Canaan Dog

Canaan Dog


Group: Working Dog Group

Origin: Israel


    – Males: 20 to 24 inches
    – Females: 19 to 23 inches.


    – Males: 45 to 55 lbs
    – Females: 35 to 45 lbs.

Also Known As: Kelev K’naani

Canaan Dog
JK Maccabee Northern Warrior
Photo courtesy: Canaan Club of Ontario

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Breed Profile

The Canaan Dog, also known as Kelev K’naani, is descended from ancient Pariah Dog stock and was developed as a breed in the 1930s in Israel, by Drs. Rudolph and Rudolphina Menzel. The Israelis have used the Canaan Dog for guard duties, as mine detectors during war times, as messengers, as guide dogs for the blind, and as Red Cross helpers. The Canaan Dog possesses extremely keen senses of hearing and smell, and he can detect approaching intruders from a considerable distance, becoming instantly alert. He is an intelligent, trainable breed with excellent tracking ability.

The Canaan is extraordinarily loyal and devoted to his family. He is extremely vigilant and alert with strong defensive instincts but he is not naturally aggressive. While he enjoys affection, he is also independent and enjoys time on his own. He is excellent with children when raised with them and very gentle, always showing great tolerance. He is also very protective of children, often alerting parents if a baby is crying or a child is in need for example.

A unique and versatile breed, the Canaan Dog participates in several dog sports and activities, including: conformation, obedience, agility, tracking, and herding.

He is medium-sized, strong and square in appearance. He has a wedge-shaped head with low-set erect ears, and a bushy tail that curls over the back when excited or alert. His coat is straight, harsh, and dense of short to medium length. He moves with athletic agility and grace in a quick, brisk, ground-covering trot.

In Canada, the Canaan Dog was recognized under the Working Dog group in 1993. In the U.S., the American Kennel Club placed the breed in the Herding Group in 1997; and the United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1992 first under the Herding Group and then, in 1998, moved the breed to the new Sighthound & Pariah Dog Group.

There are two main types of Canaan Dogs:

  • The terms used for the first type are: The “American Type”, “Old Type”, “Dugma Type” or “Classic Type”
  • The second type is sometimes referred to as the “Israeli Type” or “Laish Type.”


Health Issues

The Canaan Dog breed is generally healthy with an average lifespan of about 14 years. If you are considering the adoption of a Canaan Dog puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

For the Canaan Dog, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screenings for:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis

Additional Health Resources:

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
Canaan Dog
JK Maccabee Northern Warrior at 7 months
Photo courtesy: Canaan Club of Ontario

Training Resources

Due to his protective nature and his reservation toward strangers, it is very important to socialize the Canaan Dog puppy, both with people and other dogs. Puppy kindergarten and socialization classes along with basic obedience classes are strongly recommended at an early age.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Canaan Dogs FAQs — From the Canaan Rescue Network
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.


*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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