The Canaan dog is the official dog breed of Israel. It was originally bred to guard and herd the camps and flocks of the Israelites. This breed belongs to one of the oldest families of dogs, the spitz family. Although many dogs in the Middle East are similar in appearance and temperament, the distinct Canaan dog is found primarily in Israel. The breed is basically a feral dog (semi-wild evolved through natural selection). The term "feral" means once domesticated animal that slips back into the wild. Dr. Menzel is considered by many to be the founder of the breed, the one who re-domesticated the breed.
The breed possesses extremely keen sense of hearing and smell and can detect approaching intruders form a considerable distance. These dogs sometimes have difficulty adjusting to other pets in the household, which does not make them ideal family dogs. They best thrive in one-dog households as they do not get along with other dogs of the same sex. They are highly territorial and make execellent guard dogs.
The coat is double, straight, harsh, flat-lying with slight ruff. Ruffs are more pronounced in males. The undercoat is straight, short, soft, density being dependent on the climate. There are two color patterns: Predominantly white with or without additional patches of color; solid color with or without white trim. Color may range from black through all shades of brown, sandy to red or liver. The mask is a desired.