Happy 2021 – sadly we started by, somehow, contracting Covid 19. It went through the household and our ‘bubble’ in a few days. Thankfully we have all started to come through this awful time. Us oldies have been unwell for a few weeks and the youngsters in our household have been less affected. God must have a special plan for our eldest who is considered extremely vulnerable but was miraculously very mildly affected. The Canaans have been brilliant. Some the days that we couldn’t make it downstairs the boys were in charge of making sure the dogs were fed and let out but with much less interaction. The dogs all just settled down and had the odd visit for cuddles upstairs. If we had had another breed with more ‘need’ for jobs to do we might have had to pay dog walkers or had them in kennels for the duration.

In the midst of all this, we were looking to rehome a young male from a litter almost two years ago. He had become too strong for the family that had him. With the help of friends and Facebook and people sharing his details, oddly enough he is now resident in the next town over to us with a great chap and seems to have settled in really well already. We are really blessed with all the help and support in the Canaan community.

I have had many days now to lie/sit around and consider life. Often my thoughts go to the dogs and the future of the breed. I have gone in my mind back over all that we have done, people that we have met and places we have been able to visit.

Mostly on my mind is the type of Canaan that we had 20 plus years ago and those that are mostly seen now, how the breed has changed and how we can halt and reverse the change. Mostly I feel that this must come through education, breed type and character. We cannot in all good faith breed dogs that cannot be happy in our modern world. A Canaan dog must be wary of new things initially to survive in their natural environments but it should also be confident enough to recognise a lifeline and ally that will make their existence easier. To accept situations that become routine and have given no bad experiences. The actual type has variations which I believe is essential for diversity. There should be good bone without being heavy or floppy in movement, they should appear agile without being flimsy. The movement should display a precise and comfortable trot that could be maintained for longer periods of time if needed. The coat has to be weather proof. It should have a good layer of woolly undercoat, covered by a harsher outer layer. The rocky desert environments that they survive in to this day won’t allow for ‘pretty and elegant and sleek’ they are not sight hounds used for hunting and slightly more cosseted by the owners. The Canaan is a working dog that needs to be independent and think for himself.

When I get moments of angst – I look at this photo – https://canaandog.co.uk/dogs/laish-me-bnei-habitachon/ This is the male that Prof Menzel bred and felt was the closest to her ideal Canaan that she had produced. Its a photo worth looking at from time to time. Many other photos on canaandog.co.uk are similar in type but as I say some variety is to be expected. We are not looking to produce carbon copies, just dogs that can be recognised as Canaan. Not always easy but in the modern world we have the choice of Artificial Insemination. This is not cheap but opens up the world to try to keep the health, type and character of the breed. I would ask all judges to take a few minutes to look through the Shaar Hagai photos and have a gander on the British Canaan Dog website where the pages from around the world give a great insight into some of the older dogs no longer with us. Preservation is key with any breed, sometimes there will be a few changes that are inevitable, as long as the essence of the breed is maintained.

On another note – Myrna Shiboleth (Shaar Hagai) was made homeless in Israel some years ago and made her home in Italy with good friend Isabella Zirri. Now Myrnas visa has come to an end and she is looking to make the journey back to Israel. This is a great undertaking but we wish Myrna well and hope that some may look at the fundraising page and make, if possible, a small donation to help her and the dogs get home. The page is GoGet Funding and Help Bring Myrna and Her Canaan Dogs Home. Every little helps.

To close I have received a request on a Non-Canaan matter. An online dog show run by the Pug Dog Club is available for all the enter, this message comes from Nigel Marsh, Show Secretary for The Pug Dog Club

“In the absence of shows in these strange times, I wonder if you would consider including the following information in this week’s breed notes (show entries close on 31 January) as being of possible interest to readers? Many thanks, keep safe, Nigel.

The Pug Dog Club’s Online Fun Photo Show 2021 is open to All Breeds. Although some classes are specifically for Pugs, there is also a wide range of classes for any breed to enter. In addition to the beautiful rosettes and prize certificates on offer, the Pug Dog Club Committee has added cash prizes for the main winners. Please read posts before entering, and ensure your photos are in the correct album and have been paid for!  Entry fees are £1 per photo, £5 for unlimited photos. Entries, which are being coordinated by Elle Care, will close on 31 January at midnight. All details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/pdconlinedogshow

Alison Byrne

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