Dog Breeds 101: Canaan Dog

Dog Breeds 101 – Canaan Dog
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The Canaan Dog has been in existence in the Middle East for thousands of years and it is recognized as the national dog breed of Israel. This dog is medium-sized and has a wedged-shaped head. Its ears are erect and set low with a broad base and rounded tips. The dense coat is short-to-medium in length which comes in a lot of colors usually with small white markings. [1]

According to the Bible from the book of Exodus, Canaan (ancient Palestine and Phoenicia) is a spacious land flowing with milk and honey. Sheep, goats and other livestock prospered there and they were herded by the Kelef Kanani (Canaan Dog). Tomb drawings from 2200 to 2000 BCE in Egypt depict dogs with smooth coats, pricked ears and bushy tails – much like how the modern Canaan Dog looks like today. For centuries, the dogs lived an unfettered life in the desert until 1935, when a brewing world war forced them back into the human community. [2]


World War II was brewing and at the same time, an independent Jewish state was being established. Palestinians needed guard dogs to work, guard and patrol for them despite harsh desert conditions. A professor from the University of Tel Aviv named Dr. Rudolphina Menzel was asked to develop a dog that would meet those needs. She acquired several desert dogs and began to breed them while recording and improving their bloodlines. By 1948, she was able to create 150 of them. The breed was recognized by the United Kennel Clun in 1992 and by the American Kennel Club in 1997. [2]

The Canaan dog is an effective watchdog due to its alert nature given its history. This natural guardian may bark a lot and become protective of its family. The Canaan is an intelligent dog which performs its tasks obediently and always willing to please its humans. [3]

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