The Canaan Dog, the National dog of Israel, is a herding and flock sentry dog originating in the Land of Canaan. The Canaan Dog is a pariah dog type that is naturally alert, inquisitive and watchful. He is mistrustful of strangers and unfamiliar environments, yet loyal and loving with his family. A square dog of medium size, moderate and balanced without extremes, showing a clean outline. The moderately angulated Canaan Dog moves with athletic agility and grace in an efficient, ground-covering endurance trot. He has a wedge-shaped head with low-set erect ears, a high set brush tail that curls over the back when confident, and a straight, harsh, flat-lying double coat. There is a marked distinction between the sexes.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size – Height at the withers is 20 to 24 inches for dogs and 19 to 23 inches for bitches. The ideal Canaan Dog lies in the middle of the stated ranges.
Proportion – Square when measured from the point of the shoulder to the ischium and from the point of the withers to the ground.
Substance -Moderate. Dogs generally weigh 45 to 55 pounds and bitches approximately 35 to 45 pounds. Dogs distinctly masculine without coarseness and bitches feminine without over-refinement.
Elongated, the length exceeding the breadth and depth considerably. Wedge-shaped, when viewed from above. Slightly arched when viewed from the side, tapering to stop. The region of the forehead is of medium width, but appearing broader through ears set low to complete an alert expression, with a slight furrow between the eyes.
Expression – Alert, watchful and inquisitive. Dignified. Eyes -Dark, almond-shaped, slightly slanted. Varying shades of hazel with liver-pointed dogs. Eye rims darkly pigmented or of varying shades of liver harmonizing with coat color. Fault–Unpigmented eye rims.
Ears – Erect, medium to large, set moderately low, broad at the base, tapering to a very slightly rounded tip. Ears angled very slightly forward when excited. A straight line from the inner corner of the ear to the tip of the nose should just touch the inner corner of the eye and a line drawn from the tip of the ear to the tip of the nose should just touch the outer corner of the eye. Ear motion contributes to expression and clearly defines the mood of the dog. Major Fault – In the adult dog, other than erect ears.
Stop – Slightly accentuated.
Muzzle -Tapering to complete the wedge shape of the head. Length equal to or slightly longer than the length of the skull from the occiput to stop. Whisker trimming optional.
Nose – Darkly pigmented or varying shades of liver, harmonizing with coat color.
Lips – Tight with good pigmentation. Bite Scissors.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck – well arched. Balance to body and head and free from throatiness.
Topline – Level with slight arch over the loins.
Body – Strong, displaying athletic agility and trimness.
Chest -Moderately broad and deep, extending to the elbows, with well-sprung ribs. Loin – Well-tucked up. Short, muscled flanks.
Tail – Set high. When confident tail will be carried curled over the back, either in a curl or sickle, with one full curl being the ideal. When extended, the bone shall reach to the hocks.
Shoulders moderately angulated. Legs straight. Pasterns flexible with very slight slope when viewed from the side. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet – Catlike, pads hard, pigmentation harmonizing with nose and eye rims. Nails strong, hard, pigmentation harmonizing with either nose and eye rims or coat.
Moderately angulated. In balance with forequarters. Straight when viewed from the rear. Thigh musculature well-developed, moderately broad. Hocks well-let-down. Dewclaws must be removed. Feet and nails as in fore-quarters.
Double coat. Outer coat-straight, harsh, flat-lying. Outer coat of medium length on body, shorter on front part of the legs and head; longer on ruff, tail, top of withers and back of thigh. Ruff more pronounced on males. Thick brush tail tapering to a pointed tip. Undercoat – soft and short with density varying with climate. Excessively long outer coat that masks the clean outline of the dog is undesirable as is any trimming that alters the natural appearance of the dog.
There are two color patterns. Pattern 1) Predominantly white with mask and with or without additional patches of color (large body patches are desirable). Pattern 2) Solid colored with or without white trim. Color may range from black through all shades of brown – sandy to red or liver. Shadings of black on a solid brown or tan dog are frequently seen. The trim on a solid colored dog may include chest, undercarriage, feet and lower part of leg and tip of tail. In all color patterns self-ticking may be present. Disqualifications – a) Gray and/or brindle. b) All white.
The mask is a desired and distinguishing feature of the predominantly white Canaan Dog. The mask is the same color(s) as the body patches on the dog. The basically symmetrical mask must completely cover the eyes and ears or can completely cover the head as in a hood. The only allowed white in the mask or hood is a white blaze of any size or shape and/or white on the muzzle below the mask. Faults – On predominantly white dogs – absence of mask, half mask, or grossly asymmetrical mask.
The characteristic gait is a brisk and tireless trot covering more ground than expected. Moderate angulation results in the appropriate reach and drive of the natural dogs endurance trot. In this trot the rear paw steps into the footprint of the front paw. His trot tends to converge to the center at higher speeds. The Canaan Dog is agile, graceful and able to change speed and direction instantly. Correct movement is essential to this breed.
Alert, vigilant, devoted and docile with his family. Reserved and aloof with strangers. Highly territorial, serving as a responsive companion and natural guardian. Very vocal, persistent. Easily trained. Faults – Shyness or dominance toward people.
Gray and/or brindle.
Courtesy of the American Kennel Club