The Canaan Dog
Kalev Knaani

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Canaan Dog
'Kalev Knaani' 'Kelev Cana’ ani
Weight Male: 45 — 55 lbs
Weight Female: 35 — 45 lbs
Height Male: 20” — 24”
Height Female: 19” — 23”
AKC Rank 2008: #148
Lifespan: 11—13 yrs

Dog Breed Info -- The Canaan Dog

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Breed Overview

Origin: Israel, Herding Group, Ancient times. Original function Guarding, messenger. Today: Herding trials.

It is believed this breed originally came from the land of Canaan in the Middle East. They were know as Kelev K’aanai which means “Dog of Canaan.” When the Romans ran the Israelites from their homeland 2000 years ago, most of the Israelite dogs were left to survive on their own. Many of these dogs lived wild in the Negev desert and some went with the Bedouins and served as guard and livestock dogs. The Israeli defense force wanted to develop service dogs in the 1930’s, they found the traditional European dogs weren't able to cope with the harsh climate. The Canaan owes it’s existence to a woman named Dr. Rudolphina Menzel. She found a more suitable dog among the feral dogs such as the Canaan. Some of these dogs were put into a training program and breeding was underway. The dogs served as messengers, sentry, mine detectors, red cross helpers and search and rescue of wounded soldiers during WWII. They served as guide dogs for the blind after the war. Canaan’s arrived in America during 1965. The AKC registered the breed into the herding group in 1997.

The Canaan is a handsome canine
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The Canaan is capable of doing well with obedience and agility when done with a positive leader and short, interesting sessions. They respond to clicker training with positive reinforcement. Ke4ep the training varied and fun and always with a “pack leader” attitude. Not harsh, but dominant.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Canaan puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Canaan Dog is smart and easy house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Canaan must be heavily socialized as a young puppy starting around 4 or 5 weeks and continuing all though life. He tends to be aggressive if not dominated by an alpha “pack leader” master..

This is an excellent watch dog and protector of family and property. The dog has an unusually good sense of smell and hearing. They are very alert and are proven superb guardians of sheep and cattle. It tends to bond with one family or one person and guard against everything else. He is aloof with most strangers and can be aggressive toward strange dogs, making him unsuitable fore apartment life. The Canaan excels at herding and as such, needs a lot of exercise every day. Given exercise, the Canaan is a wonderful house pet and family dog. He should be raised with children and is only somewhat playful and moderately affectionate, but still a devoted and loyal pet and protector of family. The Canaan needs daily activities and mental stimulation so should be kept busy at some chore or activity including jogging, herding and training sessions. This dog like to bark. Good companion for the active, outdoors person. This is NOT a dog for the first time pet owner due to it’s aggressive, guardian nature.

If you happen to get a Canaan Dog with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Aggressive toward strange dogs and will pick and choose his dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Fair. Introduce other house dogs on common ground with a “dog walk” and introduce cats gradually, an hour a day for a few days while supervising.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Remains aloof and wary of strangers as any guard dog would. Might become aggressive if he feels his “master” is being threatened by a stranger.


Moderately playful. The dog will bond strongly with one person which can affect his desire to play with others.


Moderate. Same as above under “playfulness.”

Good with children

Early socialization for this dog is very important and it’s a good idea for the dog to be raised with children as a puppy. The Canaan Dog may not be as playful as some kids would like.

A well-socialized Canaan does pretty well with kids, especially older, well-mannered ones, 6 or 7 and up. Very small children need supervision, as the Canaan Dog has no tolerance for noisy, silly, rambunctious poking, pulling and pushing.

He might try to “herd” the kids when running and playing.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Possibly. The Canaan tends to bond with one person and is not overly affectionate. He’s a good pet for the person he bonds with so it might work for A senior but he does need several long walks daily.

Living environment

House with a medium to large fenced yard, farm or ranch. Needs room to run and explore and play games of fetch or chase a Frisbee.

Apartment is okay as long as the dog gets pout for long walks, maybe some jogging and some play time but the house and yard are preferred.


Energy level

Moderate energy. Rate this about 5 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate to high. A good jogging partner, take along when bicycling or hiking. Play games of fetch. Two long walks a day will help. The Canaan Dog needs a “job” to do and if you have a cow, let him herd it. This guy can not just “sit around.”


Excellent. Good sense of smell and hearing and likes to bark anyway.

Guard dog

Excellent guard dog. Not bog enough to kill the intruder, but sure can scare them.


Heavy shedding in season.


Brush the coat weekly to remove dead hair and oftener when shedding.



SuggestedReading - The Canaan Dog

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It’s a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.


Canaan Dog Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Canaan Dog puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Canaan Dog Breeders with puppies for sale.
This is a rare breed. You may want to search online for Canaan Dog Breeders, puppies or clubs for leads in your area.

Health Issues For The Canaan Dog

This is basically a healthy breed. These are medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.


  • This is apparently a very healthy animal. To date, there are NO health problems reported for the Canaan Dog. This does not mean the dog never has health problems. It just means this breed may be highly under-reported by veterinarians.


Other health problems could occur with your Canaan Dog. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide

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