What is a Canaan Dog?

What is a Canaan Dog?

Life As A Pet Parent

There are some lovely dogs native to the Middle East with the Canaan dog being just one of them. Originally, these highly intelligent dogs were used to herd and guard flocks, but today they have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people around the world and for good reason. The Canaan is loyal and courageous canine companion that's a real pleasure to share your home with, that is if you can find one.

An Ultra Rare Breed

These handsome dogs are extremely rare which means if you set your heart on sharing your home with a Canaan Dog, you might have to go on a waiting list. The reason being there are very few breeders here in the UK and indeed the world. However, the wait would be very worthwhile because these dogs have a lot to boast about both in looks and personality, they make wonderful family pets and they are loyal companions.

A Little Background History

Native to Israel, the Canaan is what is known as a Pariah Dog and in truth, nobody really knows how the breed came about. Some people believe they were originally a domesticated dog that at some point in time turned feral whereas other people think they could be a unique breed all of their own and not related to the wolf or other domestic breeds at all. However, neither of these can be proved or disproved. With this said, there is a firm belief the breed is one of the more ancient ones on the planet.

Lovely Looking and Nice Natured Character

The Canaan is a handsome looking dog and they boast kind natures. They are quite unique and although they tend to be quite wary around people they don't know, they are incredibly loyal to the people they love. They are also very easy to train because they are always eager to please and as previously mentioned, they are highly intelligent. With this said, they are not the best choice for first-time dog owners because a Canaan needs to be handled and trained gently yet firmly so they understand who is the alpha dog in a household.

Plenty of Exercise and Mental Stimulation

If there is one thing the Canaan is not, it's a couch potato. They need to be kept busy both mentally and physically to be truly happy, well-balanced dogs. Puppies like all other breeds, need to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, relaxed mature dogs. Although it's worth bearing in mind they will always take their time to warm up to strangers or other unfamiliar dogs they might encounter.

A Healthy, Robust Breed

As with almost all pure breeds, the Canaan although a healthy and robust dog is known to suffer from a few health issues with the good news being none appear to be hereditary conditions. Careful breeding has ensured this has remained the case and continues to do so because breeders systematically test their breeding dogs for health disorders which are commonly seen in other pedigree dogs and which are known to be hereditary conditions. Breeders routinely have their Canaan Dogs DNA tested for the following conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patella Luxation
  • PRA

Reputable breeders would never use a dog that's known to suffer from any of the above in a breeding programme and would have them spayed or neutered for this reason. Canaan Dogs can be hip scored when they are a year old to establish whether they can be used in a breeding programme or not and when it comes to Patella Luxation, although there are no Kennel Club tests for the condition, a vet would be able to establish whether a dog has the condition and would do so when puppies are as young as eight weeks old before they leave their mother and litter mates to be rehomed.

A Canaan Dog can be DNA tested for PRA at any age and there is a Kennel Club test available. With this said, most breeders wait until a dog is around 3 years old to have them tested which is when the results would be more reliable.


The Canaan Dog is one of the rarest breeds on the planet and boasts being among the most ancient with some people they predate biblical times. They are handsome dogs that boats very kind and loyal natures although they are often wary around strangers. If you are hoping to share your home with a Canaan, you might find that it's not that easy to find one because only very few litters are bred here in the UK which in short, means you would more than likely have to agree to be put on a waiting list. With this said, the wait would be well worth it because the Canaan Dog is a wonderful choice as a family pet or companion dog.



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