Canaan Dog Traits
Some of our Canaan crew on the ranch at work as stockdogs on cattle
To learn about the traits of the Canaan Dog that we have come to understand and preserve throughout the years, we thought it might be best to share what their traits have become to mean to us through the knowledge of their founders, the Menzels. With the Menzel's efforts they were protected from extinction and utilized in Israel as the first breed ever to be used to detect land mines and work as Red Cross messengers to locate the wounded and dead. Bedouins still use them today to guard, herd and manage their sheep and cattle. Without the Menzels we would not have this breed today whom we cherish and utilize as working companions in our lives - a great breed with so much to offer. The founders saw in the Canaan what we continue to see and want to preserve - a healthy, intelligent, and sociable breed that with the right temperament and training can be a loyal companion and service man in a working capacity.
The ancient Israelites were said to have used the Canaan Dog as their guard and herd dog. The
Canaan Dog, also known as Kelev K’naani, is a dog of the wild that has evolved through natural selection. Only the strongest, most fit, and most intelligent would
have survived the hot, barren wilderness that is the Israeli desert.
An inquisitive dog with strangers, they are loyal and loving with their family. His medium-size, square body is without extremes, showing a lean, sharp outline. The Canaan Dog moves with athletic agility and grace. Their trot can be described as “covers more ground than expected”. He has a blunt wedge-shaped head, more long than wide, with low-set erect ears, a tail that curls over the back when excited, and a harsh, straight, flat coat. His undercoat depends upon the season.
Asherah "Ash" beautiful head study
The Canaan Dog is gentle, devoted and docile, but also lively and alert. He is an exceptional watchdog. They will alert their owners when they see an intruder approaching. They rarely attempt to injure a possible assailant; however, Canaan Dogs are known to “circle” an intruder to keep them from escaping until their pack leader takes over the situation. They are also uniquely vocal, capable of “speaking” their minds in addition to the usual warning bark. But they only bark as is necessary.
The Canaan Dog, even though they were not bred for a specific task, can make use of their exceptionally well developed
senses. They have balanced drives, thus making them quite versatile. They are aware of their surroundings, but can be trained to first alert their
owners, and then give way to them. As with many working dogs, their instincts can be harnessed with proper training.
Like all breeds, the Canaan Dog should be well socialized when young with both dogs and people. The Menzels noted that the Canaan seems to be exceptional with children...they are aware that they are smaller and treat them gently. They bond very well to their pack members, but need to understand the “pack order” early, or they will try to lead. Socialization in a wide variety of situations with a wide variety of people and dogs will only make them more comfortable, and by extension, a more enjoyable companion.
This breed can do exceptionally well in performance sports when properly trained. They are very intelligent and independent. Positive, motivational training works best. Today, Canaans have successfully trained and competed in agility, tracking, herding, rally-obedience, formal obedience, and some work as Stockdogs, Therapy and Service dogs.
The Canaan Dog is an extremely intelligent breed who needs to be mentally challenged. Tracking is one sport where they can put their natural instincts to work and further strenghten the bond between you and your Canaan companion. To learn more about Tracking CLICK HERE
The first Canaan Dogs in North America arrived in California in 1965. The first Canaans in Canada arrived in 1970. It was not until the fall of 1971 that Suzan Horovitch founded the first Canaan Dog kennel in Canada at her Southalta Kennel in Barnwell, Alberta. Representation of the breed increased with Terry Bagley and Terramara Kennels in Cold Lake, Alberta (both these breeders have since retired from breeding).
The Canaan Dog can be a wonderful loyal companion for those who understand and appreciate a "natural dog" who comes equipped with independence and a strong will for self-preservation. They can be strong-willed and definitely need an alpha leader as an owner who will be in charge, or they will gladly take over that position:-) They love being included in daily activites and make great hiking companions for those that love the outdoors.