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Canaan Dog Temperament: How to Bring Out the Best

The Canaan Dog temperament is intelligent, alert and active. And he is naturally skeptical of strangers unless you convince him otherwise. 

These traits make the Canaan a perfect fit if you want a dog that makes a good guard dog and family dog.

Photo of Cannan Dog Brown Outdoor

7 Canaan Dog Temperament and Personality Traits

There are seven traits that are “need-to-know” about the Canaan Dog temperament and general behaviors.

1. Devoted

The Canaan is a loving family dog.

He is loyal to his family and deeply protective of those he loves.

If you’re not the type to lavish physical affection on your dog, that’s okay.

The Canaan is self-reliant. You do not need to reassure him of your love with constant petting.

2. Quick

He’s an active dog who will leave you in the dust if you can’t keep up.

Not only quick in the field, but he is also quick to learn commands, too.

3. Alert

Because he is so careful, he will bark at anyone new who comes in the door until you say that person is okay.

He will settle in once he realizes that you are in control and that the newcomer is not a threat.

4. Cautious

The Canaan has a strong survival instinct. As a result, he is not quick to trust anyone he doesn’t know.

This does not mean he should be shy or aggressive, though. Dogs who are either shy or aggressive have not been adequately socialized or trained.

Photo of Canaan Dog Black

This instinct makes him just as good of a guard dog today as experts say he was all those years ago.

Note that a guard dog is not the same as a watchdog. A guard dog should never be aggressive the way a watchdog might be.

5. Intelligent

Because the Canaan is so intelligent, it’s fairly easy to train him.

He gets his intelligence, in part, from his survival instinct. When you always have to stay one step ahead of your enemies, you become pretty smart about life in general.

6. Vigilant

His vigilance is what makes him such a great guard dog.

It’s what keeps him wary of strangers and leery of anyone new until they prove themselves to be trustworthy.

7. Loves to Dig

Something to watch out for with this breed is his tendency to dig. If you have a flower garden you care about, don’t let the Canaan anywhere near it.

If you have this problem we have a solution here for you on How To Stop Your Dog Digging.

A Brief History of the Canaan Dog Breed

Experts believe that the Canaan Dog was actually worshipped in ancient times the way Egyptians idolized cats.

As legend has it, the Canaan guarded the ancient Israelites and herded their flocks.

The story continues that when the Jews had to leave their land, they also had to leave their dogs behind.

As a result, the Canaan became a wild dog until Dr. Rudolphina Menzel (1891–1973) captured, domesticated and bred them.

Canaan Dog Training

With this breed, it is especially important to establish that you are the leader of his pack.

If not, he may try to control the situations himself. An example of this is when strangers visit. He may try through barking to decide who stays or goes.

Therefore, you must be willing to assert your dominance when you live with a Canaan. You have to put him in his place early on to prevent behavioral issues in the future.

This is not to say that he won’t show aggression towards other dogs. However, you can train this out of him at an early age, especially if he receives plenty of socialization.

With this breed, early socialization and obedience training are necessities, perhaps more so than any other breed.

The earlier you can get a puppy into doing both of these things, the better.

In fact, if you purchase a puppy from a breeder, the breeder should already know this. Therefore, the puppy should already be doing these things from as early an age as possible.

Focus on what the Canaan does right during training, rather than scolding him harshly for what he does wrong. Negative reinforcement can only backfire with this breed.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.


Considering how active they are, the Canaan requires less frequent baths than other breeds.

They do have a shedding season at least once a year, though. Brush him frequently to prevent your house from becoming flooded with hair.

Also, check out this article to help you learn the key steps to easily groom your dog.


The Canaan Dog temperament requires a moderate amount of exercise.

He truly flourishes when he gets to explore the world outside of his home at least once a day.

If you want to give him something to do that’s challenging, you can engage him in dog sports.

Canaan Dog Health Issues

The Canaan Dog’s life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years.

Most are healthy, but they are prone to certain health issues, such as:

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

Note: Don't let the many issues above scare you. The best way to approach health problems is to prevent them in the first place. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is a great place to start. Get a copy to keep at home. It will help you prevent the painful health issues that can plague your Canaan companion and rob him of expressing his winning personality and maximizing his life expectancy.

Food and Nutrition

Nutrition often can be the root of many dog health issues. Canaan dog food should be high-quality. Else, you risk giving your dog the equivalent of junk food that can cause health issues like obesity.

You can purchase high-quality food from the store, or you can make your own under the supervision of your veterinarian.

Finding the Perfect Canaan Dog

So you've decided, after reading up on the Canaan, that you'd like to add a Canaan Dog puppy to your family. Congratulations!

You can find a Canaan Dog for sale either from a breeder or through a rescue or adoption agency.

The price of a Canaan dog sale varies, depending on which route you choose to go through.

Canaan Dog Puppies for Sale

The average Canaan Dog price is around $700.

The price of the dog may vary, depending on where you get it and how much a breeder decides to charge.

Some Canaan Dog puppies can cost as much as $1,200.

Canaan Dog Adoption and Rescue

If you want to adopt a Canaan Dog puppy, you can find one through a local rescue organization or adoption center.

A Canaan dog for adoption will always cost less than one purchased from a breeder.

An adoption is ideal if you are interested in bypassing the puppy stage and getting an older dog.

Many people don’t want to put up with the chewing and other destructive behavior that comes from owning a puppy.

If your search takes you to the local shelter then read: Tips to Assess the Temperament of the Dogs at the Local Shelter.

Canaan Dog Breeders

Always do your research before buying a dog through a breeder.

Make sure the breeder has a license and is registered. Also, check that s/he has completed all of the necessary paperwork and health requirements for the dog you’re interested in.

A good resource to consult is The Canaan Dog Club of America. Here, you can find a list of breeders of which the official page approves.

If you'd prefer a Canaan dog mix, you may want to go through adoption. Breeders typically offer purebreds, which is why they charge so much.

A Final Word about the Canaan Dog Temperament

The Canaan is smart and active. To keep him challenged while training him, you can engage him in dog sports.

And speaking of training, do not resort to harsh scolding. Instead, lavish him with praise, and occasional treats, when he does well.

The Canaan is also an ideal guard dog. He’s cautious of new people. Though, once you are a part of his pack, he will guard you with his life.

The Canaan Dog price tag is pretty reasonable when compared to the price of other breeds.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Canaan Dog puppy, be sure to research where you’d like to get one from. You may consider adoption or purchasing a puppy from a local breeder.

You should also know in advance whether you want a mix or purebred, puppy or adult.

The Canaan is a fairly healthy dog but, like any breed, comes with his own concerns to watch out for. A healthy Canaan can live between 12 and 15 years.