35-45 lbs
kalef K'naani

The medium sized Canaan dog is thought to have evolved in the face of many difficulties over hundreds or thousands of years; in fact, many believe that the breed was present in biblical times in the land of Canaan, where it was called kalef K’naani, which translates to “dog of Canaan”. Weighing up to 45 pounds (female) and 55 pounds (male), the Canaan dog worked as a sentry, messenger and assistance dog in the past. Alert, vigilant and territorial, the Canaan dog is docile with his family and aloof with those he does not know. Dogs of this breed are very active, quick, smart and responsive and enjoy participating in activities that give them physical and mental challenges. The breed is generally healthy and requires minimal maintenance.

purpose Purpose
sentry, messenger, and assistance
history Date of Origin
ancient times
ancestry Ancestry
indian wolf

Canaan Health

Sketch of Canaan
Average Size
Male Canaan size stats
Height: 20-24 inches Weight: 45-55 lbs
Female Canaan size stats
Height: 19-23 inches Weight: 35-45 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Mono/Bilateral Cryptorchidism
  • Epilepsy
Occasional Tests
  • Blood
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Canaan Breed History

It is claimed that the Canaan dog originated during biblical times in the land of Canaan, where it was known as kalef K’naani. Drawings of dogs with a similar look to the Canaan dog were also said to be found in Beni-Hasan’s tombs, dating back to 2200 BC. During these years, dogs of the breed were used by Israelites to guard the camps and herd flocks. Apparently, these dogs were left to take care of themselves in areas such as the Sebulon coastal plain and Negev desert (a natural reservoir for wildlife in the area) when the Israelites fled their homeland upon the arrival of the Romans nearly 20 centuries ago. It is thought that the breed’s wild, male pups were captured by the Bedouins, who raised them and put them to work as guard dogs or livestock dogs. When, in the 1930’s it was found that the traditional European service dog was unable to handle the harsh climate to work for the Israeli Defense Force, Dr. Rudolphina Menzel looked for and caught feral dogs native to the area and started a program to train and breed them. Through her efforts, the breed was further developed to offer protection to isolated Jewish settlements and to grow the reserve of war dogs for the War of Independence. The breed successfully served in detecting mines as well as working as a sentry and messenger dog. Dogs of the breed also worked as helpers to the Red Cross in their efforts to locate injured soldiers during the second World War. After the war, many of the breed became guide dogs to the blind. In 1965 the first Canaan dog arrived in the U.S., where over time the breed began to attract attention. In 1997 it was accepted to the AKC as a member of the herding group.

Canaan Breed Appearance

With a weight of up to 55 pounds, the Canaan dog is medium in size and square in proportion. Dogs of the breed have straight, front legs with catlike feet that have hard pads and strong nails. The back legs of the breed have well developed, muscular thighs. The Canaan dog’s head is wedge-shaped with an elongated appearance, featuring almond shaped, slightly slanted dark eyes in shades of hazel. The ears of the breed are broad at the base, tapering to a somewhat rounded tip and are anywhere from medium to large in size, angling slightly forward upon the dog becoming excited. The Canaan dog has a tapered muzzle and a nose that is dark in color as well as teeth that join in a scissors bite. The tail is typically bushy and is set relatively high. Coat colors include solid black, tan, brown, sandy, red, liver, white or a patched pattern of liver and white, brown and white, black and white with a mask that matches the color of the patches.

Appearance of Canaan
Eye Color Possibilities
hazel Canaan eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Canaan nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Canaan coat
brown Canaan coat
red Canaan coat
pied Canaan coat
white Canaan coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Canaan straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Canaan Breed Maintenance

The Canaan dog is thought to be a clean breed for whom grooming is simple. It is recommended that the coat be brushed weekly so that dead hairs can be removed; during seasonal periods of heavy shedding, additional brushing will be helpful. Bathing should occur when necessary. Regular trimming of the nails of the Canaan dog is recommended and the ears should be cleaned as needed. The breed is found to be easily housebroken as a result of its natural denning instinct. Mental and physical activity on a daily basis are important for the Canaan dog as it will become bored if it is just sitting around. Dogs of the breed will enjoy jogging, herding exercises, games and training sessions. The Canaan dog can live outside in warm and cool temperatures, though it enjoys being in the home with its family. While it is ideal for dogs of the breed to have an average-sized fenced in yard to play in, if they get enough exercise outdoors they will do well in an apartment.

Brushes for Canaan
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Canaan requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Canaan Temperament

The Canaan dog is intelligent and devoted. While it is reserved around strangers, the breed is thought to be a natural guardian to his family, often becoming attached to one particular person. Dogs of the breed are generally good with other dogs and pets in the home however, may be aggressive with strange dogs. It is typical for dogs of this breed to bark a lot. It is recommended that dogs of this breed be socialized with children from an early age. The Canaan dog will respond well to positive, motivational training, however he 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.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes
activity minutes

Canaan Popularity

Popularity ranking

Canaan Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Canaan Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Canaan at six months
Male Canaan size stats at six months
Height: 16.5 inches Weight: 22.5 lbs
Female Canaan size stats at six months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 20.0 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Canaan at 12 months
Male Canaan size stats at 12 months
Height: 20.0 inches Weight: 45.0 lbs
Female Canaan size stats at 12 months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 35.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Canaan at 18 months
Male Canaan size stats at 18 months
Height: 22.0 inches Weight: 50.0 lbs
Female Canaan size stats at 18 months
Height: 21.0 inches Weight: 40.0 lbs

Top Canaan Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Canaan breeders of 2024.
Top Canaan breeder Gemari's Canaan Dogs
Gemari's Canaan Dogs
Culpeper, Virginia
Top Canaan breeder Dor Vedor Canaan Dogs
Dor Vedor Canaan Dogs
Norfolk, Virginia
Top Canaan breeder HaTikva Canaans
HaTikva Canaans
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Top Canaan breeder Mazel Tov Canaan Dogs
Mazel Tov Canaan Dogs
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Top Canaan breeder The Canaan Dog Club of America
The Canaan Dog Club of America
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Top Canaan breeder Relic Canaan Dogs
Relic Canaan Dogs
Thompson, Connecticut

Canaan Owner Experiences

8 Years
The Canaan I walked was friendly and eager to go outside.
6 years, 7 months ago
3 Years
2 People
road trips
Long walks
Very stubborn, smart, vivide, sometimes hostile to foreign dogs, loves people, territorial to his food and toys (doesn't share at all)
4 years, 8 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd