The Canaan Dog is a Pariah Dog of Israel. No one really knows the exact truth about his or her origins. Some say that he is an originally domesticated dog turned feral, while others believe they are in fact a separate species to the wolf and the domestic breeds of today.
Bedouins and Druse people have used, and indeed still use, Pariah Dogs of the Canaan Dog type as guard dogs for a very long time. However, they have never bred them, but merely take males from the free-living and semi-free litters.
This animal’s cost is made up of a straight, stiff hair of medium length (4-5cm or 1½-2 inches long) and a profuse, dense undercoat. The buttocks should be well feathered and the tail as bushy as possible. The texture of the guard hairs is harsh, while the undercoat is downy. The condition of the undercoat corresponds to the season. It is amazing how different a dog can look when wearing his "summer" coat as opposed to his "winter" one. They give the appearance of being far more slender and even leggier than when they are wearing their full "winter coat".
This breed is certainly colourful, having various shades of sand, from the palest cream through to reddish brown, black and even white.
The first impression we get of the Canaan Dog is of a dog that is totally natural and as close as possible to the original ancestor of our modern dogs. It is a medium sized, medium boned, square, compact, and very well balanced dog, agile and muscular, that looks as if it could cover ground all day without tiring.
The Canaan Dog is unique to other breeds, retaining many characteristics, which have enabled them to survive in the harsh environment of the desert. As a breed, they tend to be very suspicious of anyone or anything they do not know. Because of this wariness of strangers, early socialising is essential. Those Canaan’s that have had good socialising at a young age, with a lot of exposure to different people and different situations, tend to be far less suspicious and able to cope with strange situations much better than those who receive little or no socialising.
They are generally excellent with children, being very gentle and tolerant with them. They will also be very protective of children, often alerting you, for instance, if a baby is crying or a child needs you. Children should, of course, be taught to respect the dog and not pester them when they want time alone.
Although Canaan’s are independent by nature they are also very affectionate and extremely loyal to their family. Being a breed that is highly territorial Canaan’s are often, by nature, aggressive to other dogs of the same sex, particularly the males. However, good socialising and training can help to modify this behaviour.
In summary, it can be said that the Canaan Dog is very alert, wary of strangers and unknown situations, yet he is extremely loyal to his friends and family. Although lacking in courage, he is not a fear biter nor aggressive towards people, although he can be dog aggressive.
Canaan’s can make marvellous family pets, although they are not suited to everyone. They are extraordinarily loyal and devoted to his whole family - he is not generally a "one man dog". This trait, however, can make it very difficult to re home them as an adult if necessary, and it can take a year or more for them to adjust to their new home.