in 1935, a series of global events made it possible for him to return to society.

In addition to World War II, a Jewish state on its own was also impending. The armed forces of the region were looking for a guard and patrol dog that could withstand the harsh desert environment for the isolated Jewish settlements in Palestine. The University of Tel Aviv’s Rudolphina Menzel, a professor of animal and comparative psychology, was tasked with creating a dog that would satisfy these requirements.

She had initially intended to work with well-established breeds, but she kept seeing Canaan Dogs in the desert in her mind’s eye. They had the necessary survival skills, which was what was required. A number of the desert dogs were purchased by Dr. Menzel and her husband, who then started breeding them while documenting and enhancing their bloodlines. They worked with the Middle East Forces during World War II and trained their new breed for sentry duty, mine detection, and message delivery.

Some of the dogs pursued second careers as guide dogs after the war. The Palestine Kennel Club had 150 of them registered by 1948. Ursula Berkowitz imported four Canaan Dogs in 1965 from Oxnard, California. In the same year, the Canaan Dog Club of America was established. The breed was approved by the United Kennel Club in 1992 and the American Kennel Club in 1997.

When Ch. Catalina’s Felix to the Max became the first Canaan Dog to compete in the Herding Group at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1998, the breed shot to national prominence. Despite being one of the 155 breeds and varieties that the AKC has registered, he is still a rare breed.


Male Canaan Dogs are larger than females, measuring 19 to 23 inches at the shoulder and weighing 35 to 45 pounds compared to 20 to 24 inches and 45 to 55 pounds for males.


The Canaan is characterized as attentive, watchful, devoted, and submissive toward his family. Although he shouldn’t ever be timid or hostile, he is distant from strangers and fiercely territorial. The Canaan makes a good alarm dog because of his territoriality, which develops around age 2. Every time someone knocks on the door, he will undoubtedly bark before settling down once he sees that you have everything under control. That’s presuming he sees you as the alpha dog. If he doesn’t, he might try to manage things himself and decide who is welcome and who isn’t.

When you coexist with a Canaan, you must be ready and able to take the lead. The breed needs extensive socialization, or exposure to a wide variety of people, places, sights, sounds, and experiences. This socialization should last for several years, if not a lifetime, rather than just a few months during puppyhood. A dog will be less anxious and less likely to lash out when faced with novel situations as an adult if they have been exposed to a variety of people and circumstances when they are young.

Socialization and training are crucial if you intend to show or compete with your Canaan in any kind of dog sport. He should start by enrolling in a kindergarten class for puppies. Regularly hosting guests, taking him to crowded parks, dog-friendly shops, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will all help him hone his social skills. Some Canaan Dogs experience a fear phase that can last up to a year and begins between 9 and 12 months of age.

They could become particularly tense around strangers and startle at seemingly innocuous objects. Be composed and assured during this time to reassure him that he has nothing to fear. Trying to comfort him will only make him more convinced that there is something out there intent on capturing him. Numerous elements, including training, socialization, and heredity, have an impact on temperament. Puppies with good dispositions are curious and playful, approachable, and eager to be cuddled.

Select a puppy that is in the middle of the pack rather than one that is bullying its littermates or hiding in a corner. Always meet at least one parent to make sure they are pleasant and comfortable around you. Usually, the mother is the one who is available. It’s also beneficial to meet the parents’ siblings or other family members to get a sense of what the puppy will be like as an adult.


Canaans are a hardy breed that have no known inherited health issues. Find a reputable breeder who will provide you with the health clearances for both of your puppy’s parents if you are purchasing a puppy. Health certifications attest to a dog’s having undergone testing and being declared free of a specific ailment.

You should expect to see health certificates for von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and thrombopathia from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), thrombopathia from Auburn University, and normal eyes from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) in Canaans. You can check the OFA website to confirm health clearances (


The Canaan’s thick undercoat allows him to spend time outside in any weather, but he should be kept indoors when his owners are present. He needs a yard that is completely enclosed in order to be safe from vehicles and dog fights. He’s simple to housebreak with a regular schedule. If left to their own devices, Canaans enjoy digging and are capable of creating sizable excavations in a short amount of time. Give them a place to dig that they can call their own, or engage them in different activities to curb their urge to dig.

The Canaan doesn’t call for a lot of physical activity. He usually enjoys a few quick walks each day or a walk combined with some active playtime in the backyard.


1.5 to 2.5 cups of premium dry food should be consumed every day, split between two meals. NOTE: The amount of food your adult dog consumes is influenced by his size, age, build, metabolism, and level of activity. Like people, each dog is unique, so they don’t all require the same amount of food. A highly active dog will require more than a couch potato dog, which should almost go without saying. The kind of dog food you purchase also matters; the better the food, the more effectively it will nourish your dog and the less you will need to shake into the bowl.

Rather than leaving food out all the time, keep your Canaan in good shape by feeding him twice a day and measuring his food. Give him the hands-on and eye tests if you’re not sure if he’s obese. Look down at him first. There should be a waist visible. After that, lay your hands on his back with your thumbs along his spine and your fingers spread outward. Without exerting much pressure, you should be able to feel his ribs but not see them.

He needs less food and more exercise if you can’t. See our recommendations for selecting the best food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog for more information on feeding your Canaan Dog.

Coat Design and Maintenance

Due to their double coat, Canaan Dogs are protected from the extreme heat of the desert. The outer coat is flat on the body, straight and harsh to the touch, and has a light ruff on the neck. Short and soft undercoat is present. Depending on the climate where the dog lives, the undercoat’s thickness varies. The thick tail tapers to a sharp end. Canaans can range in color from black to every shade of brown, including sandy, red, or liver, with or without white trim on the chest, belly, feet, lower part of the legs, and tail tip.

They can also be predominantly white with a mask and occasionally additional large patches of color. Some dogs that are entirely brown or tan will have black splotches. The coat needs little brushing to stay in good condition and sheds very little. It is sufficient to brush your dog once a week with a stiff bristle brush, though you might need to brush your dog more frequently when the undercoat is shed twice a year.

The Canaan Dog doesn’t need to be bathed frequently and is generally a clean dog. To get rid of tartar accumulation and the bacteria that live inside of it, brush your Canaan’s teeth at least twice or three times per week. Even better than twice-daily brushing is prevention of bad breath and gum disease. If your dog doesn’t naturally wear down his nails, you should trim them once or twice a month. They are too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor.

The feet are kept in good condition by having short, neatly trimmed nails, which also protect your legs from being scratched when your Canaan jumps up to greet you. As soon as your Canaan is a puppy, start getting used to brushing and examinations. Dogs are sensitive when it comes to their feet, so handle his paws frequently and examine his mouth and ears. Lay the groundwork for simple veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult by making grooming a rewarding experience filled with praise and rewards.

While grooming, keep an eye out for sores, rashes, or infection-related symptoms like redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, or eyes, as well as on the feet. Eyes should be clear, without redness or discharge, and ears should have a pleasant scent and not have too much wax or other debris inside. You can identify potential health issues early on thanks to your thorough weekly exam.

Kids and other animals

Canaanites are loving, devoted, and guardianship. Always supervise any interactions between young children and dogs to prevent biting or ear or tail pulling on either party’s part, and always teach kids how to approach and pet dogs. Teach your child to never try to steal a dog’s food or approach a dog while he or she is eating or sleeping. Regardless of how devoted, a dog should never be left unattended with a child.

Canaans can get along with other dogs if they are raised with them and have had a lot of socialization, but they have a tendency to play rough and vocalize a lot. They may appear hostile toward other dogs to those who are unfamiliar with the breed. They can be, but it’s crucial to know how to distinguish between rough play and genuine aggression. Learn the signs that your dog is giving you so you can decide when to step in and when to back off and let them be. However, adult Canaan don’t make the best playmates for off-leash dog parks.

They might try to intimidate or stifle other dogs’ play. They might also act violently toward canines of the same sex. Canaans get along with cats best if they were raised with them and the cat is intelligent enough to resist the dog rather than flee from him. Running triggers the Canaan’s prey drive, which causes him to pursue. They may chase and kill small animals, especially those they find outside, due to the breed’s strong prey drive. Families who own pets like gerbils, hamsters, or rabbits should probably avoid them.

Rescue Teams

Canaan Dogs are frequently bought without a clear understanding of what ownership entails. Numerous Canaanites require adoption or fostering. We have not included all of the rescues that have occurred. Contact the national breed club or a local breed club to find a Canaan rescue if you can’t find one listed for your region.

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