General Characteristics

The Canaan Dog is an ancient breed resembling the wild dog type which has survived in Israel through at least 4,000 years of history. Canaan Dogs are pariah dogs which live on the fringes of civilization and are frequently used by the Bedouin as flock and camp guardians. In 1934, Dr. Rudolf and Prof. Rudolphina Menzel immigrated to Israel, then known as Palestine. They undertook the study of pariah dogs and the Canaan Dog in particular, becoming the driving force behind its preservation. Prof. Menzel bred and trained Canaan Dogs, primarily for military work. In 1965, Prof. Menzel exported four Canaan Dogs to the United States where they became the foundation stock for American and Canadian Canaan Dogs. The Canaan Dog was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1992.
The Canaan Dog is a medium-sized, well-balanced, strong and square dog, with a wedge-shaped head; erect, low-set ears; and straight, harsh, dense coat of short-to-medium length. The correct relationship of height to length of body is 1:1. The tail is bushy, set on high, and is carried curled over the back when the dog is alert or excited. This breed is presented in a completely natural condition with no trimming. Moderation and balance must always be considered when evaluating this breed.
The essential characteristics of the Canaan Dog are those which have enabled them to survive for centuries in the desert. The Canaan Dog gives the impression of elegance, but is sufficiently substantial to stand up to jackals, hyenas, and wolves. They are intelligent and adaptable to wide extremes of lifestyle and climate. This breed matures slowly both physically and mentally and individual dogs may not reach their prime until as late as four years of age.

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

The Canaan Dog is a herding and flock guardian dog native to the Middle East. He is aloof with strangers, inquisitive, loyal and loving with his family. His medium-size, square body is without extremes, showing a clear, sharp outline. The Canaan Dog moves with athletic agility and grace in a quick, brisk, ground-covering trot. He has a wedge-shaped head with low-set erect ears, a bushy tail that curls over the back when excited, and a straight, harsh, flat-lying double coat.

Wild pariah dog

This is a wild Canaan Dog photographed by Yigal Pardo. Photo used with his permission.

A well-camouflaged wild Canaan Dog


© 2003 Israel Canaan Dog Club of America, Inc.