It is believed that the Canaan Dog is extremely old and ancient breed and there are even thousands years old drawing in tombs depicting dogs similar to Canaan dog. There are also excavations in Israel, which found Ashkelon dog cementery, containing more than 700 dog skeletons all of which were anatomically similar to the Canaan dog of modern times. So as you can see, this breed is truly very old and it is impossible to track down their exact date of origin, nor their ancestry.
2) Wild dogs
It is believed, that for thousands of years Canaan dogs were companion dogs and that they were used for guarding the herds and property. That changed around year 70, when Romans destroyed Jerusalem and they dispersed Israelites to other areas. Often times, Israelites were not able to také their dogs with them and they left them behind. Most of the Canaan dogs find a safe refuge in the Negev Desert, where they survived for centuries as wild dogs.
These dogs were domesticated again in the 20th century, when cynologist Dr. Rudolphina Menzel who captured, tamed, trained and than bred few of the semi wild Canaan Dogs. She found out that these dogs are very intelligent, adaptable, versatile and capable of many different tasks and jobs. The breeding program started in 1934.
First Canaan dogs domesticated in 20th century were used as army dogs for Israeli Army and as sentry and guard dogs for isolated Jewish settlements. Later, these dogs were also used as service dogs, guard dogs, messengers, they were detecting landmines and some of them were even guide dogs for blind people. And of course, especially today, they make amazing companion dogs.
And they make good companions. The Canaan dog is totally devoted to its owner and family and very intelligent. They can be little bit reserved and alert with strangers, but they should never be agressive without a reason. They also tend to be okay with other dogs in the family, especially if they are raised together from the puppyhood. This is very adaptable dog and with enough exercise, they can live indoors or outdoors, but they need daily companionship.
There can be some differences in the appearance of indivudual Canaan dog and even Rudolphina Menzel classified these canines into four types, which you can see on screen right now. Some Canaan dogs are wider, while other dogs are skinnier and even the length of the fur can be different. But all the Canaan dogs should have a strong build, long legs, erect ears, bushy tail and dark colored eyes. I would say that they look like wild dogs, but their appearance is stunning.
The size of Canaan dog also vary quite a bit, but on average, the height should be between 45-60 cm, which is 18-24 inch and weight is typically between 18-25 kg, which is 40-55 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
The Canaan dogs coat is very thick and quite harsh to touch, but they also have soft inner coat. As i already mentioned, the length of the coat can be different and some dogs have very short coat, while others can have fur 2 inches long. Most often, you can find this breed in cream color, but the color ranges from black to cream and all shades of brown and red between, usually with small white markings
Great fact is, that the Canaan dog is very clean dog and they can keep themselves very clean. Even without any grooming, they will keep their coat in good condition. This is a doublecoated dog, so yes, they do shed and if you want to minimize the shedding, regular brushing is needed. Just like with all dogs you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
This is very hardy and usually healthy dog breed that does not suffer much from any health issues. Of course, they still can suffer from some issues ocassionally and those include hip and elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy and epilepsy. The average lifespan is between 12-15 years.