Why Canaans?

One of the common questions I get asked is “how did you get involved with the breed?”.

In the early years of this century I owned a Doggy Daycare and Training Center.  During those years I would often do in home pet sitting for select clients.  Renee Kent, who has since become my co-owner, co-breeder and overall mentor was one of those people.  As a conscientious breeder, Renee did all she could to socialize her puppies including bringing them to puppy socials and kindergarten classes.  When Renee had a litter she would also send one at a time to stay with “Auntie Amy” in order to provide a chance to experience a totally different environment with many other dogs and social experiences.

As I spent time with many different breeds, I learned there were traits to most that clearly didn’t appeal to me and was most happy to hand the boarder back over to it’s owner at the end of the visit.  Not so with the Canaan puppies.  Each and every one I fell in love with, and said no Renee, you can’t have this one back, I want it…but alas it was intended for someone else.   The next puppy would be the same, with me saying no THIS one is really the BEST one ever…. until finally grandma Marley came along.  I was so smitten with Marley, who throws herself on the ground belly up to meet new people, that I finally stopped asking and started waiting for one of her puppies.  Since Marley was only 12 weeks old when I met her, this took some time.

Marley’s first litter provided only one male puppy, Riley.   I was tired of my almost five year wait for a female CD and so instead acquired my first Canaan Skye from a breeder in CA.  It was not my plan to fly a puppy, nor did I want to get a puppy sight unseen.  However, Skye’s mother had been flown to RI to meet Skye’s father who belonged to Renee and thus the parents were known to me.   The next year Marley finally gave me the opportunity I had been waiting for when she produced Camber and Vixen.

The Canaans appeal to me personally as a natural breed.  These dogs have been surviving on their own for thousands of years, but once brought back into domestication quickly adapt – the true definition of feral.   We like to explain these dogs are not so far from their roaming days that they have forgotten how to be be wild.  Adaptability is the key word.  Which leads into how much of a thinking breed this is.  I try to get people to see Canaan behavior from this point of view.   Barking to communicate is an essential element of the wild dog, wariness and the ability to escape means survival.  Digging provides shelter and safety for reproduction.  Unfortunately these are downsides for most pet dogs, however they can be seen as the very traits that have been useful in keeping the breed alive for thousands of years.

However, what I love most about Canaan Dogs is their practice of energy conservation.  A breed that can survive in harsh desert conditions knows enough not to waste energy needlessly.  For this reason, the Canaan breed make very easy keepers.   When asked, a Canaan can go on day long hikes and keep up with the best runners, but if given an adequate amount of exercise, they prefer to find a comfy corner or quiet den like place and curl up.  They do not pace constantly, and except at their own dinner time are rarely dogs what are underfoot.   Unlike some other breeds, the do not feel the need to escort their owners into the bathroom each and every time.

While aloof with strangers, the breed is loyal, loving and affectionate to family and friends who are known well enough to be considered one of the pack.