In general, the Canaan Dog is one of the healthiest breeds around with no known hereditary problems. As guardians of the breed, breeders have a responsibility to ensure that the breed remains so, not just for today but for future generations.
To help breeders achieve this there are various scientific tools available today, including testing dogs for hereditary problems such as Hip Dysplasia, Patella Luxation, PRA, etc., and looking at inbreeding coefficiencies. Of course this still doesn’t guarantee the perfect dog, but it does give the breeder much more information to base their decisions upon than just the phenotype (looks) of the dog.
In his book “Control of Canine Genetic Diseases”, George Padgett lists the following diseases as having been seen at one time or another within the Canaan Dog in the USA. Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Cryptorchidism, Hip Dysplasia (HD), Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD).
The British Canaan Dog Society encourages breeders to perform at least the following heath tests on all their dogs, and to take into account the results when choosing a mate.
Canaan Dogs can be scored under the BVA/KC scheme when they are at least one year old. Whilst Hip Dysplasia has not, to our knowledge, been expressed (seen) in dogs in the UK, there are dogs that have poort hip scores. It is therefore important for breeders to ensure all their dogs and, where possible, dogs they breed are scored in order to ensure that the situation does not worsen and hip dysplasia eventually expressed and become a problem.
Whilst there is no official KC scheme for testing patellas, an experienced vet will be able to ensure the patellas are not luxating. This check can also be performed on puppies at 8 weeks old before they leave the breeder for their new home.
Eye tests can be performed under a KC scheme at any age. However, it is unlikely that anything will show up before the age of 3 years old. The British Canaan Dog Society carry out eye testing sessions at their annual fun rally held in August each year.