Species group: Herding Group dogs
Other name(s): Kelev K'naani
The Canaan Dog is a primitive breed developed in 20th century Israel for work as a service animal performing important tasks including seeing-eye dog, mine detection, patroling and guarding, and search and rescue. According to the Israel Canaan Dog Club of America, its usefulness came to the forefront in the 1930s when isolated Hebrew settlements found that many breeds traditionally used for these tasks couldn't tolerate the climate. However, the local pariah (semi-wild or feral) dogs represented a true native breed that turned out to be unusually adaptable to domestication. It has since become recognized worldwide.
An interesting characteristic of this dog is that it can be a good watchdog that sounds an alarm without becoming aggressive. If anything, you need to be able to socialize this primitive breed with positive reinforcement from an early age to prevent your pet from becoming timid or fearful. Like other highly-regarded breeds for service work, the Canaan Dog has a lot of mental and physical energy. If you neglect your pet, it could become a problem chewer and/or barker. Be ready to make this dog a part of the family that has something worthwhile to do, because it won't be happy left alone and forgotten in a back yard. And your neighbors won't be thrilled by the resulting noise.
Appearance / health:
Rudophina Menzel, the breed's original developer, described the Canaan dog's head as a "blunt wedge".
Canaan Dogs shed heavily in some seasons but a weekly brushing is sufficient to remove any dead hair.
They require moderate amounts of exercise. A jog, long walk, swim may be suitable for these dogs.
The Canaan Dog is a relatively healthy breed with very few health problems. Hip dysplasia occurs in rare instances. It is a condition marked by badly formed hips and can cause lameness.
Behavior / temperament:
The Canaan Dog is a lively, alert canine that is essentially odorless. He barks for a reason, and stops when he is assured that there is no danger, nor reason to sound the alarm. Their unusually acute sense of hearing and smell make them good and natural watchdogs. They stay close to home, and want 'their' animals to stay home too. Barn cats belong in the barn and house cats in the house. Intruders who dress or behave differently from their family are announced or chased away. Same with animals.
Careful breeding, training and socialization will make most Canaans able to move around their community as responsible "canine good citizens." They should understand how to play with other dogs in the dog park and at doggy day care centers. And they should be trainable both in competition and at home.
Not all Canaan Dogs are noisy. If kept alone for a long time, they may express their boredom by barking at any passerby. Their alertness levels are high, which may be the reason why some Canaan Dogs bark at every disturbance in the neighborhood. With proper training and socialization, they can be a calm and docile breed.
quiet dignity, active playful youngster, good watch dog, smart breed, Very sweet
intensive socializaton, passive dominance, nonsocialized puppies, wild streak, independent breed
agile Canaan Dog, short double coat
Living with a Canaan
I feel honoured and privileged to own and be loved by a Canaan Dog (Tiras). I don't beleive they give over their trust and respect to just anyone, it certainly has to be earned but when the relationship with your Canaan is developed it really is a special thing.
That said I definitely have a one Canaan rule! I have two other dogs of other breeds and am a firm believer in 'horses for courses'. Tiras is, as others have mentioned, the perfect house dog. he is sweet, kind, affectionate, loving , thoughtful and calm inside the house. He barks in a watchdog capacity but doesn't over do it. He loves to sit at the window and watch the world go by - as long as people keep on walking its fine with him, but if they loiter then he tells them in no uncertain terms that he is around!
He doesn't harrass me for walkies but when he goes out he will take as much or as little exercise as offered with grace. Now for the downside. These dogs are a natural breed and as such really haven't had much genetic distance from their wild cousins (still found in the wild in large numbers). Despite lots of socialisation and training in different disciplines he really still is a wild spirit, not a problem in itself but trying to fit into today's society it really does become a problem. He is wary of strangers (as the breed standard denotes) again not a bad thing in itself but can make the sudden appearance of joggers on his daily walk a very unpleasant event!!!! (particularly for the jogger!).
He becomes fearful of new incidences on his daily walk, he is fiercely territorial and gets very unhappy when a road cone for instance is placed where there was not a road cone the day before (in much the same manner as I understand horses would react). He freaks out at the site of push bikes, tricycles, motorbikes, shopping trolleys, cars with the engine idling, lorries being unloaded, carrier bags floating in the wind.....the list is endless but i think you get the picture. This is NOT a socialisation issue with my Canaan and my other breeds don't have the same issues. beleive me Tiras was socialised well as a puppy (everything from going to work with me, dog shows, ring craft, obedience puppy classes, etc etc)
I have trained him for showing - he still competes in the show ring but I can't say he enjoys it and is prone to hitting the deck in the ring when someone slams down their dog crate at ring side. He is very noise sensitive , oh and refuses to go if its windy!!!
His freaking out in public ranges from mild hysteria to full blown flight. He will either spin on the lead, chew the lead manically, jump up and grab hold of me with his paws around my waist, try to back up on the lead and get his back to something solid. or if given the chance he will run for the hills. Some have said this is due to me not being a stong enough pack leader but to be honest I don't see wild dogs running at the alpha when their scared - oh no! its every dog for himself and take to the hills!!! If you want a dog to take out off lead on long relaxing walks then a Canaan would not be my first choice!
I also train Tiras for agility and although he enjoys going to the same training club each week and performing - if at a slow and steady rate, he is not for competition. the first time we tried him off-territory was a disaster - to be fair to him there was a carnival and fair ground rides going on in the background! He ran into the tunnel, lied down, and refused to be moved! I now train one of my other breeds and have started competing with her (as I said, horses for courses).
That said, I would not swap him for the world. He has a more developed relationship with me than my other dogs. I truly beleive that his affection for me is based on trust and respect - whereas with my Bull Terrier its based on the fact that I have a pulse - she really would be happy with anyone as long as they fed her and played with her!!! If you spend a lot of time in the house and preferably have an acre or two to exercise your dog in then the Canaan would be a perfect choice, If I lived like that I would have ten of them!!! But I don't, I have to exercise my dog in public places (albeit we live in a small village in the countryside). I have recently started training him for Canicross (running cross-country strapped to your dog on a bungee) and have high hopes, although its early days yet! He seems happier on the move!
From agilityslayer Aug 25 2010 9:56AM
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