What does independent mean in a dog

Independent character

If you want to win the trust of a Canaan dog, you have to work hard for it. As original pariah dogs, they are used to living completely independently of humans. Submissiveness and blind obedience are absolutely alien to this intelligent and instinctive wild animal. If at all, the Canaan lives at eye level with people - in a partnership that allows closeness, but also freedom. A Canaan dog is different from other domestic dogs - he has to maintain his independence and needs places to retreat. Only when he is sure of this freedom will he be able to enjoy the closeness and connection to people.

Faithful guardian and protector of the family

The autonomy and independence is what makes this dog breed so attractive. Since you have to acquire the trust and affection of the Canaan and a lot of sensitivity and understanding for the characteristics of this original dog are necessary, the later understanding and the bond between humans and animals are all the more intense. As a family dog ​​- provided it was socialized early and consistently brought up - it stands by all members of the family as a loyal guardian and protector. His protective instincts even include other pets as long as he has been accustomed to them from the start. The Kanaan shows children of the family a high tolerance and good nature, but they should respect if the dog wants to be to himself.

Ready to defend - but not at any cost

Like a good watchdog, he meets strangers with a pronounced distrust. Unfamiliar noises, cars passing by, neighbors, strollers or just animals approaching his property, he usually reports loudly barking and shows them unmistakably who the "boss" is in this area. Although he is ready to defend at all times, the Canaan is usually not aggressive. A Canaan would never put himself in danger - his will to survive and the accompanying instinct to flee are too strong for that.

Upbringing: is the Canaan dog difficult to train?

A Canaan would never do anything that could harm himself. Nor does it carry out its owner's commands without first questioning their meaning. Obedience to the dead cannot be expected from this dog. However, once he has gained trust in his human being and recognizes him as the "pack leader", he shows himself to be willing to cooperate and to be obedient. The loyalty to his master and his quick perception make him - despite his independence - an easy-going dog who can learn the necessary basic obedience without restriction. However, when training, consideration should be given to its original nature and so it certainly takes some compromises and tricks to convince the Canaan dog that obedience is worthwhile. The self-confident pedigree dog is therefore not suitable for inexperienced beginners.


The appearance of the Canaan is perfectly adapted to the conditions of its region of origin. Most of the wild Canaan Dogs from southern countries show a similar appearance. Their short to medium-length fur is harsh, dense and straight and, thanks to the abundant soft undercoat, reliably repels not only dirt but also the cold at night. Most dogs have also adapted to their surroundings in terms of color. Their coat color shows a broad spectrum from cream, sand colors, red, to black with white or white with brown or black spots. A black, symmetrical mask and white markings are allowed for all color types.

Square, strong and well proportioned

The height at the withers of these square-built, strong and medium-sized animals is 50 to 60 cm, with males mostly being much larger than bitches. In general, the sex characteristics between female and male dogs are very pronounced. The rather broad skull of the Kanaan dog, which tapers towards the front, is clearly visible, especially in males. The head is always well proportioned. The triangular and wide erect ears set slightly to the side and his slanted, almond-shaped, dark eyes give him a very bright, intelligent expression. In fact, the watchful Canaan does not miss anything, even when he is asleep.

Canaan dog story

The pronounced vigilance and natural skepticism of the Canaan towards anything new were and are vital for the wild pariah dog. They can still be found today in the entire African-Asian region, where they mostly live close to human settlements or Bedouin peoples, where they - completely on their own - feed on the organic waste of the people. Occasionally, Canaans still live in packs in the desert and feed there exclusively by hunting game on their own. Bedouins in today's Israel and Jordan still use them as guard dogs for their camp. When a wild bitch raises new puppies in a cave, they throw her a piece of bread from time to time until they finally choose the strongest male puppy to guard the camp in the future. He then always stays near the Bedouin camp and reliably protects it from attackers, but without getting too close to its tents and people.

Breeding establishment with wild Bedouin dogs

Canaans don't need humans. Nevertheless, they allow themselves to be domesticated by him, provided that this brings them benefit. Her high willingness to adapt, without ever becoming completely dependent on humans, was also what fascinated the cynologist and canine behaviorist, Rudolphina Menzel, about the Canaan Dogs. Born in Austria, Menzel emigrated from Vienna to Palestine (later Israel) in 1934, where she set up her own breeding program with free-ranging Bedouin dogs. She created a breed standard and named the dogs after the biblical land of Canaan. Their efforts were successful: the Israeli breed association adopted their breed standard, the FCI finally recognized the breed in 1966.

The ancestors of the Canaan dog

Today the Canaan is listed within the Fédération Cynologique Internationale under the standard number 273 in group 5 "Spitz and primitive dogs". In fact, the pariah dogs belong to the top family and thus to the oldest dog family in the world. On oriental rock carvings from the Neolithic Age (technical language Neolithic, approx. 12,000 years ago) as well as on Egyptian reliefs and wall paintings, dogs can be recognized that already resemble today's Israelspitz, as the Canaan dog is also called.

Where can I get a Canaan puppy from?

Today, not only in their homeland Israel, but also in the USA and several European countries such as Germany, Finland, England, Italy or Switzerland, breeders who have dedicated themselves to this special and still very rare breed. The addresses of the breeders can be found at national dog associations or, of course, on the Internet. However, if you are contemplating buying a Canaan, you should take enough time to carefully consider your purchase decision. This of course applies to all dogs, but especially to the Canaan, after all, this original and independent four-legged friend is no ordinary family dog.

Tips on choosing the right breeder

Is everyone in your family okay with buying a Canaan? Do you have sufficient time and experience to devote yourself to the socialization and education of the Canaan? Do you manage to promote the lively and spirited four-legged friend in terms of time and body and to offer them enough exercise and activity? You should only start looking for a breeder if you can answer all of these questions with a clear “yes”. Be sure to buy your puppy from a reputable breeder who will take plenty of time for you and provide you with adequate information about the breed and its characteristics. Reputable breeders carefully examine interested buyers before entrusting them with one of their puppies. The more a breeder knows about you, the better they can advise you before buying. Don't feel offended if he may even advise you not to buy this breed of dog. Unfortunately, Canaans end up in the shelter again and again because their owners have too little time or are simply overwhelmed with the demands of this breed. Adult Canaans are often difficult to refer to because they are extremely skeptical of new environments and people.

Make sure you socialize early

The younger the Canaan, the more open and open-minded he is to new stimuli, people and animals. The best time for the dog to socialize is early puppy age. It should start in the first few weeks of life, when the dog is usually still with the breeder, and should be continued by the future owner. The more the Canaan gets to know as "normal" in these first weeks, the less it will be able to scare him off later.

Health and care

Compared to the upbringing and socialization of a Canaan, caring for it is quite simple. The healthy dog ​​breed has no diseases typical of the breed and is considered to be very clean. The harsh fur naturally repels dirt and only needs to be brushed once or twice a week. Only in the phase of the twice-yearly coat change should it come into daily contact with a brush or a comb in order to remove dead hair from the dense undercoat and to reduce the flood of tufts of hair on the carpet, sofa or blanket.

Canaan dog diet

While the Canaan as a free-living pariah dog seeks its own food and feeds on every organic waste that humans leave behind, as a modern family and house dog it depends on the support of its owner. But what do you give such an original wild dog? In general, dogs are carnivores by nature - regardless of whether they are sheepdogs, dachshunds or Canaan. This means that the majority of the diet (around 70 percent) should consist of meat. Meat is the dog's most important source of protein. His entire chewing and digestive system is geared towards the processing of meat: the strong teeth, the strong chewing muscles, the relatively short intestinal tract and the digestive juices that are quite aggressive in contrast to humans.

Cooking, barfing or ready-made feed?

The highest protein content undoubtedly contains fresh, raw meat, because the protein content of the meat is denatured during cooking. Many dog ​​owners therefore swear by the so-called BARF, the "biologically appropriate raw feeding". However, with this method one should be well acquainted with the dog's nutrient and energy needs and know which food composition best meets these needs. An appointment with the veterinarian can be helpful, in which the amount your dog needs is calculated based on the dog's weight, size and level of activity. It is, of course, a little less time-consuming to use ready-made dry or wet food directly. But even here you should take a closer look at the ingredients - because not all packaging labels keep what they promise. A large amount of grain or other superfluous fillers, soy, sugar, artificial flavor enhancers are indications of rather inferior feed. High quality products do without these substances. In addition, the type of meat and the origin of the meat should be exactly traceable.

Are you ready for a Canaan?

A Canaan dog is different from other dogs. Anyone who already has experience with other domestic dog breeds will not automatically get along with a Canaan. The Israelspitz does not need us humans - and as a family dog ​​it shows that again and again. No matter how well brought up and socialized he was, he retains his independence and his self-thinking manner into old age.

No standard program, please!

Frequently repeated commands and exercises quickly bore the intelligent four-legged friend. If you want to employ a Canaan appropriately, you have to think of something more than the "standard dog program". They are certainly enthusiastic about dog sports such as agility, obedience, canicross, mantrail or tracking, but they also need variety. Looking for the same track twice or jumping over the same obstacle again? Many Canaans don't feel like doing that.

However, those who get involved in these idiosyncrasies and respect the need for independence of these dogs will find in the Kanaan an extremely loyal, attentive and protective partner who not only has modest food requirements, but also very little need for care. The Kanaan will willingly follow an owner who gives him the necessary freedom, but who at the same time shows him the necessary limits consistently and lovingly and who offers him enough tasks and exercise.