Canaan Dog Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Canaan Dog Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
The AKC Standard says, "The Canaan Dog moves with athletic agility and grace, with a quick, brisk, ground-covering trot."
The Canaan Dog is light-footed and can turn on a dime. He will take as much exercise as you can offer, yet adults are calm enough to curl up on the sofa when the day's work or fun is over.
This independent dog is self-reliant and doesn't need constant petting.
However, he is also highly intelligent and an excellent problem-solver and needs plenty of mental stimulation (obedience, agility, tracking, herding, playing games) to prevent boredom, which can lead to destructiveness.
His wariness of strangers, inherent distrust of anything new or different, territorial instincts, keen senses and canny intuition all combine to make him a vigilant watchdog.
This primitive breed is 100 percent aware of his surroundings, constantly observing and listening. He will sound the alarm at every perceived threat.
However, he is not aggressive toward people. Rather, the Canaan Dog reacts to a stranger's intrusion into his territory DEFENSIVELY -- by retreating just out of reach and barking continuously. Because caution can easily shade into fearfulness, early and extensive socialization is required to build a confident, stable temperament.
Dog to dog aggression, however, can be a problem, and many of these dogs do have a strong prey drive and may stalk or chase smaller animals.
Canaan Dogs resist repetitious training and jerking on the leash. Motivate them with variation, praise, and food. Yet they may also test you for pack leadership, so they require a confident, consistent owner.
Canaan Dogs love to dig and are very vocal -- barking and whining need to be controlled.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium-sized and completely natural-looking
- Has a short easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors
- Moves with light-footed agility
- Loves lots of exercise and athletic activities
- Makes an extremely alert watchdog, yet is not aggressive
A Canaan Dog may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Inherent distrust of strangers and anything new or different
- Extreme fearfulness in some lines, or when not extensively socialized
- Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Stubbornness (a mind of his own)
- Potential for excessive barking
- Waiting lists (hard to find)
A Canaan Dog may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Canaan Dog
If I was considering a Canaan Dog, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Canaan Dogs MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Canaan Dogs can make a shambles of your house and yard.
- Fearfulness. Canaan Dogs began as "pariah dogs," i.e. feral or half-wild. Their defensive instincts often do not fit well into the average household. Canaan Dogs need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution is likely to become full-blown suspiciousness or fearfulness, which are difficult to live with and could even lead to defensive biting.
- Potential for animal aggression. Many Canaan Dogs are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. If anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training, handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.
- Mind of their own. Canaan Dogs are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal and excelling at the highest levels of competition, but they can also be stubborn and manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. But Canaan Dogs are also so sensitive that if you correct them too harshly, they may "shut down" and become even more resistant. It often takes an experienced trainer to bring out the inherent genius in this breed.
To teach your Canaan Dog to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Canaan Dog Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Barking. Canaan Dogs are typically quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, Canaan Dogs are not a good choice for you. For the same reason, Canaan Dogs should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised.
- Shedding on the high side of average. Be prepared for daily brushing during twice a year shedding seasons, and some moderate shedding the rest of the year.
- Finding one. In the United States, fewer than 100 new Canaan Dog puppies are registered each year. (Compare that to over 60,000 new Golden Retriever puppies!)
To learn more about training Canaan Dogs to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Canaan Dog the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Canaan Dog. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Canaan Dog might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Canaan Dog home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Canaan Dog...
When you're acquiring a Canaan Dog PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Canaan Dogs who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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