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Canaan Dog
History
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The Canaan Dog, the natural breed of Israel, dates back to Biblical times, originatingin the Land of Canaan. Drawings found on the tombs at Beni-Hassan, dating from 2200 to 2000 B.C., depict dogs that show an unmistakable resemblance to the Canaan Dog of today.

The Canaan Dog waas the guard and herd dog of the ancient Israelites, guarding their camps and flocks. They were plentiful in the region until the dispersion of the Israelites by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. As the Hebrew population dropped, the majority of the dogs sought refuge in the Negev Desert, a natural reservoir of Israeli wildlife. Avoiding extinction, they remained undomesticated for the most part, although some lived with the Bedouins and earned their keep by guarding the herds and camps. Some were also guards for the Druze on Mount Carmel.

This was how the Canaan Dog survived until the arrival of Dr. Rudolphina Menzel, who was asked by the Haganah (a Jewish self-defense organization) to develop a dog to guard the isolated Jewish settlements and supervise the build-up of war dogs for Israel's coming War of Independence. Remembering the Canaan Dog living in the desert, she knew only the fittest would have survived such hardships. As a breed the Canaan Dog proved highly intelligent and easily trainable, serving as sentry dogs, messengers, Red Cross helpers, and land mine locators. During World War II, Dr. Menzel recruited and trained more than 400 of the best dogs as mine detectors for the Middle East forces, and they proved superior to the mechanical detectors.

After the war, Dr. Menzel dedicated her time to helping the blind and in 1949 founded The Institute for Orientation and Mobility of the Blind, the only one of its kind in the Middle East. The entire Canaan Dog breeding program was concentrated within the Institute, where a solid foundation of kennel-raised Canaan Dogs was established that carried the name B'Nei Habitachon. The breed was first recognized by the Palestine Kennel Club, the forerunner of the Israel Kennel Club. By 1948, there were about 150 Canaan Dogs registered in their stud book.

On September 7, 1965, Ursula Berkowitz of Oxnard, California, imported the first four Canaan Dogs with the idea of establishing the breed in the United States. The Canaan Dog Club of America was formed the same year, and stud book records were kept from these first reports.

The Canaan Dog entered the Miscellaneous Class in June 1989, and dogs were registered in the AKC Stud Book as of June 1, 1997. The dogs began competing in conformation on August 12, 1997.





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