Skip to content

Canaan Dog

A Middle East native and the national breed of Israel

The Canaan Dog is an ancient breed resembling the wild dog type which has survived in Israel through at least 4000 years of history. Canaan Dogs are pariah dogs which live on the fringes of civilisation and are frequently used by the Bedouin as flock and camp guardians. In 1934, Dr. Rudolf and Prof. Rudolphina Menzel immigrated to Israel, then known as Palestine. They undertook the study of pariah dogs and the Canaan Dog in particular, becoming the driving force behind its preservation. Prof. Menzel bred and trained Canaan Dogs, primarily for military work. In 1965, Prof. Menzel exported four Canaan Dogs to the United States where they became the foundation stock for American and Canadian Canaan Dogs. Today this dog is still seen guarding for the Bedouin tribes and also the Israeli army used them for guard and patrol work.

Canaan dogs are one of the few ‘natural’ breeds in existence today. They have become domesticated over the years but still possess extremely strong survival instincts, which can make them independent and wary. They are territorial, but not aggressive to people, and protective of their family, both adults and children. Wonderfully sensitive, affectionate, and responsive, Canaan Dogs make devoted family companions. They are highly intelligent and readily trained. Although the dogs are adaptable to most climates and living situations, their natural drive for self-preservation and a well-developed sense of territory make them mistrustful of strange people, strange dogs, and new environments; early socialisation and puppy training classes are a must. The Canaan dog will respond well to positive, motivational training, however they can become bored should the training become repetitive. Daily mental and physical activity is required for this breed as the dog will get bored without enough stimulation. Activities that dogs of this breed enjoy include jogging, hiking, herding exercises, games and training sessions.

Read more about the history of this breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the The Kennel Club UK. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKUtility
Bred ForGuarding, Herding
Rare BreedYes
Country of OriginIsrael
TemperamentAlert, Intelligent, Confident
Exercise NeededUp to 1 hour a day
Size of Home NeededMedium
Height at Withers – Females50 – 60 cm / 20 – 24 in
Height at Withers – Males50 – 60 cm / 20 – 24 in
GroomingOnce a week
CoatShort, Double Coat
ColourVarious – see photos
Life Span12 – 15 years
  • They have been used to locate landmines by scent, as well as in tracking, herding, guarding, search and rescue, and some have also been used as therapy dogs.
  • When the Israeli population decreased 2,000 years ago because of the Romans, the number of Canaan Dogs decreased as well. The dogs survived in the Negev desert with other wildlife.
  • Canaan Dogs served as messengers, helpers, sentry dogs and land mine detectors. They were called to service again during World War II.
  • The Canaan Dog can come in a large range of coat colours. They can be white, black, brown, red, liver and sandy. They can be a solid color, predominantly white with a mask and sometimes additional large patches of color, or even with white trim on the chest, belly, feet, lower part of the legs, and tail tip.
  • The Canaan Dog breed is also commonly known by the names Kelef K’naani, Chien de Canaan.


Breed standard varies throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Canaan Dogs.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Canaan Dogs, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Canaan Dog breed. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site and as many websites dedicated to a specific breed are run by breeders, sometimes there’s fewer sites listed here.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: