Accepted by many as the National Dog of Israel, the Canaan Dog is believed to have hailed from the Middle East in the biblical land of Canaan, the result of crossing between native dogs. References to the Canaan Dog, or dogs that align with our modern perception of the breed, have been found in ancient tombs dating back to 2200 BC. Traditionally used as herding dogs by the Israelites, these dogs were made feral when the Romans invaded the land and dispersed the nomadic population. With the onset of WWII, the Canaan Dog served as a war sentry, message carrier and mine detector and was domesticated once more, growing in popularity over subsequent decades. The modern Canaan is commonly seen in guarding, herding and search and rescue, and was recognised by the AKC in 1997.
Falling within the 'utility' breed group, the Canaan Dog shares its classification with the Dalmatian, Akita, Poodle and Bulldog. Distinctive in appearance, the Canaan possesses a proportioned body of athletic build, with a well defined head, upright, triangular ears, almond-shaped eyes and a liver-coloured nose, in variations that correspond with the coat. The dense double coat of the Canaan is common in colour deviations of brown, sand, liver, white, tan or solid black, usually with white trim on the feet, chest and the tip of the tail.
Still utilised by Bedoins of the Arabian Desert in herding and guard duties, the Canaan Dog is rarely seen in the home, although it makes an exemplary pet. Highly trainable and adapting well to new situations and people, the Canaan makes a great addition to active family life, or a dedicated sole owner. In general, a healthy Canaan Dog will weigh 16-25 kg at full maturity, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
Due to its relative rarity as a breed, any genetic or breed-specific diseases identified in the Canaan Dog are not easily determined. As with most breeds, cases of hip and elbow dysplasia, skin allergies, arthritis and epilepsy are found in the Canaan, although not with any notable recurrence.