The Canaan Dog Breed Standard

Current American Kennel Club (AKC) Standard
Approved April 10, 2012
Effective May 30, 2012

General Appearance
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.
Head
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.
Forequarters
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.
Hindquarters
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.
Coat
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.
Color
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.
Mask
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.
Gait
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 dog's 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.
Temperament
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.
Disqualifications
Gray and/or brindle.
All white.

Temporary Standard of the ‘Canaan Dog’
Accepted by the Israel Kennel Club

The first “Temporary Standard of the ‘Canaan Dog’ (Collie-like, Type 3)” was accepted by the Israel Kennel Club and published in Pariahunde (“Pariah Dogs”) by Drs. R. and R. Menzel in 1960 in Leipzig. It is the basis for the AKC (American Kennel Club), FCI, and UKC (United Kennel Club) standards which follow. Bryna Comsky translated Pariahunde from German to English. The first [translated] edition was published in 1982, and the second in 2002.

Overall Appearance: A dog of medium size, balanced, near to the wild dog type.

Character: alert, sharp, mistrustful, aggressive toward strangers, but in no way a fighting dog. His watchfulness extends to both strange people and animals in the herd dog tradition. Toward his master he is especially devoted and tractable. If well-kept, he is strongly bound to his home area and shows no tendency to stray.

Size and Weight: 50 to 60 cm shoulder height. Males are mostly considerably larger than females. Weight 18 to 25 kg. Coefficient of robustness 20-25.

Color: Sand colors to red-brown, white, black. Large, white areas are not only permitted with all colors, but preferred. Pied of all kinds are permitted as are white or black masks. Boston terrier design frequent. Grey specimens, and black with brown legs are not desirable at the time in order to emphasize the difference to similar European sporting dogs.

Coat: Middle length double coat preferred, but long double coats and short double coats occur. Smooth coat and pronounced long hair less desirable. The development of the undercoat corresponds to the season. Pronounced mane with males desired. Feet should be well-feathered: the tail as bushy as possible.

Shape: Square. Where length is slightly greater than height results from shorter leg-bones, not on length of back or coupling. Deep chest, forechest not too narrow, underline well tucked up.

Throat and Neck: Upright. Well-developed withers.

Eyes: Set in tightly, somewhat slanted, as dark as possible. Unpigmented third eyelid with spotteds normal; allowed with other colors, but not desired.

Ears: Short, relatively wide prick ear desired, set low, so that it stands pointed outwards somewhat diagonally (not set on high and long, as that of a shepherd). Button ear and all states between a prick ear and a light drop ear still permitted now, but not desired.

Head: Well proportioned and noble, in no way heavy and clumsy, but also not too light. The head is blunt, wedge-shaped, of moderate length. Forehead not too wide, but appears somewhat wider because of the low set-on of the ears. The distance from the indentation of the forehead (between the eyes) to the occipital point is clearly longer than the distance between both sets-on of the ears, but without excessive disproportion. The pre-orbital depression should be as slight as possible, preferably completely lacking; likewise the stop should be as slight as possible. The skull shall be neither too strongly arched nor as flat as a greyhound type dog. The furrow at the forehead and the middle-furrow at the occiput only slightly noticeable; the jaw strong, not too long and of corresponding width, never cube-shaped nor greyhound-like. The comparison between the length of the muzzle and distance to the occiput from the stop is approximately 1:1. Deviations from this ratio shall tend toward the longer length of muzzle. The shape of the head reminds one most of the head-form of the collie, but differs from it by a somewhat shorter muzzle, wider forehead, and the prick ears, set on low and far apart. The lips should be tight and short, not pendulous; a somewhat heavier lip can be tolerated with heavier male heads. Arches at the forehead powerful, but rather flat than too strongly arched. Exceptions with heavy male heads.

Teeth: Scissors bite preferred; pliers bite allowed; loss of premolars a major fault, the same for overshot and undershot bites.

Nose: Dark pigmented desired, lack of pigment presently allowed, especially with spotteds.

Feet: Forelegs absolutely straight, medium bone, pasterns vertical to the ground. Broad hocks, lower segment of the leg lightly feathered; paws as round as possible and arched, hard soles.

Tail: Set on high, curved over back when excited, as bushy as possible.

Gait: Short, but brisk trot, ‘natural’ trot desired.

General Observations: Special weight must be put on the points which distinguish the Canaan Dog from the German Shepherd Dog, whose non-highly bred form he sometimes resembles: The Canaan Dog is square, short-coupled. Shoulders are well-laid back in the forehand. Hind quarters are less angulated. The neck is as noble as possible. Tail is ringed over the back in excitement. The trot is short (see also differences in head and color).

Faults: Besides deviations from the standard of the breed, all faults in body structure which constitute deviations from the norm of a well-built dog.