Shaar Hagai Canaan Dogs
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The standard
Judging the Canaan Dog

General Appearance:  A medium sized, well-balanced, strong and square dog resembling the wild dog type.  Strong distinction between the sexes.


The overall first impression we should get of the Canaan Dog is of a dog that is totally natural and as close as possible to the original ancestor of our modern dogs.  It is a medium sized, medium boned, square, compact, and very well balanced dog, agile and muscular, that looks as if it could cover ground all day without tiring. Nothing about the Canaan should be exaggerated; everything must be in balance and harmony and give the appearance of pure functionality.


Lets consider function.  The Canaan, or any pariah for that matter, lives on the fringes of civilization, usually in areas where means of survival are scarce.  These dogs have to be capable of living on the bare minimum and they usually are fit and healthy and in quite good physical condition despite this.  These dogs are capable of hunting for themselves, usually small game such as hares, mice, lizards, and such, though they have been known to bring down full-grown gazelles as well.  They are scavengers, able to silently and stealthily penetrate the perimeters of Bedouin camps or settlements to steal or scrounge in the garbage dumps.  They can live with a bare minimum of water, sometimes drinking only once every few days.  They also have to be capable of coping with natural enemies, which means the ability to either effectively flee danger or to be able to stand and fight if necessary. 



Anything that interferes with this functionality is undesirable.  A dog that is too heavy in structure will require too much food and water for the conditions, and will not be as effective a hunter and scavenger or in fleeing his natural enemies, which may include man.  Heavier types of pariah, as are found in Turkey and Syria, are less suitable to the desert environment.  On the other hand, a dog that is too fine and light boned will find it more difficult to compete with the other small predators and scavengers.  The Canaan in nature and in his task as a Bedouin guard dog has to be capable of standing up to jackals, wolves, and even hyenas and this does mean standing up to them to them to protect his flock.  The Canaan has also proven himself capable of taking down an adult gazelle.  These things would be impossible if he is too small and fine.  Structure that is exaggerated in any way including characteristics such as excessive length of body and overangulation will also make him less effective, less able to maneuver, and less suited to the terrain.  The wrong coat type will seriously damage his ability to withstand the climatic extremes of his natural environment.


Strong distinction between the sexes is desired as in most breeds.  This is also related to functionality as it helps a dog that is highly territorial to identify at a distance an animal that is a potential mate rather than an enemy or intruder into his territory.