A gentle breed with energy to spare, the Canaan Dog loves to run, but will happily pack it in at the end of the day for a nice relaxing nap by the fire. Canaans are an incredibly agile breed, able to completely change direction on a dime, even at high speeds. They are light footed and clean – they never smell “like a dog,” and make excellent housemates. Farmers like the Canaan for their ability to herd and families like the Cannan for their companionship. Always alert and vigilant, Canaans make excellent non-aggressive watchdogs.
Canaans need a lot of exercised. They were developed in Israel from feral dogs, and used to herd sheep in the hot Middle Eastern Sun. This background gives them lots of stamina and they can be active all day, with energy to spare. They are a medium-sized dog, but should only live in an apartment or condo if a true commitment is made to several hours of outdoor activity every day. If this breed doesn't get enough exercise and mental stimulation, they become high-strung and destructive.
Canaans need more than long walks or jogs in order to meet their activity requirements. They are highly intelligent and excellent at problem solving. Herding, agility training, tracking and games are important to a Canaan's mental well being.
The Canaan Dog's roots in the feral community can make them a challenge to train. They are willful and have a mind of their own, but only respond to gentle, positive reinforcement. They can be timid, even fearful, so harsh treatment is never recommended. Consistency is also important. Canaans must understand boundaries and that people mean what they say, otherwise they will refuse to listen.
Training should be done in short sessions, and repetitive methods avoided. They will get bored with doing the same thing over and over, and will resist this style. Once leadership is established, they generally pick up on commands quickly, and can be taught advanced obedience and agility, as well.
Canaans are versatile animals and have been used as guard dogs, military sentries, wartime messengers, mine sniffers and even seeing eye dogs.
Canaans are true herding dogs and they are always vigilant. They will bark at just about any approaching animal or person. With animals, this breed can be aggressive, so it's recommended that Canaans live in a one-animal home. With people, they are rarely aggressive. When they bark ad a stranger, they will back away from them. Early and frequent socialization can ease some of the Canaan's natural fearfulness of strangers.
Though wary of strangers, Canaans bond deeply with their family, which can lead to separation anxiety. This usually manifests itself in the form of chewing, digging or incessant barking. Keeping a Canaan properly exercised and giving them interesting activities to do while they are alone can keep anxiety at bay.