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Canaan Dog Breed: Lifespan, Height/Weight, Temperament and More

Canaan Dog Breed

It’s quite possible that you’ve never heard of a Canaan Dog before now. It’s an extremely rare breed of dog with only about $1,600 dogs in the world. In this short Canaan Dog guide, we’re going to let you in on the details of this rare breed including lifespan, health, and temperament.

  • Canaan Dog Height: 19 to 24 inches
  • Canaan Life Span: 12 to 15 years
  • Other Names: Nicknames, etc., up to 5
  • Canaan Dog Price: $700 to $1, 200

Canaan Dog Basics

The Canaan Dog is a primitive dog breed and one of the oldest dog breeds. They most resemble and likely date back to the herding dogs of ancient Palestine around 3,000 BCE. Canaan Dogs were brought to the U.S. in the mid-1960’s but were not acknowledged by the AKC until 1997.

Canaan Dogs have ears that stand up, smooth coats, and a bushy tail that curls up over their back end. Canaan Dogs have double coats. The exterior coat is short and medium in length and comes in colors from cream to black to all variants of red and brown. You will typically see small markings in white on any coat color. The undercoat of the Canaan Dog is thick and very short.

Canaan Dog Temperament

The temperament of the Canaan Dog is one that can work against them if they are not trained by an owner who knows what they’re doing. Because the Canaan Dog is a primitive breed, this means pack order is more of an issue than with many other domestic breeds. Canaan Dogs need continuous socialization and an owner with a firm hand in order to teach them the difference between things that are new and different and things that are a threat. As an owner you must establish and maintain dominance over your dog in order to train him. Canaan Dogs can be uneasy around people or things that are new and different.

Training a Canaan Dog well involves a lot of time spent teaching them what to fear and what not to fear. Dogs in this breed have an excellent sense of smell and keen eyesight but can’t be relied on when off leash. They can often be aggressive toward other dogs. Canaan Dogs that are left alone will bark at everything and tend to dig up the yard. They definitely need a securely fenced area.

Canaan Dog Price

Canaan Dog Lifespan

As always, the price of a pure bred Canaan Dog depends on where you buy the dog and how old the dog is when you buy it. Champion breeding history will increase the cost of puppies. It’s a very rare breed which means you will likely be on a waiting list with your breeder.

Canaan Dog Pros and Cons


  • Long history of use as companion dogs
  • High energy is great for working farms
  • Great competitors for dog sports such as obedience and agility
  • Highly intelligent and trainable
  • Easy to groom
  • Affectionate and loyal without being “needy”.


  • Shed throughout the year and shed profusely twice annually
  • Rare breed which means waiting list to buy
  • Highly sensitive to noise and chaos, not best for young kids
  • Needs lots of exercise and stimulation
  • Not the best choice for first time dog owners
  • Can be aggressive toward other dogs and strangers without proper socialization and training

Canaan Dog Life Span

With proper nutrition and care, you can expect the average Canaan Dog to have a lifespan of about 12 to 14 years. Proper training and exercise is critical for this dog breed to extend their lifespan. This type of dog is very high energy and is easily bored. They tend to roam and love to dig which means you’ll need a very secure outdoor area to keep them from premature death due to environmental hazards such as cars and other threats if they get loose.

Canaan Dog Health Issues and Genetic Problems

Like any other breed, the Canaan Dog breed has some common issues that you need to be alert to if you’re going to bring one into your family. They are a fairly healthy breed overall but can be prone to issues such as epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and progressive retinal atrophy. In addition, they are more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, and osteochondritis dissecans.

Canaan Dog owners should work closely with their local veterinarian to monitor and identify any of these issues early for best treatment results. Some issues such as luxating patella, will show up in the first year of life. You may notice your dog’s gait is off or they appear to skip a step. Hip dysplasia cannot be prevented but symptoms can be treated to provide your dog with a higher quality of life even with the disease.

Canaan Dog Puppies

Canaan Dog Temperament

If you’re determined to get a Canaan Dog as a puppy, prepare to sit on a waiting list or several waiting lists until one becomes available. There are less than 2,000 of these dogs in the world which means getting your hands on one will be extremely tricky. Get on a waiting list with a reputable breeder and wait.

Canaan Dog Rescue

You could also scour your local APL or rescue centers for a puppy that someone got but couldn’t handle. You may have to put additional training time into a pre-owned puppy, but a properly trained Canaan Dog can be the end result.

This highly adaptable dog will make a great pet for experienced owners who are accustomed to using a firm hand with their pets. For best results, get a young dog and invest the time needed to train and socialize the dog to distinguish between perceived and real threats. With the proper training and guidance, the Canaan Dog can become a great watch dog that will be loyal and protective over your family.