Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Canaan Dog Breed Info: Pics, Puppies, Traits & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove


Height: 19 – 24 inches
Weight: 35 – 55 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Colors: Black, liver, gold, cream, tan, red
Suitable for: Family, companion, watchdog
Temperament: Cautious, intelligent, devoted, alert, quick

The Canaan Dog is the national dog of Israel. It’s a medium-sized dog that stands up to 24-inches tall when fully grown.  It has a straight but rough coat that comes in many colors and patterns. It has erect ears, dark almond-shaped eyes, and a high set tail. Artifacts depicting the Canaan Dog go back at least 4000 years. In the year 70, roman soldiers destroyed Jerusalem scattering the dogs into the desert, where they had to fend for themselves for nearly 2000 years.

Divider 1Canaan Puppies


When looking for a Canaan pup, make sure you take your time to find the best breeder in your area. This will help you ensure you are receiving a healthy and attentive pup. Quality breeders may run tests to make sure the puppy is healthy, which can cost more, and obtaining the parents can also increase the cost. If you’re considering adopting a Canaan, it might not be an easy task but you can always ask your local shelter for a Canaan or at least a similar dog.

When you bring a Canaan home, be ready to have an intelligent dog by your side. They create strong bonds with their human companions and are a great fit for families.

Canaan Six Week Old Puppy
Image credit: CarloMedina, Shutterstock

3 Little-Known Facts About the Canaan

1. There are drawings of the Canaan Dog on tombs more than 2,000 years old.

2. The Canaan Dog was forced to fend for itself in the harsh desert climate for more than 2,000 years.

3. The Canaan Dog was brought back from the wild to patrol modern Israeli borders because of its ability to survive the harsh desert environment.

Canaan walking on the grass
Image credit: f8grapher, Shutterstock

Divider 3

Temperament & Intelligence of the Canaan 🧠

The Canaan Dog is an athletic breed that moves with a quick trot. It’s perfect for agility courses and making quick turns at high speed. They are shy around strangers and make great watchdogs, but they are not aggressive, preferring to stay out of reach and barking. A strong prey drive can cause them to chase small animals, and it can get destructive when bored or left alone too long.

Canaan Dogs are very smart and can learn many tricks, but they often use their intelligence to develop their own will and will stubbornly pursue self-interests at times. They like to be part of a pack, and you’ll be required to play the role of the alpha.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Canaan Dogs make great family pets and are very devoted to each family member. It’s best to socialize them early with children so they can get accustomed to their small size and aggressive playstyle. They make great watchdogs and will be vigilant about keeping your home safe while never becoming aggressive, even when frightened.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Canaan Dogs might have some trouble getting along with household pets if not properly socialized from a young age. Canaan Dogs have a strong prey drive and hunting for their food is in their genes. Even with plenty of socialization, they will tend to chase squirrels and rabbits that enter your yard. In most cases, it’s probably better to keep the Canaan Dog as a single pet.

Canaan dog in park
Image credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Canaan Dog

Here is a list of things to consider before purchasing a Canaan Dog.

Food and Diet Requirements 🦴

The Canaan Dog is a medium-sized active dog that requires a good amount of food but can become overweight if it doesn’t get enough exercise. We recommend a food with chicken, turkey, or salmon listed as the top ingredient. Hard kibble is better than wet food because it can help clean your cat’s teeth by scraping away tartar and plaque.

Daily Exercise Requirements 🐕

The Canaan Dog is used to having an active day, so you can expect to spend at least 30-minutes per day being active with your pet. They enjoy morning and evening walks and playing fetch, but if your dog gets many small animal visitors, it will get some exercise chasing them around.

Canaan dogs training
Image credit: FilkovPhotography, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

The Canaan Dog is a smart breed that should have no trouble learning new tricks and accomplishing tasks. That is if you can keep them interested in the training session. This breed tends to pursue self-interests and may quickly become bored when training. Positive reinforcement with plenty of treats and praise is the best method to keep them focused. Keep your training sessions to 5 or 10 minutes max and hold them at the same time every day. Consistency is just as important as positive reinforcement to get the most out of your training sessions.

Grooming ✂️

The Canaan Dog will require some moderate grooming in the form of frequent brushing, especially during the shedding season. They have a double coat that you will need to brush every day when they are shedding and every few days at other times. They don’t tend to get dirty, and doggy odor is low, so you won’t need to bathe them too often, but you will need to clip the nails and brush their teeth as often as possible.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Canaan Dog is a healthy breed, but let’s look at some health problems known to affect it in this section.

Minor Conditions
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cryptorchidism
Serious Conditions
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Epilepsy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a general name for a group of degenerative diseases that affect the eyes of your dog. These diseases affect the rods and cones in the eyes of your pet, which are responsible for detecting light. One of the first symptoms is usually night blindness, and your pet may be afraid to visit dark rooms or bump into furniture at night. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this condition, but most dogs can still lead a happy life.


Cryptorchidism is a condition where one or both testicles fails to descend into the scrotum. Testicles typically fall into the scrotum between two and four months after birth. If you cannot feel them by six months, Cryptorchidism is said to be present. Retained testicles can become cancerous and may lead to infertility. Your pet may require surgery to correct the condition.


Hypothyroidism in dogs is a condition where the thyroid gland swells or shrinks and stops operating correctly and usually causes the thyroid to produce too little thyroid hormones. Signs of hypothyroidism include thinning of the hair, a dull coat, and excess shedding. You may also notice a decrease in activity and less resistance to cold weather. Doctors treat hypothyroidism with hormone replacement therapy.


Epilepsy is a common disease that affects the nervous system in dogs. Your dog can inherit epilepsy, or it can happen as the result of an injury. It can cause your dog to have seizures, and there is a wide variety of types and severities. If you have witnessed your dog having an attack, it’s important to get them to the vet immediately.

Divider 5Male vs Female

The male Canaan Dog is considerably larger than the female in weight and height, but there is very little difference between them in temperament or behavior.

Divider 3

Final Thoughts

The Canaan Dog is a wonderful house pet for adults and older children. It’s a great watchdog and will be a loving companion to children if properly socialized as a puppy. They are not well suited to life with other pets, especially small pets, but you can usually get them to cohabitate if you socialize them plenty early in life. They are very expensive, but that’s because there are very few breeders, so your chances of getting a high-quality, healthy dog are very good.

We hope you have enjoyed our look into this unique and somewhat rare breed, and we have convinced you to purchase one for your home. If you have found it helpful, please share this complete guide to the Canaan Dog on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: Yousefsh, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database