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Judging the Canaan Dog


A new adventure in Canaan breeding




It is funny to make a connection between modern technology and Canaan Dogs, but sometimes these things happen…


Laurence Aries, a serious Canaan breeder is France, very much wanted to breed Sufat (French and Luxembourg Ch. Sufat Hol me Shaar Hagai) when she came into season in the spring, but felt that there was nothing really suitable to breed to her in France or indeed in most of Europe.  The available dogs were all related to Sufat in one way or another, and Laurence was interested in trying to use a new bloodline.  Sufat is an outstanding bitch who despite still being quite young has had a great show career, and Laurence hoped that her puppies would carry on in the same tradition.


So she contacted me to ask if there was any possibility of sending semen to France.  The dog that she wanted to use was Bayud, the dog I had obtained two years ago from the Bedouin.


We do have a veterinarian in Israel who is an expert in artificial insemination, and in collecting and cooling or freezing semen.  He was willing to do the job, no problem.


One problem facing me was Bayud.  Bayud was totally devoted to me and I could do anything with him, but he had no interest in having anyone else touch him.  He also had not been in the car or away from Shaar Hagai sinceI had brought him home from the Bedouin camp.  I couldn’t imagine what he would think of the idea of going to the vet and being handled in the most intimate way possible to collect semen…


The vet suggested that I do a “trial run” at home to see if he would let me handle him.  No problem, he let me do everything necessary.  So I put him in the car and took off for the vet’s clinic. 


Bayud was not very happy about the car ride.  He did not act up, but I could see that he was definitely not comfortable.  He was glad to get out of the car when we arrived at the vet’s place, but was not very happy to see that he was in a strange place.  The vet still had some other clients with their dogs waiting to be seen, so I walked around with Bayud outside, letting him sniff the area, mark the bushes, and settle down.  He behaved amazingly well, staying close to me and trying to ignore the fact that there were strange people and strange dogs around. Never a growl or sign of aggression, though I could feel how tense he was about the strange situation.  But someone who was not as aware of dog body language as I am would never have imagined that this dog wasn’t accustomed to walking around on a leash among dogs and people.  The Canaans continuously surprise us with their adaptability.


Finally, it was our turn.  I had warned the vet that I didn’t think Bayud would let him touch or take sperm from him, so he provided me with the receptacle, stood back and instructed me how to do it.  But despite all my efforts to arouse him, Bayud stood there looking suspicious and definitely not showing any signs of sexual interest – his attitude seemed to be more “You must be kidding! Here??? Like this???”  I finally was too tired to try any longer, so the vet offered to try – he had more experience (that was for sure!) and maybe he would succeed…I had brought a muzzle along, so I muzzled Bayud and held his head and the vet took his turn.  Nothing at all – no surprise to me.  Bayud did not growl or attempt to show any aggression to the vet, but I could see that it was just because he knew that I wouldn’t allow it, not that he wouldn’t have liked to try…


So what now?  Well, I would have to go home, taking the receptacle with me, take the sperm at home, and come back to the vet with the sperm (over an hours drive each way) so he could prepare it and it could be shipped to France.


Bayud was glad to be home, and after giving him a rest, I collected the semen with no problem at all.  I brought it back to the vet and it was prepared, packed in a special thermos in ice, and was picked up by the express shipping company.


We were, as is common in Israel, in a period of on and off strikes, and there was a possibility that there would be an airport strike and then the sperm would not get shipped.  The shipping itself would take almost two days to get from Israel to Laurence’s vet in France.  But the shipment did get off on time and I was hoping that there would be no trouble in France.


Not only Israel has labor problems.  There was a strike in France, and it took even longer than expected for the sperm to arrive at its destination.  And then Laurence called to tell me that there was a problem.  The package had arrived, and when the vet opened the thermos, he found that the receptical containing the prepared sperm had come open and most of the contents had spilled out into the melted ice in the thermos.  There was only a tiny amount left.  He had insemnated Sufat with the tiny remainder, but told Laurence that he saw few sperm in it under the microscope and he didn’t believe that this would be successful.


Laurence wanted me to try and ship another batch – but meanwhile, the strike had started in Israel and the airport was closed…I had to tell Laurence that I was sorry but we would have to wait until next time.


Almost two months later, I got a call from France.  It was Laurence.  She had been at a show with Sufat the week before and thought that Sufat was sitting strangely.  When she got back, she took her to the vet, and an examination showed that Sufat was in whelp.  An ultrasound check showed three pups!


A week later, Sufat whelped FIVE fat healthy puppies. 


My vet was stunned when he heard the story.  I was not as surprised – that survival drive is still very strong in the Canaan Dog – even while the dog is still in the form of sperm...!