The Canaan Dog
TELL ME A BIT ABOUT THE CANAAN DOG
The Canaan Dog is one of the few natural breeds left in the world with wild Canaans still to be found in the Middle East, primarily around Israel. They are a "pariah dog", that is a domesticated breed that has reverted to the wild (though some debate that a pariah is a wild dog that has become domesticated) and a member of the Spitz dog family. Canaans are becoming an endangered species in the wild. Additionally there are only just over 3000-3500 domesticated Canaans in the world. Because even the domesticated Canaan Dog is still just a few generations from the wild, it still possesses very strong survival instincts, which make it an intelligent, independent and wary breed.
WHAT WERE CANAANS BRED FOR?
Bedouins use them as flock and camp guardians. The Israeli army uses them as sentry dogs, tracking dogs and for detecting landmines. And they are also used as home guardians and companions. Though its character and abilities makes the Canaan a versatile breed, the fact is it was designed by nature for survival. Man has been able to make good use of these survival instincts in the aforementioned ways.
DO CANAAN DOGS MAKE GOOD FAMILY DOGS?
That can be answered with an unequivocal YES! The Canaan Dog is extraordinarily loyal to its family. This trait can make it very difficult to re-home as an adult as it will often pine after its former owner(s), sometimes not eating for quite a while. It can take up to a year for an adult Canaan Dog to completely adjust to a new home and form a strong bond with its new owner.
Canaan Dogs are very good with and protective of children and show great tolerance with little ones. They are sweet and loving with their family and physically demonstrative - -often pawing you or pushing your hand with their nose in order to get you to stroke them. However, if yours is a busy household with people often coming and going, early socialisation of your Canaan is critical if you want your dog to be somewhat outgoing with your visitors.
ARE CANAAN DOGS EASY TO TRAIN?
Canaan Dogs are very intelligent and learn quickly and easily. Because of their innate cleanliness, housebreaking is seldom a problem. But because they learn so quickly they quickly bore with repetitive commands in formal obedience training. You must motivate them by challenging them with new tricks and varying routines. If you and your Canaan are well bonded and you use training methods tailored to your dog's personality they can be very successfully trained for obedience and agility. In the U.S. several have also been certified for therapy dog work and a number have passed tracking trials.
DO CANAAN DOGS MAKE GOOD WATCHDOGS?
DO I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT AGGRESSION WITH THEM?
Because of their alertness and keen sense of hearing Canaan Dogs make wonderful watchdogs. However, they are not an attack dog by nature. A Canaan Dog would have to feel that they, or their family, are seriously threatened in order for it to attack. They tend to bark a warning, look fierce and dance just out of reach of the would-be threat, which is usually enough to drive the threat away. The Canaan can be aggressive with dogs and other animals that dare trespass on their property. Same-sex dog aggression is not uncommon in the breed. But so saying, I have Canaans of the same sex who do live in harmony with each other. They can also be quite good with other animals, such as cats, when they are raised with them. Observation, knowing your own dog and common- sense are the rules in judging how the individual dog will get along with other animals.
IS THE CANAAN DOG A HEALTHY BREED?
Due to natural selection and because the breeders in Israel still introduce wild-born Canaans into the genepool whenever possible, the Canaan Dog has remained a healthy breed, relatively free of debilitating genetic defects. That is not to say that your Canaan will never get ill, but the breed has no predisposition to any health problems which riddle most pure-bred dogs. They are generally a very long-lived breed with 15 years being a reasonable life expectancy.
DO CANAAN DOGS NEED A LOT OF EXERCISE?
HOW ACTIVE ARE THEY IN THE HOUSE?
Canaan Dogs are very adaptable creatures (a survival trait) but at least one good run a day is suggested to help keep them in top form both physically and mentally. Canaan Dogs are very athletic and agile and love a good run and will take as much exercise as you care to give them. However if necessary they can make do with a couple of good walks combined with a nice romp in an average-sized, but well-fenced garden. Surprisingly in the house they will usually curl up quietly and will happily be couch potatoes if you allow it.
DO CANAAN DOGS REQUIRE MUCH GROOMING?
As with any breed, the more frequently The Canaan Dog is brushed, the cleaner and nicer the coat will look. However you can easily get away with just a weekly brush. Males tend to moult their thick undercoats annually (more often in central heating) and unspayed females moult each time they are in heat. Other than during their moult, Canaans do not shed excessively. Bathing should be done whenever you feel the dog needs it, but isn't often required. Like a cat, Canaan Dogs will groom themselves and will often groom each other if there is more than one in a household.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO FEED A CANAAN DOG?
The breeder from whom you obtain your Canaan Dog will, undoubtedly, give you a diet sheet recommending whatever feeding program they themselves use. However, in our experience a natural diet is the best way to go for any dog, but for primitive breeds such as the Canaan in particular. However, it can be difficult to source good quality, safe meat and to balance the diet properly. There are a number of good books on the subject, such as Ian Billinghurst's "Give Your Dog A Bone" and "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide To Natural Health for Dogs and Cats" by R & S Pitcairn. There are also some excellent websites -- such as www.naturalrearing.com -- well worth looking at.
The Canaan Dog is a healthy and adaptable dog, who needs an owner with a firm but loving hand. They are an excellent family dog, easily trained, but also easily bored with repetitive commands. They need moderate exercise, are territorial and defensive of this territory. Canaans are very clean dogs with frugal eating habits and their grooming needs are minimal. Though wary and somewhat aloof with strangers, Canaan Dogs are very loving with the family and really enjoy being stroked and cuddled
. Does the Canaan Dog sound like the breed you've been searching for? For more information on the breed, or for an application to join The Canaan Dog Club and receive its informative newsletter, THE CANAAN DOG NEWS, please refer to the Table of Contents and Links, or contact: Mrs Ellen Minto, Secretary, The Canaan Dog Club, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org