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The Canaan Dog

Posted November 05, 2013 in Dog Breeds


The Canaan Dog arose in ancient Canaan which roughly corresponds to the region surrounding modern-day Israel, Palestinian, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan. This breed dates back to biblical times making it one of the oldest dog breeds. In Sidon, Lebanon; a sarcophagus dating back to the 4th century BC is adorned with a painting of Alexander the Great and the King of Sidon hunting a lion alongside a Canaan Dog.

In the 1930s, a doctor named Rudolphina Menzel came up with the idea of using the Canaan Dog as a guard dog for Jewish settlements. Four years later Menzel began a breeding program which provided guard dogs to the military and to individual homes.

Canaan Dogs were imported to the United States in 1965 and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1997.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 35 to 55 lbs.
  • Height: 19 to 24 inches
  • Coat: Double coat; outer coat is dense, harsh and straight at a short to medium length and the undercoat is close and thick.
  • Color: Ranges from black to cream and all shades of brown and red, usually with small white markings
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

What’s the Canaan Dog like?

The Canaan Dog is highly adaptable, affectionate, and trainable. He will be happy in an apartment in the city with short walks to use his energy, but just as happy in the suburbs and countryside. He is very loyal to his family which makes him a natural watch dog. He isn’t aggressive towards children in the family but may get a little protective when one child is playing with another and they get too loud. The same goes for strangers, but this can be helped with early training.

Training should begin immediately and luckily this breed is easily trainable. For Canaans early socialization is also vital to get them used to other animals and people. They’re an independent breed so keep the training sessions short and sweet but also interesting because they tend to get bored doing the same things over and over.

Although the Canaan has a double coat he is extremely easy to groom. Very little brushing is required. It’s recommended to go over his coat with a rubber brush once a week to remove dead hair.


The Canaan Dog is typically a healthy breed, but watch for any of the following:

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Tori has more than 2 years of experience in the pet health industry and is junior editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.