It should be emphasised that a Canaan Dog should look like it has potential for survival in the desert. It is a medium-sized, well-balanced, square dog of the pariah dog type. The dog should not be exaggerated in any way. There should be a strong distinction between the sexes, with males looking masculine and bitches looking feminine.
Alert, agile, quick to react, highly intelligent and amenable to training, but its survival instinct should remain its strongest drive.
Wary of strangers. Highly territorial. Always vigilant. Affectionate and extraordinarily devoted to its family.
Head and Skull
Skull well proportioned, wedge shaped of medium length, appearing broader due to low set ears. Skull somewhat flattened between ears, with some width allowed in powerful male heads. Stop shallow but defined. Length from muzzle to stop approximately equal to length from stop to occiput. Muzzle is sturdy, of moderate length and breadth. Jaws should be strong, lips tight and darkly pigmented. Nose ideally black; but a “snow nose” is acceptable according to season.
Dark brown, almond shaped and obliquely set, with black rims.
Medium sized, erect, manoeuvrable and set low with broad base, slightly rounded at the tip. Tipped ears not to be penalised in dogs up to 12 months of age.
Full dentition, with scissors or level bite equally acceptable.
Muscular, of medium length without throatiness. Should give a well-balanced, elegant appearance to the dog.
Well laid muscular shoulder, elbows close to body. Medium boned. When viewed from the front forelegs straight. Pasterns slightly sloping.
Square, and strong, but not bulky, displaying athletic build and agility. Withers well developed, back level, loins muscular, chest moderately broad and deep, extending to the elbows. Ribs well sprung. Belly well tucked up. Moderate angulation. Balance is essential.
Powerful, broad muscular thighs. Second thigh well developed. Hocks well let down. Legs straight when viewed from behind. Strong buttocks, lightly feathered.
Strong, round and cat like with hard pads and strong, hard nails of any colour.
Set high, with a thick brush, carried curled over back when at attention. When carried up, the tail should not curl to either side of body, or lie flat against its back. Flexible, used for balance when on the move.
Effortless, natural, ground-eating trot. Should demonstrate marked agility and stamina with no wasted motion. Correct movement is essential.
Outer coat dense, harsh and straight of short to medium length, with manes desirable in males. Undercoat close and profuse according to season.
The coat can be either solid in shades of white, sand to red-brown, or black; or it can be white with patches of any of the aforementioned colours. Both solid and patched dogs can be with or without a mask. If masked, the mask should be symmetrical and cover both eyes. A black mask is permitted on all colours. White markings are permitted on all colours. Brindle is not permitted.
Height 50-60 cms (20-24 ins). Weight 18-25 kgs (40-55 lbs). Dog should be athletic in build and weight should be proportionate to height. Due to slow maturation in the breed, young dogs up to 2+ years of age may typically appear somewhat rangy.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault, as well as anything that would detract from the dog's potential for survival as a desert animal. The seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.