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Israel Canaan Dog

Canaan dog is special among modern breeds. For centuries they have lived partly wild, partly among humans, but never have they been systematically bred. With ”Only the strongest will survive” –  principal has the breed survived life in the desert and become that extremely intelligent and strong dog we know now. In 1930īs professor Rudolphina Menzel got interested with the pariah dogs she found at the desert and with Bedouin camps when she was searching for a more sturdy breed than the western dogs that defence forces used. She tempted the adult dogs circling her house with food and caught puppies in the desert. She found out that even the adults domesticated well. When working they were quick and observant, very territorial and they coped well, even in difficult conditions. She named the breed Canaan Dog according to the country. The first dogs in Finland were brought from the Shaar Hagai – Kennel in Israel at 1986.

The Canaan Dog is extremely agile and fast, he moves gracefully and climbs almost anything, not even puppies are clumsy. They have strong nails and they like to dig holes. It is a medium sized, well balanced, strong and square dog. Height between 50 – 60 cm. There is not much difference in size between males and females, but the general appearance should be strongly masculine of feminine. Coat is short to medium, dense and harsh with woolly undercoat. It stays clean and provides enough warmth, even enough to be kept outside during northern winters. Most common colours are sand, red-brown, white and black, desert colours, nose is black. Ears are erect, tail set high and carried curled over the back. A normal Canaan dog should be able to survive as a desert animal, anything that hinders it is considered as a fault. They live to be quite old, even to twenty years.

The Canaan Dog is wild, independent and primitive, and that makes him extremely fascinating. They have been bred with the aim to maintain those qualities. When ever it has been possible, new dogs have been captured from desert for breeding. Only nowadays has the western breeds mixing with the Bedouin dogs made it difficult to find pure-blooded Canaan dogs.

Canaan Dogs are intelligent and they learn easily. On the other hand they think independently and at last moment trust only their own judgement. It is a good trait with a pet, but it may be a hindrance with some activities. Canaan Dogs are suspicious. They assume that everything unfamiliar is a threat until proven otherwise, a trait that all wild animals share. They will not go near strange objects, voices or people. They become acquainted slowly and they don't like strangers within their own territory. A typical Canaan Dog guards his home strenuously and stays there even if he is kept free. They acknowledge other dog's claims to other territories and a Canaan dog is like a different dog once outside his own yard. A guarding Canaan Dog a tendency to bark.

 A Canaan Dog loves his family and friends above all, they are content to stay near you and be petted. They accommodate themselves to the lifestyle of their family; they like exercise, but will not demand to go for a walk in any kind of weather. They rarely destroy anything at home, even as puppies; they are easy to train. A Canaan Dog will never be your slave but you get a very equal and trustworthy friend.

 A Canaan Dog will stand his ground, sometimes it is misinterpreted as aggressiveness. They do well in their own pack as long as they know their places and fights are discouraged by you. On the other hand, as those fights are usually violent and not predictable, some owners keep their Canaan Dogs in different kennels. A male and a female usually get along well, although there has been fight among them in wild packs. A male is often very ” macho ” and does not like other males. A Canaan Dog is strong, and you should leave him to no doubt as to who is the boss.

Note: This text is written on the ground of Finnish experiences, it may not apply to other countries.



The FCI standard ( Revised 1985 )

General appearance: A medium sized, well balanced, strong and square dog resembling the wild dog type. Strong distinction between the sexes.

Weight and size: Height 50 – 60 cm ( 20-24 in. ), males generally considerably larger than females. Weight 18 – 25 kg ( 40-55 lbs. ).

Head: Well proportioned, blunt wedge shape of medium length, appearing broader due to low set ears. Skull somewhat flattened. Some width allowed in powerful male heads. Stop shallow but defined. Muzzle sturdy, of moderate length and breadth. Jaws should be strong. Lips tight. Nose black.

Ears: Erect, relatively short and broad, slightly rounded at the tip and set low.

Eyes: Dark brown, slightly slanted, almond shaped. Dark rims essential.

Mouth: Full dentition with scissors or pliers bite.

Neck: Muscular, of medium length.

Body: Square, withers well developed, back level, loins muscular, chest deep and moderate breath, ribs well sprung. Belly well tucked up. Moderate angulations. Balance is essential.

Forequarters: Powerful, well bent stifles. Hocks well let down. Strong buttocks, lightly feathered.

Feet: Strong, round and catlike with hard pads.

Tail: Set high, thick brush carried over the back.

Coat: Outer coat dense, harsh and straight, of short to medium length. Undercoat close and profuse.

Colour: Sand to red-brown, white, black, or spotted, with or without mask. If masked, mask must be symmetrical. Black mask permitted on all colours. White markings are permitted on all colours; ”Boston terrier” patterns are common. Grey, brindle, black-and-tan, or tricolour are unacceptable. Desert colours – sand, gold, red, cream – are most typical of the breed.

Gait: Quick, light and energetic trot. Should demonstrate marked agility and stamina. Correct movement is essential.

Character: Alert, quick to react, distrustful of strangers, strongly defensive but not naturally aggressive. Vigilant not only against man but other animals as well. Extraordinarily devoted and amenable to training.

Faults: All deviations from standard of the breed. All faults in body structure which constitute a deviation from the norm of a well built dog; anything that would detract from his potential for survival as a desert animal.

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.