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Canaan Dog Breed Notes 2009
(As submitted by Ellen Minto to DOG WORLD and unedited.

Submitted 13th December 2009

I received the following from Bryna Comsky (Ha'Aretz Canaan Dogs, USA):

“As a long-time Canaan dog breeder on the other side of the Atlantic, I am writing to offer an opinion about the proposed breed standard modifications in the UK in regard to tail carriage, temperament and colour. Quotes from the Menzels' original breed standard and the CDCA's (Canaan Dog Club of America) parent club standard appear for reference.

The Menzels describe the tail as “set on high, curled over back when excited, as bushy as possible.” (My translation from PARIAHUNDE, 1960) There has always been a lot of leeway given to tail carriage and plumage in the US. The CDCA expands its description to call for a tail that is “Set moderately high. May be carried curled over the back when excited; limited to one full curl. When extended, the bone must reach to the hocks. Fault: tail which falls to either side of the back.” To further distinguish the appearance of the Canaan Dog from that of the German Shepherd Dog, whose appearance he sometimes resembles, the Menzels repeat, “Tail curled (ringed) over back when excited,” in the General Observations section of their Standard. My preference keeps the Menzels' description. I do not oppose the new proposed wording for the British Standard, “tail may be carried over the back when excited,” because it accommodates a worthy dog.

The proposed breed standard modifications in Great Britain call for a greater range of tail carriage, tighten the description of temperament, and add another colour pattern. The position of the tail on a Canaan dog at rest, posed, or on the move, indicates his state of mind and affect when coupled with other body language. When his “drive for self preservation” (phrase taken from PARIAHUNDE) comes into play, then his tail carriage reflects his cautious nature. Socialization, training and planned breeding prevent extreme behaviours, but a Canaan dog's innate natural intelligence makes him mistrustful and wary, and his tail carriage shows this trait at appropriate moments. I agree with using “wary” to replace “confident” in the temperament section because “confident” suggests courageous, a trait that doesn't fit with natural intelligence. A Canaan dog's demeanour will show his built-in wariness at some point, because that behaviour is an accepted part of his heritage. An alert, inquisitive, thinking Canaan dog carries a mistrustful outlook that neither suggests undue shyness or aggression, nor prevents him from showing his happy disposition. Granted, a tail carried curled over the back contributes to the image of a square profile, a pillar of breed type, yet leeway in tail carriage is useful at present. I also agree with the recommendation to replace “aloof” with “wary” because wary complements “mistrustful” in my opinion.

The Menzels emphasize that colour is of secondary importance to overall breed type, and disallow grey, brindle and solid black dogs with brown legs because those colours and patterns suggest impure breeding and a resemblance to European sporting dogs. To describe colour the Menzels write: “sand colours to red-brown, white, black. Large white areas are desirable with all colours. Pied patters of all kinds are permitted, as are white or black masks. Boston terrier design frequent” The appearance of tricolours is not addressed in their Standard, although in a 1972 interview with Dvora ben Shaoul, Prof. Dr. Menzel indicates her approval of the pattern. The CDCA's breed standard disqualifies “grey and/or brindle” and “all white dogs.”

Thank you for the input Bryna, but I must take exception to the statement that “the solid black dogs with brown legs...suggest impure breeding”. In Myrna Shiboleth's book THE ISRAEL CANAAN DOG, p. 29, pp3 she states, “Black-and-tan is apparently a definite genetic factor in the breed and has appeared in the offspring of parents of all colors.” So if this statement is true, then black and tan is not indicative of impure breeding. In any case, in my opinion in Canaans one should not be breeding for specific coat colour, but should breed for the total dog – excellence in type, conformation, and movement as well as correct Canaan temperament and character.

Whether one is a Christian or not, most people think of Christmas-time as a season of peace and good will. Please remember those who are shut-in and lonely, and those less fortunate than yourselves. Also be sure to let your Canaans join in the celebrations as thank you for all the love and loyalty they give you year round. Peace to all of you and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Submitted 7th December 2009

At the BUBA Championship Show, Mr Peter Jolley (Rubio) had 11 entries with 2 absentees. BD & BOB was awarded to Lorna Hastings' AM/LUX CH LORIANNA SIRIUS STAR (RE-IMP). RBD went to Julie Hughes' ANACAN FUTURE LEGEND ('Tiras'). BB was my ANACAN SHEEZA GEM ('Ruby') with RBB going to DANEHAVEN ASHKEZAR NAF TAF, a new puppy in the ring owned by Diana Collins, also new to the Canaan Dog Ring. Congratulations to all the winners, and to all who participated.

Jan McLeod kindly sent me the following information – “Of interest to those looking out for C.D. collectables or still in time for Christmas gifts THE CRYSTAL DOG range now includes a Canaan Dog. See WWW.NEILHARRISGLASS.COM or Tel: 01384 831120.” It is difficult to find Canaan Dog mementos, especially nice ones, so we always welcome information of this kind.

I had someone recently ask me what a breed specialist is. On the criteria for the CDC of the UK Judges' List for the A3 List (Breed Specialist) it says the following:
1. Must have a minimum of 7 years judging experience in the breed, and have the support of The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom.
2. To have judged a minimum of 15 different Canaan Dogs.
3. To have bred and/or owned a minimum of 3 Canaan Dogs.
4. To have attended a seminar given by a Kennel Club Accredited Trainer, and passed the relevant examination on Kennel Club Regulations and Judging Procedures.
5. To have attended a seminar given by a Kennel Club accredited Trainer on Conformation and Movement.
6. To have attended at least one breed specific seminar run in accordance with the relevant Kennel Club Code of Best Practice and passed an examination and/or assessment where applicable.
7. To have stewarded over a minimum of 12 days at shows.

To me, and this is just my personal opinion, a breed specialist should be so much more. The above criteria, approved by TKC, does not guarantee that an individual is truly a specialist (expert, boffin, authority) on any breed. Over the years I have come to know people (and I am speaking of other breeds as well as Canaans) who have owned a particular breed for years, may have exhibited and bred with some success, but the success was more luck than skill. I have also known people who were 'ordinary pet owners', but have kept a certain breed for years and, because they were so besotted with the breed, learned all they could about it. Because the latter would never meet the above criteria, they would never be acknowledged as a 'specialist', yet they may have more claim to that designation than some of those who are called specialists.

I'd be interested in hearing from others as to what they feel makes a person a breed specialist.

Submitted 2nd December 2009

Jan McLeod has informed me that the Utility Breeds Association of Wales open show will be held on Saturday 20th February 2010 at Tredegar. They have scheduled two classes for Canaan Dogs to be judged by Pam O'Loughlin. Entries close 19th January.  Schedules will be out at BUBA or are available from Sec. Mrs Ann Cadogan, 50 Candwr Park, Ponthir, Mon.  NP18 1HN Tel. 01633 420964 or Jan on email: dunlinedogs@aol.com.

Continuing from last week, The Indian Wolf, The Australian Dingo and The Indian "Pariah" Dog Was There a Southern Species of Canine? by Gautam Das

7. Morphologial Differences between the "pure" Pariah ("Indian Spitz") and the Indian wolf, C. L. pallipes.

a) Size: (i) The average size of the pure "Pariah" ranges from 16 inches (smallest females) to about 22-1/2 inches at the shoulder (largest males). It is worth comparing this size range with the size range of many present spitz breeds recognised by most kennel clubs, viz., the Basenji, the Finnish Spitz, the Norwegian Elkhound, and the Chow Chow. These breeds are not believed to have been selectively bred for size, and are, or were, once traditional hunting breeds. They are all in the same size range. Archaeologists have also come to the conclusion that the early dogs whose remains have been found with those of Neolithic man were uniform in size, about 20 inches at the shoulder.
(ii) The Indian Wolf is a taller animal standing 24 inches and over at the shoulder.

b) Body shape (or Conformation): The wolf is a longer bodied, longer-legged animal than the "pariah". It has considerable angulation at the stifle and hock, and its shoulders are more laid-back than those of the pariah dog. Consequently, it has more extension at the trot, which is therefore seemingly more fluid. The wolf is lightly built and appears almost "slab-sided".

The "pariah", though smaller than the wolf, is more robustly and compactly built than it, with a proportionately broad chest and well-sprung ribs. The short, broad loins and shorter legs (as compared to the wolf's) make the "pariah's" outline more compact and "square". The shoulders, stifles and hocks of this dog are much straighter than those of the wolf, and contribute to its entirely different gait at the fast trot, which it does with its head held high, unlike the wolf which trots with its head held parallel to the body.

c) Head Shape: The wolf 's head is longer and narrower, by comparison with the pariah'', the skull shape being akin to those of the Doberman and German Shepherd breeds of dogs. The "pariah's", on the other hand, is a broader wedge shape shared by most members of the spitz group of breeds.

d) Coat Length and Texture: The Indian wolf in its winter coat is typical of the wolf throughout the more northern part of its range, with long guard hairs and thick-undercoat, especially thick around the neck and longest on the shoulders and back. The Indian sub-species adapts to a very hot summer by shedding most of its hair to become almost short coated, with some long guard-airs on the neck, shoulders and back. In other words, taken as a species, the Indian wolf sub-species is a "hot-weather-resistant" variant of a cold-weather-adapted species. The "pariah" dog, on the other hand, judging from its coat, appears to be an animal primarily adapted to warm and hot weather, including a hot-and-humid climate, and has developed "sub-species" or variants that have adapted to colder climes by growing a thicker winter coat. This thicker coat is very different from that of the wolf's, being of a "stand-off" kind with a "plush" look, quite unlike that of a wolf's. This coat can be seen on dingoes from cold regions of Australia, as the winter coat of dingoes from more temperate areas, and on domestic breeds such as the Japanese Akita.

e) Coat Colour and Eye Colour:

(i) The wolf has a grizzled coat combining grey, brown and fawn/light fawn, though lighter and darker specimens are seen. The wolf always has "spectacles" or "eyebrows" or a "mask" of a lighter tawny colour, sometimes just a light spot over each eye, a typical feature of Canis lupus or the "grey" wolf throughout its range.

(ii) The pure "pariah" on the other hand, is generally a more uniform reddish-brown colour, lighter on the throat and undersides. This basic colour has variation in colour density, ranging from a pale creamy fawn or sandy to a very rich rusty-brown. The alternate colour is black. White markings are common from as little as white tips to the front toes and a white tip to the tail, to nearly 1/3rd white, distributed as on a Boston Terrier, (the colour pattern sometimes described as "Irish spotting"). These white markings are seen either on the reddish-brown specimens or on the black morphs. Indian wolves can be a very pale grizzled sandy-fawn, but they never have the same uniformly brown looking, brown with white markings or uniformly black, with or without white markings. The "pure" pariah's colour scheme is described in the breed standards of the Basenji and of the Canaan Dog of Israel; its basic reddish-brown colour is that of the dingo and the New Guinea Singing Dog also.

(iii) Eye Colour: The wolf's eye colour is yellow, ranging from a pale yellow to nearly orange. The "pariah" has brown eyes, with light brown eyes seen only in dogs with liver/brown/pink noses. (Most "Pariahs"have black noses).

(f) Summary: In general, visually comparing the Indian wolf and the Indian pariah, it appears that the wolf evolved in open country, and is built as a coursing animal, designed to prey on gazelle, hare, and antelope. The "pure" pariah, on the other hand, appears to have evolved on steeper or broken terrain, where its "square" build, short but arched loins, straight shoulders, hocks and stifles, provide it with the appropriate "natural" conformation, with its "springy" body, agility, and natural poise and balance. Its build speaks of its sprinting capability and gymnastic ability, compared to the wolf's build which indicates long-distance trotting ability as well as the capability for long flat-out pursuit of fleet open-country prey.

Locus of Domestication

The general supposition that the dog was domesticated (from a race of small wolves) in southern Asia, perhaps in Mesopotamia, could also be questioned in the light of the foregoing hypothesis that the "pariah" dingo group was not domesticated from wolves at all. Were these canids to have been domesticated from a distinct canid species, neither wolf nor jackal, then this means that all three canid species lived together in southern Eurasia, which is part of the distribution range of both the wolf and common, or golden, Jackal, c aureus. If so, what ecological niche did the ancestral canid of the "pariah"-dingo group occupy in the wild?

For argument's sake, should a sympatric coexistence of all three canids, each fitting different ecological niches, not have been possible, could the originator canid of the "pariah"-dingo have lived elsewhere, say in Africa?

It could thus have been an inhabitant of a region where the only other members of the genus Canis could have been species of jackals. It is a thought perhaps worth entertaining. Was this ancestral canid perhaps an animal in ecological terms, somewhere between a jackal and a wolf, sharing some of the characteristics of both-diunal and pack-forming like the wolf, a scavenger and opportunistic hunter like the jackal?

Why the "Pariah" should be named the "Indian Spitz"

The term "Pariah" is a derogatory term, more or less denoting "outsider (generally despised)". But that is not the primary reason to abandon a commonly used term.

The real reason is that the term "Pariah" embraces all ownerless, free-living dogs, which in the cities and many towns of India, are getting increasingly mongrelised through interbreeding with European breeds of dogs, more of which are being kept as house pets than before. Soon, it will cause confusion if both the "pure", original, primitive-type native dog and the nondescript mongrels of the cities were to be described using the same name.

Use of the new name "Indian Spitz" suggested by the author will serve to separate the pure "pariah" from the mongrel, AND to establish its place in the Basenji-Canaan Dog-Indian Spitz-South East Asian primitive-type dogs-New Guinea Singing Dog-Australian dingo continuum of "Southern- type" domestic dogs.

India: The Best Location for Canine-Origin Research

It is believed that many clues towards resolving the questions about the wild progenitor(s) of the domestic dogs, Canis familiaris can be found through research on genetic material available in India. We have today:- (a) The presumed ancestor, the Indian or South Asian wolf, Canis lupus pallipes.

(b) The primitive "pariah"-dingo type of dog, the "Indian Spitz", possibly a good representative of the original domestic dog.

(c) An old, "created" breed, most probably descended solely from the Indian wolf, the Rampur Hound, one of the Indian sight-hound breeds which has yellow eyes like the wolf, and also breeds once a year.

(d) The Tibetan, or Woolly, wolf, Canis lupus chanco, the wolf of the high Himalayas, which some authorities believe to be the ancestor of various Oriental breeds such as the Chow Chow.

(e) An old, developed "type" of dog, the Himalayan Sheepdog, a close cousin of the Tibetan Mastiff, and probably also derived from the Tibetan wolf, which in many cases also breeds only once a year.

(f) The Jackal Canis aureus.

(g) The Dhole, Cuon alpinus, in two distinctly different variants, one from the jungles of the plains and foothills, one from the bleak, barren, alpine regions of the Himalayas.


The continuing mystery about the precise wild origins of the domestic dog, pondered upon by both Darwin and Linnaeus, may not be resolved soon. DNA analyses, cranial capacity studies, archaeological evidence, and other methods of investigation may together provide the answers eventually. But some of the visual and other evidence from India seems to refute the commonly-held view that the original domestic dog and the dingo are both descended from Canis lupus palipes, the wolf of the Indian plains. There most probably was, therefore, a southern "race" of canid, a wolf like canid species that was the original ancestor of the first domestic dogs.

Submitted 26th November 2009

I'm writing these breed notes with one eye on the whelping box as my Bea (Anacan Glory Bea) is about to whelp her first litter imminently. It is Thanksgiving Day back home in the States, and I will end my day very tired, as I've been up all night with Bea, but I will also be very thankful for my new puppies, amongst my other blessings.

The following is the continuation from last week of the article The Indian Wolf, The Australian Dingo and The Indian "Pariah" Dog Was There a Southern Species of Canine?, by Gautam Das. I hope you are finding it as interesting as I did.

Major Points Militating Against a Wolf Descent

1. The "pure" Pariah, or what I would prefer to call the "Indian Spitz", has existed as a free-living canine in India for many centuries, in close proximity to the Indian Wolf. Wolves even today occasionally kill and eat such free-living dogs; the opportunities for pariah dogs to meet both jackals and wolves when eating animal carcasses dumped outside villages has existed and continues to exist. Under such circumstances, the "pariah" could have turned feral centuries ago. Had they done so, and had they been descended from the same wolf sub-species (as is surmised), the "Indian Spitz" as a physically distinct type could well have disappeared, with the once-domestic dog merging with the progenitor and resuming the parental shape, size, head shape, coat length and texture and coat colour. But they continue to remain very different looking, with the "pure" pariah resembling both the Basenji and the dingo, and our wolf resembling a very lean and somewhat greyhoundish German Shepherd Dog with yellow eyes.

2. Had the free-living pariah, living on its own in man's company, mating randomly without any control or influence by man, and selected for all physical and mental qualities by nature alone, reverted to a "feral" state it would not be surprising -– two other domestic animals have already done so in Australia, the water buffalo and the camel. But had it done so in India itself, it would have had to hone its survival skills in an India where larger carnivores dominated all the available habitat: the lion ruled the open grassland and savannah till fairly recently, the lion and the leopard shared scrub jungle, and the tiger lorded it in the jungle, with the forest leopards treading very carefully indeed. All possible canid habitats also already had canids-- -the wolf in the opener areas, the dhole in the frost and the nocturnal jackal almost everywhere. If it had indeed been descended from the wolf, what would have been more natural than for it to have re-joined and merged with its ancestor, the wolf. But it has not. Why? Because for a start, it is probably not descended from the wolf.

3. The pariah or "Indian Spitz" has remained a familiar of man, living with man in India's villages and towns out of its own choice, in spite of many centuries of opportunity to turn feral, and no shortage of food or game till the middle of this century, when the Indian population explosion began, completely altering the countryside. Even had it chosen to remain a "domesticated version" of the Indian wolf, it could have interbred frequently with the wolf, so that in wolf-inhabited areas the pariahs would have shown some wolf characteristics in their appearance. Yet even in the same habitat, pariah dogs, wolves and jackals look different from each other, have different sizes, conformation and gait, with the wolf and jackal sharing a somewhat similar coat length and texture (thin coat with sparse guard hairs in summer, a thick "northern" wolf-type coat with an undercoat in winter), and the dog having an entirely different coat texture and length. Then again, coat colour and colour variants, the very characteristic distribution of white in the coat of the pariah dog, when it occurs (called "Irish spotting" by some dog scientists), occurring in nearly about 40% of individuals), is completely different from that of the wolf.

Lastly, neither Indian folklore nor recorded history before the Europeans, nor any accounts by British naturalists and zoologists, sportsmen, or administrators from the 18th to the 20th centuries, mention wolf-dog miscegenation as a common feature. The Indian wolf and the pure Indian "pariah" are so different looking that not even a casual observer can have any difficulty in distinguishing between them. In rural areas where the wolf exists it was not an unfamiliar creature; it was a known and common pest because of its predation on sheep, goats and calves, and its propensity to turn into a child lifter. It has been a well-known animal for centuries and yet nowhere have dogs and wolves been known to regularly mix with each other genetically. Surely strange, if they are variants of the same species. By way of comparison, the wild water buffalo interbreeds with the domestic wherever it can in our country.

4. If the pariah dog and the wolf had been domestic and wild variants of the same species, as would be the case if the pariah were indeed descended from the wolf, then there should have been a great deal of social interaction between them, in addition to interbreeding. These would, logically, include the establishment of a "territory" by each village "pack" of pariah dogs around it home village, which they actually do establish, and attempts to defend it from the wolves of the surrounding countryside by regular patrolling of their "marked" territory. Wolves do this, and the village pariah dogs are antagonistic to those of the neighbouring villages, but wolf-dog territorial conflict has not entered rural Indian traditional knowledge, in spite of the fact that everywhere in the Indian plains the wolf lives in the proximity of man and the pariah dogs of his villages.

5. The free-living pariah dog, in spite of thousands of years of opportunity, has not merged with the wolf, supposedly its own species, nor begun to resemble it in size, shape, coat type or colour. If changes caused by "domestication" were the only explanation for this fact, where physical conditions made it necessary, the pariah should have evolved back towards the parental wolf type. Thus the hunting strain of this pariah type, which unlike the average "pariah" is a respected member of its aboriginal human community, should have gradually developed a more wolf-like build, resembling somewhat the wolves which are even today living wild in the same area. A truly "feral" pariah, the dingo of the cold Snowy Mountains of Australia, should have reverted to a coat type and texture similar to that of a sub-tropical, Indian wolf in winter, or that of a slightly more northern sub-species of wolf, the Mexican wolf, or that of the Spanish wolf. Similarly, the dingo of the hot, arid, interior of Australia, which is leaner and lighter than other dingoes, should have looked almost exactly like the Arabian wolf, C. I. Arabs, but even there the dingo looks dingo-like rather than wolf-like.

Is this point alone not sufficient evidence to justify a theoretically separate genetic origin from the wolf? Widely separated taxa of entirely different genera are known to develop a similar body form and size when occupying identical ecological niches on different continents (convergent evolution). Yet here what is believed to be the SAME species continues to look different while denying itself the opportunity of occupying the same ecological niche in similar climate and terrain. Has domestication "sealed" or "frozen" the dingo design?

6. The Indian sub-continent is home even today to a large number of wild species whose domestic descendants are found world-wide in many cases. These are the Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus, the Wild Boar, Sus scrofa, the Urial or Red Sheep, Ovis orientalis, the Wild Goat, Capra Aegagrus, the Wild Cat, Fells sylvestris the wild Water Buffalo, Bubalus bubalis, and even the Wild Yak, Bos grunniens.

The Greylag Goose, Anser anser and the Mallard, Anas platrhynchos are winter visitors. In each case, the wild species is either recognised as the wild version or as the progenitor of the domestic by local human communities, or has a name that is the same as that of the domestic, prefixed by the adjective for "wild". Why is this not so in the case of the dog and the wolf? The wolf has been known to mankind from even before our "civilisation", as a competitor for prey, and later as a threat to our flocks (the sheep was mankind's second domesticated animal), while the dog is man's oldest domestic animal, of whose association with the early humans of the Indian subcontinent there is ample archaeological evidence. Surely, had they been the same species, our folklore and traditional knowledge, going back to about 2,000 BC would have acknowledged this fact, IF fact it was.

To be continued..

Submitted 19th November 2009

I find it troubling that Canaan Dog entries have dropped so dramatically after some of us worked so hard for so many years to get classes for the breed. Due to personal circumstances, Richard and I have not been able to get to very many shows for the last few years but we go to as many as we are able to. But surely our absence should not make such a dent in the entries? I feel bad the Dr Geoffrey Curr, a judge who has a genuine interest in the breed, had only 1 entry at SWKA, Anacan Shoshannah For Amicitia ('Rosie'), owned by Patrick and Barbara Gold. Though a sole entry, 'Rosie' was a worthy BOB, but still it isn't much fun to win when you are the only one there. Can I ask that those who purport to love the breed please get your dogs into the ring so people can see them?

Richard Minto reports that Discover Dogs was a big success. He felt the larger hall was an improvement as there is now more aisle space between the booths. Richard set up the Canaan Dog booth on Friday night, and he and 'Ruby' (Anacan Sheeza Gem) were there to greet the public on both Saturday and Sunday, as was Liz de Boisgelin. Martin Moulding and his 'Manny' (Anacan White Knight) helped man the booth on Saturday, while Patrick and Barbara Gold with their 'Athtar' (Anacan Athtar) and 'Rosie' were there to help the public discover Canaan Dogs on the Sunday. Richard said all the dogs were on their best behaviour and made a very good impression on the booth's visitors.

The fact that the Canaan Dog, a pariah dog, is a member of the spitz family often causes confusion. People assume that they should be like a northern spitz and have their tailed permanently curled over their back and carry a heavy coat. The Canaan is actually a member of the southern spitz family, which is different to the arctic sledge-dog type. I will be serialising an interesting article by Gautam Das, starting today, which refers to the Canaan Dog a few times and will help explain these differences. Mr Das appeared in the television programme, IN SEARCH OF THE FIRST DOG, in which he spoke about his theory.

The Indian Wolf, The Australian Dingo and The Indian "Pariah" Dog Was There a Southern Species of Canine?

Ms Bernice Walters' book "The Company of Dingoes", (Australian Native Dog Conservation Society Ltd., Bargo, NSW, 1995), practically starts with the question, 'Is there a southern race of Canine?"

Perhaps for want of sufficient evidence to the contrary, the dingo (and much of the entire world population of the domestic dog) is believed to be wholly or partly descended from the South Asian or Indian Wolf, Canis lupus pallipes, still found wild in Southern Iran, lowland and Southern Pakistan, and India south of the Himalayas, (the upper Himalayas regions of India are inhabited by another wolf sub-species, the Tibetan Wolf, Canis lupus chanco, sometimes called the "Wooly Wolf"). Even Dr. L.K. Corbett, author of an authoritative book on the dingo, speaks of "the monospecific origin of dingoes from the Indian wolf".

Dr. Corbett, and also Drs. J .P. Scott and J. L. Fuller, co-authors of "Genetics and the Social Behaviour of the Dog", believe that the Pariah dog of India is one of a group of dingo-like canids found in a belt extending from Israel to Vietnam", southwards through South East Asia towards Australia, and northwards through China towards Japan. In other words, the Australian dingo and the India Pariah dog are both fairly closely related in addition to sharing a similar appearance. But, living in India and having seen both our Indian wolf and our common native pariah dog I am forced to conclude that the pariah dog (and thus the related Australian dingo) could not be descended from the Indian wolf. By implication, therefore, there was a southern species of canine distinct from the wolf, though closely related to it, and there IS a southern "race" of domestic dog.

If my contention can be proved to be true, science will have to separate Canis familiaris, the domestic dog in its pure, original, or primitive- type form, from the wolf, Canis lupus.

The average domestic dog of the northern hemisphere appears to be a combination of both these species, while some breeds, types and feral forms appear to be either genuine representatives of the original southern canine, or derived therefrom. The Basenji breed from Africa, certain Mediterranean breeds such as the Ibizan Hound, the Cirneco dell'Etna and the Portuguese Podengo, The Canaan Dog of Israel, the unadulterated "pure" form of the Indian Pariah, and the dingo of tropical and sub-tropical northern Australia, could be considered modern examples of this southern race, based on physical characteristics alone. But first it is necessary to look at the evidence for a clear differentiation between the "dingo-pariah group" and the Indian wolf.

Differences Between the Dingo-Pariah type of Dog and the Indian Wolf
In order to examine the differences between the Indian wolf and the Dingo (and its cousin, the Indian "pariah"), it is necessary to understand the "pariah" dog a little.

The "Pariah" "Pariah" dogs are the common, native dogs, and until the advent of the Europeans in force in the 18th century, were almost the only type of dogs in India - a uniform type found from west to east, and from the base of the Himalayas down to the southern tip of the peninsula. They were a free-living, ownerless but domestic dog inhabiting man's villages, towns, and cities, living primarily as scavengers on man's wastes, which in India often includes dead livestock whose carcasses are even today skinned and thrown onto the dump. There were also similar- looking dogs with a few aboriginal forest-dwelling communities, Proto- Australoid peoples related to the aborigines of South East Asia, New Guinea and Australia. These dogs were hunting dogs, used to find, track and either drive forest game into nets, or more commonly to raid, track and pursue deer and bring it to bay for the following hunters.

This "pariah", physically similar to the "pariahs" or native dogs of Southern Asia and South East Asia, and also to Australia's feral dog, the dingo, is believed to have been the hunting companion of Stone Age man as he spread across this region. These dogs were probably closest in temperament to the hunting types described above, still to be found with a few Indian aboriginal communities. The word "pariah" has a derogatory connotation, and is applied to someone not part of civilised society, and thus the term "pariah dog" is used today to denote all free-living, ownerless dogs living in human habitations. These dogs are often mongrels, especially in the cities and towns, where pet dogs of European breeds are also present. To separate the mongrels from the "pure Indian native dog", I would like to use the name "Indian Spitz" for the "pure native", since the true unadulterated pariah and the dingo have both been described by various canine authorities as members of the Spitz group, which includes the African breed, the Basenji. Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr., a scientist at the University of Georgia, USA, who has been researching primitive-type, native dogs around the world, has described this "pariah"-dingo type as the "Long Term pariah Morph". In spite of the various names possible, we will exclude free-living mongrels, which are also part of the collective generic term "pariah" in India, from the scope of this discussion hereafter.

There were, even before the arrival of the Europeans (first the Portuguese, then the Dutch, the French, and finally the British), a few other breeds of native Indian dogs, other than the pure "pariah" dog- these were all sight-hounds of greyhound or whippet type, they all had owners, they were developed as breeds and bred by humans and they all looked very different from the pure "pariah" type. These sight-hound breeds are, in all probability, actually descended from our Indian wolf, a tall, leggy, greyhound-like sub-species of wolf, Canis lupus.

The last, and possibly most important thing to note about the "pure pariah" (="Indian Spitz"=Long Term Pariah Morph=pure Indian native dog), and about its cousin the Australian dingo, is that its characteristic shape, size, coat type and coat colour was not created by human being but instead evolved through natural selection alone. In spite of this, it is remarkably uniform in type across a vast region covering South Asia and Australasia (south-east Asia and Australia). This could only be possible if the natural "role" it fulfils is best served by its present size, shape and coat-type. To be sure, there are differences in build, or "conformation", and in coat type, amongst the feral members of this group, i.e. the dingo and the New Guinea Singing Dog, but these can easily be ascribed to the effects of terrain and climate on a "Wild" lifestyle very different from that of the "domestic" pariah.

To be continued..

Submitted 29th October 2009

Discover Dogs at Earls Court will soon be here – Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th November. Canaan Dogs will, once again, have a breed booth there. So if you have still to see your first Canaan Dog 'in the flesh', be sure to come by the Canaan Dog booth and say hello. You will have an opportunity to meet some dogs and to talk to owners and find out all about this little known breed. It's a fantastic event with a lot of fun and interesting demonstrations to see, as well as an opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping for your dog-loving friends. I hope many of you will be there.

Lorna Hastings wrote that the Canaan Dog awards on the World Show website are incorrect and that it was her Lorianna Sirius Star who was actually BOB and not as reported. I checked the World Show site today and it is still showing David Hardt's bitch, Ich Berish De Solemel, as BOB. It is disappointing that they have not made the correction. Again it shows how well run, and reported, our shows are here in the UK as when an error occurs in the reported results, which isn't often, it is quickly corrected.

Submitted 22nd October 2009

The Canaan Dog is one of the few breeds still found in the wild today. It was designed by nature for survival, and survival is its strongest instinct. The breed has been used almost exclusively by the Israeli military for landmine detection and patrol work, and a number of Israelis have a Canaan Dog as a home guard dog. Outside of Israel, the breed's primary function has been as a companion dog. A number of them have found their way into the show ring, obedience ring, and agility and herding trials. However, it has only been in the last year that I have personal knowledge of some being used as working herding dogs. The late Larry Myers and partner, Michelle Harrington in Canada trained their Canaans to work with both sheep and cows. When they moved from Toronto to Alberta, their dogs started helping one of their new neighbours with herding his cows. Michelle wrote the other day, “I have been busy working the dogs on their cattle duties and in a few weeks the cattle will be off to market. I have been also working on brace work with Cybelle and pup, Ash, who have been awesome with working the cattle in driving them to the rotational graze and watering hole. I have been most impressed with Ash, who is now off the fence line and been trusted to drive and gather over 50 head of cattle. Macc has now started a side career - he has recently been contracted to tend our neighbour's flock of 300 sheep. Their Pyr (Great Pyrenees) was letting some of the ewes up for grabs to the coyotes, of which we have many. He has been spending several days out there guarding and the neighbours want to keep him - but, I can't let them, so sounds like their next investment is a Canaan dog.”

Another woman who lives in California has her Canaans working with her dairy goats. She wrote: “As to the herding, these dogs 'herd' like none other I've seen. For one, they don't push the goats like a border collie or other 'drover' type dog (Corgi, OE Sheepdog, etc.) and they aren't really LGD either like Pyr or Anatolians. What they do is set themselves at different points around the herd and watch, getting up and gently moving (almost nonchalantly) towards goats that are headed 'out of bounds' and the goats turn back without knowing they've been herded. When we want the herd to move, the dogs just get up and slowly wander towards where the goats need to go and the goats go without being rushed or left behind. When the herd is threatened, though, the dogs move VERY quickly to interpose themselves between the herd and the noise or object or thing that posed the threat. I find it fascinating to watch the teamwork between my two original Canaan Dogs; they watch each other and one OR the other will move towards the herd or the intruder while the other takes over the larger territory, watching each other's back as it were. When people are on property and my kids are out and about the dogs position themselves between the kids and the people while always watching the goats, gates and 'intruders'. One will shift position and then the other will adjust and they seem to always be watching while seeming to just be laying around in a non-threatening way.”

The above stories bear witness to the Canaan Dog's versatility and intelligence and I found hearing about these working Canaans very exciting. I certainly would love a chance to observe them in action. Better yet, if I had the time and opportunity, and would be interested in finding out how my own Canaans would behave around livestock. From the photo the woman posted, one of the Canaans in California looks very much like my 'Lottie' (Anacan Whole Lotta Class). As 'Lottie' is my most obedient Canaan, I would like to think she too could do the job given the chance. I'm sure such an opportunity to work would benefit any dog's health and happiness and be a true example of fitness for function.

Submitted 15th October 2009

At the World Show in Bratislava this month, judge Norman B Deschuymere had an entry of 10 Canaan Dogs, 3 of which went from the UK. World Winner Bitch & BOB, excellent 1, CAC, CACIB, was the German bitch, ICH BERISH DE SOLEMEL, owned by David Hardt. World Winner Dog, excellent 1, CAC, CACIB was awarded to Lorna Hastings' LORIANNA SIRIUS STAR, flying the flag for the UK. CHEFA DE SOLEMEL, owned by Alison Byrne of the UK, but shown under the breeder's name, Laurence Aries of France, received a Very Good 1, while the other UK entry, CHANIAH DE SOLEMEL AVEC NIZZANA, owned by Ivan Kaye, Alison Byrne & Anne Barclay received a Very Good 2. I'm sure Lorna, Alison & Anne enjoyed their experience and I hope that they had some time for sightseeing.

I see at next year's World Show in Denmark, Canaans will be judged on Saturday, 26th June by a Swiss judge, Wera Hübenthal. The entry fee of £70 makes you realise what great value our own Crufts is with an entry fee of less than a third of this, and a venue and organisation that can compete with any World Show. Well done to our KC!

After enquiring of Show Chairman, Bob Gregory, we were told that there was a printer's error in the Manchester Championship Show 2010 schedule. Miss Lorna Hastings will be judging 3 classes of Canaan Dogs, and not 6 as printed.

Submitted 30th September 009

I'm afraid I have some more sad news this week. On the 16th September, both Patrick & Barbara Gold's 'Simba' (Anacan Simba) and David & Julia Close's 'Leah' (Anacan Touch of Class At Arikara) were released from this world.

Patrick & Barbara acquired 'Simba' after meeting Richard and I and 'Simba's' parents, 'Jasmine' and 'Digger' at Discover Dogs at Earl's Court. They were just starting to get over the loss of their previous dog, a mixed-breed, so they entered into the relationship a bit hesitantly. 'Simba' started the Golds' love affair with the Canaan Dog and they eventually acquired two more from us – 'Athtar' and 'Rosie'. The three Canaans went almost everywhere with them. Alas, age started making inroads on 'Simba', and at age 13-1/2 the Golds had to say goodbye to their beloved friend.

Leah was only 6 years old and had been suffering from Addison's disease, but to look at her, you would never believe she was ill. She was a lovely example of a Canaan Dog and with limited showing, won a BP and numerous RBBs. She was BB & BOS at the 2006 Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom Open Show under Mr Terry Medlow; BB at the 2006 BUBA show under breed specialist, Rob McLeod; and BOB at The National under Miss Jean Lanning. 'Leah' made Julia feel safe when Dave worked nights and provided them both with love and companionship and was a friendly 'big sister' to their Tibetan Spaniels.

We send our deepest sympathies to both the Golds and the Closes on their loss.

Submitted 24th September 009

I received some very upsetting news that Larry Myers of Alberta, Canada has died after a horrible accident. He had undergone surgery to repair a broken back, broken rib, and other injuries sustained when a piece of machinery he was using to put up fencing fell on him and pinned him down.  Tests were done at the hospital over the weekend, and surgery was scheduled for this past Monday.  Everyone expected him to come through it well, and to begin his recovery at home soon.  He had been joking with the nurses and in good spirits.  His partner, Michelle Harrington, was with him when he died.  She is still in shock, as are all of us who knew him. Larry and Michelle did so much to help promote the breed in Canada. They started the Canaan Club of Ontario prior to their move to Alberta. Larry developed a very informative website which incorporated information obtained from all he respected in the breed. He accomplished so much with his own 3 Canaan Dogs – Macc, Cybelle and Ash. The girls, Ha'Aretz Gimel Northern Confidence (“Cybelle”) and D&J Ha'Aretz Northern Alchemy (“Ash”) were his show dogs, with Cybelle finishing her Canadian championship handily, gaining the first group placement for a Canaan in Canada in the process. Ash was his newest youngster and shows great promise. Macc (JK Maccabee Northern Warrior) is a fantastic herding dog, and Larry was using him to help local farmers round up their cows. Larry was always willing to share his training methods and always willing to learn. Larry will be greatly missed. His death should remind us of the fragility of life. It should remind us to focus on the important things -- love and friendships and helping others. Our sympathies go to Michelle. Macc, Cybelle, Ash, please look after her.

Vanessa Cox presided over the Canaan Dog ring at Darlington. She had 10 entries with 1 absentee – my Ruby who was in standing heat on the day. Miss Cox's BD & BOB was Lorna Hastings' AKC & Lux Ch Lorianna Sirius Star. RBD was my AKC Ha'aretz Hayyim For Anacan (Imp USA). BB was Lorna's Lorianna Call Me Madam; RBB was Patrick & Barbara Gold's K Anacan Shoshannah For Amicitia; and BV was Lorna's Int Lux Ger Ch Lorianna Lucky Star.

It is exciting for the breed that there have been some new imports over the last year or so. At Darlington I was able to see for the first time one of the new French imports who came over from the Laurence Aries Solemel kennels in France. Laurence has some lovely Canaans. When reading Mrs Aries website, I was pleased to see that under her breed information with regard to Canaan character and temperament she has the following: “Apart from the few people he knows, respects and loves, the Canaan Dog watches the world with great suspicion..... He hates being touched by strangers, and he will inspect while remaining out of reach.” She goes on to say, “It is important for puppies and young dogs to be socialized as much as possible to develop self-confidence. Between 5 months and 18 months, many of Canaan go through a period of "hyper suspicion." As they get older, they will have more confidence in themselves and their great distrust will disappear.” I don't think that people always believe that I am talking about the general character of Canaan Dogs found worldwide, when I say the same thing, but rather that I am making excuses for Canaan behaviour in the show ring here. You can read much the same description of Canaan character on the website of Myrna Shiboleth (Shaar Hagai), who worked with the breed's founder, Dr Menzel. I am not ashamed of the natural Canaan Dog character and I do not feel we should pretend it is not anything other than what it is, nor do we have to make excuses for it. As I've said before, people look for different things in their dogs, but if they want a forward, waggy-tailed, outgoing breed, the Canaan is not the one for them.

Submitted 17th September 009

I was delighted to get the hip scores back on my Anacan Kefira ('Keffy') and Anacan Sheeza Gem ('Ruby') and finding out that they both have received a score of 4 (2/2), which is the lowest hip score for a Canaan Dog in the UK to-date. Keffy is by my Anacan Masterpiece out of Anacan Whole Lotta Class, and Ruby is by my Anacan Ziggy and out of my Anacan Sheez The One.

I had an enquiry from a woman in Denmark and she said she was confused by the contradictory information she has read on various Canaan Dog websites. One website she quoted from as an example says that Canaan Dogs “...are typically too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, Canaan Dogs are not a good choice for you. For the same reason, Canaan Dogs should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised.” She takes this to mean that you cannot teach them to not bark. Then another says “It is natural for a Canaan Dog to bark at anything that is different or strange or that they are unsure of or when they feel it necessary to defend their territory. So, yes, they can bark quite a lot. However, they usually bark to get your attention, as pack leader, so that you can come and deal with the problem. Because of this they can be taught, through patience and reassurance, to stop barking when told.” The first website also says that Canaans do not get along with other animals, while the second site says that they can get along with other pets.

People usually speak from their own experience, and they are certainly entitled to do so, but when they decide to disseminate general information about a breed in a public forum they should say that this is only from their own experience. I wish people would be more responsible when passing information to the general public, whether verbally, using printed material, or on their websites, and use information gleaned from many peoples' experiences, not just their own, particularly using the knowledge and experience of those who have been in the breed a long time and have owned a number of Canaan Dogs. This is a where a breed club can also be a great resource. I find that it is often the 'newbies', or people with limited experience, who seem to put themselves about as 'experts' and give their version of the facts, which often are not entirely correct. For any breed to progress, those who call themselves fanciers of that breed, in this case Canaan Dogs, need to work together, keep open lines of communication, and give a unified front and provide consistent information about the breed. Otherwise, they do the breed a great disservice and can set the breed back and cause great confusion, as they have to my Danish enquirer. (BTW, the second website my enquirer quoted from is correct.)

Submitted 3rd September 009

I received the following from Richard Minto, Chairman of the Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom: “Considering the present climate in relation to dog health problems, you would think that TKC would support the process of prevention rather than cure. Over the past 10 years the CDC of the UK has tried several times to amend the breed standard to take the emphasis off aesthetics and looks, and focus on the original purpose and diversity found in the breed. Hopefully, the positive results of our last SGM (the 5th held over the last 10 years, all of which voted in favour of these amendments to the standard) will finally persuade TKC to make the changes to the breed standard which will help to ensure that the Canaan Dog remains the healthy, natural breed it is, still able to perform its original purpose in life. Or do we have to wait until we have a serious health problem, like so many other breeds, before TKC will pay us any attention?”

At Welsh KC Mr D Ericsson had an entry of 5 Canaan Dogs. BD & BOB was Anacan Call Me Ishmael At Dunline ('Jacob'), owned by Rob & Jan McLeod. RBB was Julie Hughes' Anacan Future Legend ('Tiras'). BB was Chaniah De Solemel Avec Nizzana (imp Fra) ('Megan'), owned by Ivan Kaye, Alison Byrne & Anne Barclay and not as previously published in the show reports, and RBB was Alison Byrne's Chefa De Solemel (imp Fra) – sorry, I don't know her call name.

Submitted 24th August 2009

Mr Chris Quantrill judged Canaan Dogs at recent East Midland Canine Society Open Show, the first time they have offered classes for the breed. As it was held on a Thursday evening, there were only 4 entries. BOB was awarded to my Chancos Charmani At Anacan (Imp Swe). While gaiting her Canaan, Barbara Gold had an unfortunate tumble which resulted in a deep cut between two of the fingers on her right hand. So bad was the cut that she was hospitalised overnight. The surgeon had to give her a general anaesthetic in order to clean the wound which was packed with the sand that made up the flooring of the horse arena at which the show was held, and then put in 12 sutures. Fortunately no tendons were severed, and Barbara is recuperating, but will need physio for her hand. We all wish her a speedy recovery.

The head is a very important feature of breed type, so much so that an incorrect head can make a dog unrecognisable as the breed it is. The breed standard describes the Canaan Dog head thusly, “Skull well proportioned, wedge shaped of medium length, appearing broader due to low set ears. Skull somewhat flattened between ears. Stop shallow but defined. Length from muzzle to stop approximately equal to length from stop to occiput. Nose black. Lips tight and well pigmented.” In her breed standard of 1966, the breed's founder, Dr Menzel describes the head in more detail as follows: “Well proportioned and noble, not at all heavy and clumsy, but not of Greyhound-like over delicacy. The head is blunt, wedge-shaped, of medium length, not too broad in region of forehead, but appearing broader through ears set on low. The distance from the point between the eyes to the occipital bone is distinctly longer than the distance between the ear roots, but without striking disproportion. Praeorbital depression better absent or only slightly marked. Stop slightly marked, skull not domed, but also not Greyhound-like flat. Frontal furrow and middle furrow of the back of the head slightly marked. Muzzle sturdy, of moderate length and deep and of proportional breadth; not at all cube shaped or of Greyhound-like appearance. The relation between the length of the upper skull and the length of the muzzle is approximately 1:1; deviation must be in favour of the muzzle length. That anatomic shape of the head resembles mostly (to compare it with the well-known sporting breeds) to the head of the Collie, but it differs from it by the shorter muzzle and more powerful upper skull, also by the low, broad set ears. The lips stiff and short. A slight lengthening is tolerated with powerful male dog heads.”

In the USA there are lines whose heads are not at all like that described by Dr Menzel, with skulls being narrower and muzzles longer and snipier than is desired, but unfortunately, this head type is supported by the AKC standard. These Canaans do not look like the Canaan Dog found in Israel, or anywhere else for that matter. Incorrect heads have appeared elsewhere, but they are not being purposely bred for and so do not appear on a consistent basis. However, as new lines are imported, some containing Bedouin dogs in their pedigree, it is a worry that bad traits may be introduced to the breed. Every time you introduce a new dog to your line you risk introducing problems you didn't have before. This is where, in my opinion, linebreeding is superior to outcrossing – you have far more insight and control over what type will appear in the resulting puppies, because it is rare that when you outcross that you are given the whole picture of what can be expected. I do hope that as new lines are introduced in this country, we do not lose the beautiful type we have come to recognise as a correct Canaan Dog in the UK. Even Israeli judge, Avi Marshak, who judged this year's Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom Open Show, stated that the Canaan Dogs he saw at the show, in particular his BIS, were superior to those in Israel -- a compliment indeed. As we seek to introduce new lines to our genepool, let us be careful not to lose what we already have.

Submitted 20th August 2009

The Canaan judge at Bournemouth, Richard Kinsey, had an entry of 9 Canaans with 3 absentees, including me I'm afraid. I was sorry to have to miss the show, as I have always liked the Bournemouth show. BD & BOB was awarded to Lorna Hastings' AKC & Lux Ch Lorianna Sirius Star, who is having another excellent year. RBD was Rob & Jan McLeod's Anacan Call Me Ishmael At Dunline; BB was Hastings' Lorianna Call Me Madam and RBB went to Alison Byrne's Chefa De Solemel (imp Fra). Well done to all!

The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom held its annual Fun Day on the 16th August, graciously hosted by Christine and Andrew Goldspink. Christine had major surgery less than a fortnight prior to the event, but that didn't stop her from cheering on the games and helping supervise the barbeque. The CDC must be blessed as the weather was once again simply gorgeous -- warm and sunny and just right socialising and having a barbeque. One of the highlights of the day is the fancy dress competition, which is always good entertainment. The theme for this year's competition was “Fairy Tale Characters” and it was judged by long-time club member, Ann Hutchinson. Ann awarded my “Ruby” 1st place for her great impersonation of Tinkerbell – complete with wings. 2nd place went to “Ruby's” little friend, my Tibetan Spaniel, “Chance”, who came dressed as Peter Pan. 3rd place went to Andy & Tina Mackay's “Baz” who was a fearsome pirate, and 4th place went to Ceri Collen-Boot's “Hope”, who was dressed as the Big Bad Wolf. New club members, Natalie & Stephen Leader, who are patiently waiting for a Canaan puppy of their own, borrowed our “Tara” and Christine's “Summer” in order to take part in the games. They were quite impressed with how all the Canaans in the fancy dress just stood there and allowed their silly owners to dress them up and humiliate them – something that those of you who haven't a close relationship with a Canaan Dog would probably also be surprised by. We had a table completely covered by, and groaning under the weight of the raffle prizes. Ceri and hubby, Gary, once again brought along some of her lovely plants and seeds to sell on behalf of the club. It was a relaxed and very enjoyable day for all.

The Fun Day was preceded by an SGM to vote on some proposed amendments to the breed standard with regard to tail carriage, temperament and coat colour. The proposals were passed by the SGM and they will now be sent to TKC to seek its approval.

I have owned Canaan Dogs for 25 years now and have been through a number of ups and downs with the breed, both here and in the USA. I have successfully bred and exhibited two other breeds during that time, and still have Tibetan Spaniels. I have friends in a several other breeds, have worked for a vet, and own my own boarding kennel, so have experience with a number of breeds. There are some breeds I have come to like very much, but there are also some I don't like at all and can't imagine why anyone would want one. However, I don't go around slating those breeds as I realise that just because I don't like them, because their behaviour just do not suit me and my lifestyle, that is just my preference. Unfortunately, there are people who don't think the way I do and feel they can go around knocking other peoples' breeds, in our case the Canaan Dog, never having owned one or having any real knowledge of the breed. Personally, I don't care what they think as I am the one who feeds and takes care of and has to live with my Canaan Dogs and not them. I do not need their approval. However, there are some Canaan owners who have confessed to me that they do get upset by these comments and have been made to feel intimidated by them. They are not only rude, but nasty comments are detrimental to the dog fancy in general as they just serve to give the anti-purebred dog brigade some more ammunition. After 25 years I think I know something about Canaan Dogs and I would like to put some of these falsehoods to bed for once and for all.

First, and foremost, the Canaan Dog is not a nasty, aggressive breed. The Canaan's strongest drive is survival. If feeling threatened, they will put on a display that to the uninformed can appear to be aggression, but the truth is given the choice, a Canaan would rather run than fight. Yes, some Canaans are dog aggressive, but the same can be said of individuals in almost any breed. I can say for a fact that it's not the Canaans that are mauling other dogs in the dog park. I've not seen a Canaan injure or kill another dog at a show, but the same cannot be said for some of the guard dog breeds, which I have seen do so. At one champ show I watched the judging of a small spitz breed and saw one jump up and bite the hand of its young handler in the ring. I've never seen a Canaan do that. Canaan Dog owners are probably more aware of their dog's body language and act more responsibly than most dog owners. You don't see them stand chatting to someone at a show while their dog wanders around at the end of a 6 foot lead, free to jump on any dog passing by. If their dogs are in their crate on the bench and growl and bark at a passing dog, so what! I hear a lot of dogs barking and yapping at shows. After all, they are dogs and they can't hurt another dog whilst in their crate. Some of the people guilty of spreading this kind of poison about our breed are themselves the most nasty and aggressive people I've met, so the words 'pot' and 'black' come to mind.

One Canaan owner recently complained to me that our breed is getting known as being “nervous”. Sorry, but that's nothing new. When I first came to England in '94 the breed was rarely seen in the ring, and then it was only 1 or 2 dogs at a time. We were showing in AVNSC and constantly having our dogs insulted – being called mongrels, and being told that they shouldn't be allowed at the shows. As a matter of fact, the two main 'culprits' are the same ones slating the breed today – people who have nothing to do with the breed by the way. At our breed seminars we demonstrate that the Canaan Dog is not nervous or shy, it is wary. There is a big difference. A nervous or shy dog remains that way all the time. A wary dog is mistrustful of new surroundings and new people, but once they determine that there is no danger, they relax. At one seminar I brought along one of my most wary bitches to prove the point. We set her up for someone to go over her and she didn't want to stand, and kept sitting. We then let her off the lead and told everyone to just sit and chat and ignore her. Within a few minutes she was tentatively going up to people of her own accord and sniffing them. We then put her back on the lead and set her up and she then let the judges go over her. Canaans are generally not a dog that is all waggy-tailed with strangers, jumping up on them (a behaviour I personally thoroughly dislike), though, as with anything, there are a few exceptions. Canaans tend to be dignified and intelligent, not too quick to make friends, but once they do, you are a friend for life. Youngsters are another matter as they will go through a fear period, usually starting approximately around 10 months of age, but if they have been properly socialised, they will get over it. With so few Canaans in the ring as it is, we can't afford to leave the youngsters home, and besides, they need the experience. If you can't deal with it, don't have a Canaan, but don't knock them either.

Canaan Dogs are healthy, natural and highly intelligent; however, there are a lot of people who can't deal with an intelligent animal, particularly if the dog is smarter than they are. If I wanted a Lab or a Golden Retriever, I would get one --- I don't want to see my Canaan Dog turned into one. Running a boarding kennel and taking care of other peoples' dogs has made me appreciate the breeds I have all the more. I wouldn't want any other breeds. If you feel the same about your breed, that is good and right, but doesn't make it right to slag off my breed or anyone else's.

Submitted 6th August 2009

Mr Ken Bartlett drew an entry of 10 Canaan Dogs, with 2 absentees, at Paignton. BD & BOB was awarded to Lorna Hastings' AKC & Lux Ch Lorianna Sirius Star with RBD going to Anacan Masterpiece, owned by Richard & Ellen Minto. Lorna's Lorianna Call Me Madam was BB & BOS and Ellen Minto's Anacan Sheeza Gem was RBB. Alison Byrne was showing in PGB her new French import, Chefa De Solemel who, along with her other import, Chaniah De Solemel Avec Nizzana, was bred by Laurence Aries. The breed has been blessed with the importation of several new dogs last year and this year and they should all be assets to our breeding programmes. Hopefully there will be cooperation and sharing of these new bloodlines to best benefit the breed.

We had some very sad news from our friends, David & Daniela Ashkenasi, in Berlin. On the 1st August they had to release from this life their Charon, who was a litter brother to our Digger (The Lion of Judah At Anacan). Charon was just 4 months short of his 16th birthday, so had a good, long life. The Ashkenasis gave him the best life one could ask for a dog, taking him everywhere with them. When we went to visit them several years ago, they would not go anywhere, including restaurants, unless Charon was allowed in. I was surprised at the amount of wooded land there is in Berlin and Charon had literally hours of off-lead walks in the woods every day. He was kept fit and happy and was very much loved. We send the Ashkenasis our deepest sympathies on their loss.

Submitted 29th July 2009

The Israel Canaan Dog Club of America held its national specialty on Friday, 3rd July at Sun Beau Valley Farm, Ravenna, Ohio under the auspices of the United Kennel Club. The UKC was established in 1898 and is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world, registering dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. The judge for the specialty, Sharon Griffin, pulled an entry of 20 dogs for a total of 26 entries. The results follow.

Best Junior Handler - Sofia Elise Geretz, handling U-CH Cherrysh Mi Corazon Miracle.

Best Male, from the Breeder/Handler Male Class, D&J Ha'Aretz Inspired By Oz. Owners: Donna & Jackie Davison.
Res Best Male, from the Junior Male 1 – 2 years class, Bluesky Desertstar Orion The Hunter, Owners: Denise A. Gordon & Norma Bennett Woolf.
Best Female & Best of Winners, from the Breeder/Handler Female class, Bluesky Desertstar Lunar Eclipse. Owners: Denise A. Gordon & Norma Bennett Woolf.
Res Best Female, from the Junior Females 1 -2 years class, Bluesky Desertstar Ball of Fire. Owners: Denise A. Gordon & Norma Bennett Woolf.
Champion of Champions, from the Champions class, U-CH TK'S Nassi Shiloh, Owner: Tracey Kopea.
Reserve, U-CH D&J Ha'Aretz I'm The Buzz Baby. Owners: Donna & Jackie Davison.
Grand Champion & BOB, from the Grand Champions class, UAGI GRCH Cherrysh Fire and Rain. Owner: Lee Boyd.
Reserve, GRCH Cherrysh Sing So Into You. Owner: Michael J. Banister & Melvin S. Larsen.

Best Altered Female, U-CH Hahar Grand Entrance Anna. Owner: Cheryl & Keith Shank.
Best Veteran Female, U-CH Cherrysh Mi Corazon Miracle. Owner: Alla Geretz & Cheryl Hennings.
Stud Dog, GRCH Cherrysh Sing So Into You. Owner: Michael J. Banister & Melvin S. Larsen.
Brood Bitch, U-CH Bless-Ed Be My Neshama. Owner: Michael J. Banister & Melvin S. Larsen.
Brace, U-CH Cherrysh Mi Corazon Miracle & Hatikva Cherrysh Desert Rose. Owner: Alla Geretz.

Congratulations to all the winners, and their owners.

My Beulah (Kibutzer Kween In Kofyn), bred by Jan Smith & Lez Mozley, turned 15 years old on the 5th July. Beulah came to ANACAN when she was 4 years old. She had one litter for me, sired by my Lion of Judah At Anacan. This produced the first Canaan Dog in the UK to win an open show BIS in the UK, Anacan The Israelite At Dunline. His litter brother, my Anacan Masterpiece, is a Crufts BOB winner and a 3 time Canaan Dog Club of the UK club show BIS winner. Beulah, herself, was BOB at Crufts 3 times and BOS several times before being retired from the show ring. She has, not surprisingly, slowed down a bit and is no longer chasing rabbits, but she still seems to be going strong. I believe she is the last survivor of her litter, having lost two litter brothers earlier this year. Hopefully she will be around for a couple more years to come.

Submitted 7th July 2009

It is with sadness that I report the passing of Ruth Corner, who was one of the early pioneers of the breed in the UK. Ruth went to Israel in 1979 and joined Myrna Shiboleth and Dvora Ben Shaul, who were running Havat Sha'ar Hagai and breeding Canaan Dogs.  She stayed four years, working with Myrna and running the kennels. When she returned to England, she arranged with Myrna to bring two pregnant bitches into quarantine and when the puppies were weaned they came out of quarantine and their mums went back home to Israel.   Ruth sold or gave away to good homes all but four of the puppies.  When she first tried to register the puppies, she had no affix, so the Kennel Club assigned the affix 'Kensix' to the first litter. But by the time the second litter arrived Ruth's had her own affix of 'Ba'aretz' (In the land / country). Ruth showed, bred and promoted Canaans vigorously, writing articles, breed notes for the dog papers, and advertising.  Sadly in 1994 she lost her home and business through divorce and had to give up her dogs.  Ruth was also diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy.  After she had regained her health, she got a job organising holidays in the Sinai, something she enjoyed greatly.  Then the cancer returned and eventually claimed her life. I am personally grateful to Ruth for her work as many of my own dogs have Kensix Khameshee in their pedigree, as he was the sire of my Mornavega The Chosen One of Anacan. Ruth had many friends and she will be greatly missed by them.

I sometimes feel a bit aggrieved when I read about the native vulnerable dog breeds as I, perhaps naively, believe that The Kennel Club does/should give the same consideration to all dog breeds that it registers. The Canaan Dog, along with several other rare breeds, is also quite a vulnerable breed, one of the numerically smallest, with few exhibitors and even fewer breeders, and it needs all the promotion and help we can get from TKC. The Canaan Dog is one of the few natural breeds left (dogs of excellent type can still be found in the wild) and most the fanciers in this country wish to preserve the breed's integrity and health. However, TKC has resisted attempts to amend the breed's standard to more accurately reflect the natural Canaan as described by the breed's founder, Dr Rudolphina Menzel. The Canaan is one of those breeds in which most of the dogs being exhibited and/or bred from are in the hands of just a few people because it is so very difficult to find people willing to show. So many beautiful Canaan Dogs are in pet homes, and many excellent dogs have been neutered by their owners. While being a loved companion is the most important thing for the dog, the breed needs more dogs out in the show ring to help promote it as well as more people willing to breed their Canaans. Why can't TKC come up with some ways to help the Canaan Dog, as well as other breeds in the same position? I know of one big name judge who has verbalised that he hates Canaan Dogs and he literally does not even look at any Canaan Dog that has the misfortune to come under him in the group ring. Certainly TKC could at least make a point of telling judges in no uncertain terms that their own prejudices should not influence their judging. The Canaan Dog is a wonderful breed and is very beloved by those who have the privilege of sharing their homes with one. They are a unique breed – a natural dog, with all the challenges that poses, but one to be truly treasured.

Several weeks back I wrote about degenerative myelopathy (DM) which sparked interest from other breeds which it afflicts. In the Israel Canaan Dog Club of America's newsletter, DESERT TRACKS, Summer 2009, Volume XVI, Issue 2, pp. 8 & 10, Lee Boyd wrote the following: “The scientists focused on 5 breeds of dogs in which DM is common (Boxer, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, German Shepherd Dog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Rhodesian Ridgeback), and found a significant association between DM symptoms and the inheritance of two copies of the G-to-A mutation.  Ninety-six percent of dogs diagnosed with DM were AA.  However they also found a considerable number of dogs with two copies of the mutation who displayed no clinical signs of DM, implying that other genes and/or environmental factors must influence whether DM eventually develops.  Interestingly, carriers, who have only one copy of the mutation, may show some build-up of material in their nerve cells, but apparently do not accumulate enough inclusions over their lifetimes to significantly impair cell function. Because canine DM seems to be related to human ALS, both species may benefit.  DM in dogs will receive a lot of attention as a model for ALS, and treatments established for ALS in humans may help extend the life of dogs afflicted with DM.

    As of the end of March, over 100 Canaan Dogs have been tested for the mutation.  The results have yet to be published, but as a generalization, only about half of the dogs have been completely clear of the DM mutation. Because other spinal cord problems such as herniated disks can mimic the symptoms of DM, it is only possible to conclusively diagnose whether a dog has developed DM through an autopsy after death.  Affected dogs have lesions in the white matter of their spinal cord.Therefore, ICDCA members submitted spinal cord samples from four Canaan Dogs thought to have been afflicted by DM to the University of Missouri-Columbia where the samples were examined by pathologists.  The form of the disease in Canaan Dogs was different from that seen in other breeds.  In the classic case of DM, the white matter of the spinal cord is affected in certain regions.  In the four Canaan Dog samples, all areas of the white matter of the cord seemed to be equally affected.

  So what should Canaan Dog owners do next? Obviously we should continue to screen for the mutation routinely.  The ICDCA previously subsidized the cost of submitting blood samples, but that program has ended.  Testing is now done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) along with their other screening programs for elbow and hip dysplasia, etc.  Testing by OFA uses swabs of the dog's cheek submitted by the owner.  Information about the test is available at https://secure.offa.org/dnatesting/index.html and the cost of the test is US $65.00.  If you have a pet and you want to know whether there is any risk that your dog will develop DM, by all means have the test done.  The test will let you know whether you have to be watchful for the development of DM as the dog ages, and it will add to our knowledge about how many and which Canaan Dogs carry the mutation.  If you intend to breed your dog, in my opinion, DM-testing of the sire and dam is imperative in order to plan the mating.  Testing of the resulting litter may also be warranted to help select puppies for owners who are looking for a pet only, versus owners who might have an interest in breeding.

    Because the form of DM in Canaan Dogs appears unusual, the University of Missouri-Columbia is very interested in obtaining additional samples from any Canaan Dogs thought to have DM at the time of their death.  Both blood samples and spinal cord samples from these dogs would be highly desirable.  The vet school has prepared a kit for the collection of samples.  It is available free of charge from Dr. Joan Coates, Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, 900 E. Campus Dr., VMTH-Clydesdale Hall College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.  Phone:  (573) 882-7821, FAX:  (573) 884-5444.

    One week's notice to prepare the kit is required, but the kit can be stored for up to a year in the refrigerator.  If you think that your dog is developing DM, you should order a kit to have it on hand at the time of euthanasia.  There are two versions of the kit. One version is for euthanasia performed at a veterinary school or veterinary diagnostic lab; they are best at obtaining the spinal cord samples so this would be optimal.  The second version of the kit is for situations in which travel to a veterinary college is not feasible and a general practitioner such as your own vet will perform the euthanasia and collect the samples.

  Lastly, we can support further research by funding it.  Donations specifically for DM research can be made to the Canine Health Foundation, www.akcchf.org, although you will have to sort through the payment options carefully to find the ones that let you restrict your donation to a particular disease such as DM. Of course, as responsible dog owners we should do all we can to preserve the health of this breed that we love so much.”

To that, I have nothing to add. I just hope that the information will be helpful to many people.

I just received word from the secretary of the British Canaan Dog Society (proposed) that the Canaan Dog Seminar which was to be presented by Myrna Shiboleth of the Shaar Hagai Kennels in Israel on Sunday 19th July 2009 has had to be cancelled and they are hoping to reschedule for sometime in 2010.

Submitted 25th June 2009

The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom will be holding its annual Fun Day on Sunday 16th August at Christine Goldspink's farm in Foulsham, Norfolk. This is the one day a year that everyone in the club can get together and just have fun with their dogs. There will be the usual array of games, along with some new ones, a BBQ (everyone bring something for the grill and a dish to share), a raffle and the fancy dress competition (the dogs to be in fancy dress). This year's theme for the fancy dress is “fairy tale characters”. If you are not a member, but would like the chance to meet some Canaan Dogs, you are also welcome to come. For more information, please contact me – contact details shown below.

I'd like to take this opportunity to send our best wishes to Kim Warm (formerly Morton) in her new home in Northern Ireland. Kim, a former Derbyshire resident, will be breeding her Canaan, Naomi (Anacan Akilah) for the first time and this will be the first Canaan Dog litter whelped in Ireland. Exciting stuff! We're hoping that Naomi's litter will spark a lot of interest in the Emerald Isles. We'll look forward to future reports on the breed's progress there.

Submitted 28th May 2009

At Bath, judge, Mr Roy Metcalfe, drew an entry of 8 with 1 absentee. BD & BOB was Lorna Hastings AKC & Lux Ch Lorianna Sirius Star; RBD was Rob & Jan McLeod's Anacan Call Me Ishmael At Dunline; BB was Lorianna I Will Survive, owned by Sue Coombes & Lorna Hastings and Lorna's Int Lux Ger Ch Lorianna Lucky Star was RBB. Congratulations to all the winners.

It has come to this writer's attention that there is an exhibitor who is sending a photo of themself and their Canaan to the judges in advance of each show, enclosing a note stating how happy they are that that person has the judging assignment. I think this is an utter disgrace, and while not 'illegal' it is unethical and, to me, shows that exhibitor's lack of confidence in their dog's ability to win on its own merits. Any judge who is influenced by this should be ashamed of themselves. I would encourage any judge who receives such a mailing to report it to TKC.

A question on the Canaani-L chat list (an American list) by an owner of a Canaan puppy as to how to stop their puppy from biting developed into an interesting thread on training Canaans. All agreed that Canaans are highly intelligent, have a long memory, and like all intelligent animals (and people) have a low boredom threshold. Most felt that working with positive methods will get the best and most long-lasting results. I love the quote with which Alan Gersman (the man with the high-achieving agility Canaan Dogs I have mentioned in this column a number of times) signs off his emails, ""they learn what we TEACH them, which is not necessarily what we THINK we teach them."

Submitted 14th May 2009

The Canaan Dog Club of America, Inc held its 34th national specialty at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The judge for their Sweepstakes classes was Mrs Nancy Martin, a professional handler, Junior Showmanship was judged by Kylie Jo Hirschy-Seivert, while Mr Charles E Trotter presided over the conformation classes. Results follow: Best in Puppy Sweepstakes and Best Junior in Puppy Sweepstakes: Eastland's Bit Of A Braveheart, breeder/owner Annette Israel. BOS to Best in Puppy Sweeps and BOS to Best Junior in Puppy Sweepstakes: Blue Sky Desertstar Orion The Hunter, breeder/owners Norma Wolff & Denise Gordon. Best Senior in Puppy Sweeps: Cherrysh Keep The Fire Burning, breeder/owner Cheryl Hennings. BOS to Best Senior in Puppy Sweeps: Pleasant Hill Desert Sonata, breeder/owner Donna Dodson. Best in Veteran Sweepstakes: Ch Pleasant Hill What's The Buzz OA OAJ OAP OJP, owner Trudi Kimm. BOS to Best in Vet Sweeps: Ch Cherrysh Mi Corazon Miracle, owners Alla Geretz and Cheryl Hennings.

Junior Showmanship - Novice Senior: 1st - Natalie Geretz; Open Senior - 1st - Lindsey Toulouse; Best Junior Handler – Lindsey Toulouse.

Conformation - Best of Winners/Winners Dog/Best Bred By:  Blue Sky Desertstar Orion The Hunter, breeder/owners Norma Wolff & Denise Gordon; Reserve WD:  Tahoe's Sirius Black N White, breeder/owners:  Robin Prince & Noelle Renteria; Winners Bitch: Cherrysh Burning Desire, breeder/owner:  Cheryl Hennings; Reserve WB: Blue Sky Desert Star Luna Eclipse, owners Norma and Tom Wolff; BOB:  Ch Mad River Cool Breeze Blowing, owners  Rosette & Charlie Sargent; BOS:  CH Pleasant Hill Wish Granted, breeder/owner Donna Dodson. Awards of Merit were given to: Pleasant Hill What's the Buzz, owners Trudi Kimm & Donna Dodson;  Ch Jealou's Got Milk O' Mad River,  owners Carol O'Bryan, Cindy Grupp and Sally Armstrong; Ch Mazel Tov Yomi Bar Barak, breeder/owners  Cathi & Aviva Oskow. Best Puppy:  Hativa Cherrysh Desert Wolf, owners Travis & Ashley Schrage & Cheryl Hennings; Best Veteran:  Ch Pleasant Hill Mazel, owner:  Cathi & Craig Oskow; Best Amateur Owner Handler:  Jealou Ascend's Jet To The Top, owner Laura Alton.

Stud Dog: 1st - Ch Cherrysh Sing Hossana, owner Cheryl Hennings; Brood Bitch: 1st - CH Pleasant Hill September, owner Donna Dodson; Brace: 1st – Chris Miller; Team: 1st – Cheryl Hennings. Congratulations to all the winners and to the club and such a good entry.

The following has been received from Anne Barclay, secretary of the BCDS (proposed). On Sunday 19th July 2009 the British Canaan Dog Society (proposed) is holding a breed specific Canaan Dog Seminar at the Guide Dogs for the Blind premises in Leamington Spa. The Seminar will be presented by the world renowned Myrna Shiboleth of the Shaar Hagai Kennels in Israel. This is a rare opportunity to learn more about the Canaan Dog from Myrna. For information and/or book a place please contact Anne Barclay (Secretary) on 01303 259739 or email bcds-sec@thecanaandog.co.uk (PLEASE NOTE: This seminar is not connected to The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom and attendance will not fulfil the criteria to attend a breed seminar for the club's judges' list.) Secondly there is Eye Testing with Prof. Peter Bedford which is being run in conjunction with the British Canaan Dog Society (proposed) Annual Rally and Match which takes place on Sunday 2nd August 2009 at Willowdale Farm, Moyses Bank, Marshland St. James, Norfolk. The eye testing for all breeds commences at 10.00am, for eye appointments and further information please contact Anne Barclay,Secretary, contact details above. The Society is holding it's Annual Rally and Match on Sunday 2nd August 2009 at Willowdale Farm, Moyses Bank, Marshland St. James, Norfolk. It will be run in conjunction with eye testing with Prof. Peter Bedford. Eye testing commences at 10.00am, Rally at 11.00am and the Match at 12.30pm there will be a BAR-B-Q, raffle and competitions. All breeds are welcome not just Canaan Dogs. For more information or to book eye appointments contact Anne Barclay.

The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom has had a rescue organisation in place since 1996, but due to the diligence of the breeders, it has not had a dog in rescue for the past 13 years. Unfortunately a situation has arisen and there is now a 7-month old dog puppy is coming into rescue. Once he has been evaluated and worked with by the rescue co-ordinator, Richard Minto, it is hoped he can be re-homed into an appropriated, permanent, loving home. Please, no matter what breed you have, do not undertake a breeding unless you are willing and able to make every effort to place your puppies in the right home and are in the situation to take back any puppies should your best efforts to place them correctly fails. Everyone is a loser otherwise, especially the puppy.

Brenda Banbury had an entry of 10 Canaan Dogs at The National, with 3 absentees. BD & BOB was Lorna Hastings' AKC & Lux Ch Lorianna Sirius Star, RBD was awarded to Rob & Jan McLeod's Anacan Call Me Ishmael At Dunline; BB was Ellen Minto's Anacan Sheeza Gem and RBB was Chaniah De Solemel Avec Nizzana (imp Fra), owned by Ivan Kaye, Alison Byrne and Anne Barclay. I was very disappointed that Mrs Banbury appeared to be very apprehensive of going over our dogs, despite several assurances by myself that no Canaan Dog being shown today, or any other day, would bite. Tail carriage was also of over importance to her. A high tail set is important, but unless a Canaan's tail is actually tucked under, the tail carriage should be the last item to be deemed important on a judge's check list.

Submitted 28th April 2009

The following sad news was received from Jill Terry. “There are many people who knew, and loved, Layla Me Shaar Hagai, so it is with a very heavy heart that I have to say Layla has gone on to rainbow bridge. Coming to us from Israel, Layla Me Shaar Hagai (Hebrew for (best translation) Dark of Midnight at the Gates of the Valley) arrived at the quarantine kennels 12 years ago. Ian and I were so excited, but nervous too, as we had never met her and Myrna was useless at taking photos, so we didn't know what she was going to be like!  I will always remember the day she arrived. Ian and I were like cats on hot bricks waiting for the phone call from the quarantine kennels. When they rang they simply said "I think you are going to like her very much". We had to wait a further two days before we were allowed to visit her - and they weren't wrong, She was gorgeous.  We were lucky that the kennels were only 10 minutes away from us so we could go visit her every day. When we collected her 6 months later, we took Evie with us. I fetched Layla and when she saw Evie in the car park it was "WOW! another Canaan Dog!"  and she literally pulled me over to Evie. Three days later there was a rare breed match. We had not entered her but took her along to see how she coped with everything. She was doing well and we were persuaded to put her in to challenge for the "Best of Reserves" and she won it!  Her first show was BUBA Championship show, and she won BOB! Coming out of the main ring we were told that people around the ring were all saying the judge had put up a mismarked Canaan Dog!! Very few people knew what breed she was, they didn't know Canaan Dogs could be black, and it was fun hearing what everybody suggested! Layla was a fantastic mother.  She loved everything from being mated, to whelping to looking after the puppies. Matings were as they should be unaided!  I remember her when she was tied to Norby (Babrees Desert Orchid's dad), and she got bored so just started walking with him around the yard - tied! Layla loved doing Discover Dogs, especially the ones we did outside (at Malvern and also Essex). She and her daughter, Sandy, had a classic act to get people to feed them a treat out of a bowl we had hanging on the panel.They had everybody well trained! We are proud of the fact that her son, Dezi (Babrees Desert Orchid), is the breed record holder - having won BOB at Crufts 5 times, despite the fact that he is rarely shown. Layla was a true lady, so gentle, so loving, so special with a lovely smile and so true to breed type. I know you shouldn't have favourites, but....” We extend our sympathies to Jill and husband, Ian, on their loss.

It was in these breed notes, while Layla was still in quarantine, that I told the public that we would soon be having a black Canaan Dog in the show ring – a first for this country – and that judges should judge the dog and not the coat colour – one that they would not have been used to seeing. Since Layla, there have been two other black Canaan Dogs successfully shown in the UK with another soon to make his debut. It is a shame that coat colour is still an issue with some people when the breed's small numbers make it ludicrous to keep a good Canaan Dog out of the show ring or a breeding programme on coat colour alone.

I received some information from the USA that the National Animal Interest Alliance is looking for donations so that they can educate America about animal rights extremism and teach the public the difference between animal rights and animal welfare, between the extremists and us (us meaning doggy people). Part of their plan to seize the offense is to erect billboards with slogans of ideally 7 words or less and they are asking the public for their suggestions. Perhaps billboards wouldn't work over here, but I have often said that we need to take an offensive, rather than defensive, stand before it's too late. Draconian breeding legislation could mean the end for numerically small breeds such as ours.

The Canaan Dog Club of America, Inc will be holding their national specialty on Thursday, 30th April, so I will look forward to having a report for you in my next column.

Submitted 16th April 2009

At the Animal Molecular Genetics Laboratory in America they have identified a DNA mutation that is a major risk factor for development of degenerative myelopathy in dogs. Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease involving the spinal cord and it is thought to be an autoimmune disease. DM (which can attack one or both sides of the body) presents itself with waxing and waning of the following symptoms: hindquarter weakness, rear limb ataxia (reflex to right foot when turned backwards, slow, or nonexistent), loss of balance, difficulty rising or laying down, knuckling under while walking, limp tail, rear legs crossing under body, rear leg drag, spinal ataxia, hoarseness of bark, leading to paralysis, and incontinence in the final stages... Please note that if any of these symptoms come on suddenly, you are, in all probablility, not dealing with Degenerative Myelopathy, but rather, another condition. There are many conditions which can easily be confused with DM, due to the fact that the dog will exhibit the same symptoms as a dog with DM. However, DM does not present with a sudden onset, but is rather a slow, almost imperceptible process of deterioration.

I first heard about degenerative myelopathy when a woman in America who has one of my dogs wrote to tell me that she had him tested and that he was 'normal', which means he neither has the disease nor is he a carrier.  She kindly sent to me a copy of his certificate issued by the Animal Molecular Genetics Laboratory, University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine. Apparently a member of the Israel Canaan Dog Club in America had two Canaan Dogs that were diagnosed with DM and this person was responsible for getting the ball rolling as far as testing.  Those exhibitors that went to the UKC Specialty in Colorado last summer had a vet come and draw samples to send in for testing.  The ICDCA further offered to pay up to $50 per dog to have any others submitted by the end of December.  My new American import had also been tested prior to being shipped to me and I have since received his certificate of 'normal' from the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of Animals), which is doing the screening. In the literature sent with the certificate, they stated that 7 breeds have been tested for DM to date, and I am pleased that the Canaan Dog fanciers over in the States were willing to get involved.

At Crufts, my husband had the opportunity to enquire of the Animal Health Trust whether or not they too are offering this screening. Apparently any such new tests as this which are developed in the USA are quickly patented and the license to offer these tests are extremely expensive, so the AHT will not be able to offer the screening until such time as the license comes down in price. So if anyone is interested in having the screening done, I suggest you contact OFA. The page of their website pertaining to this test is http://www.offa.org/dnatesting/index.html; or you can email them at ofa@offa.org; phone: 001 573 442 0418.

Submitted 7th April 2009

The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom was fortunate in being able to engage Mr Avi Marshak from Israel as judge for their 9th Annual Single-breed Club Show on the 5th April. Mr Marshak has judged Canaan Dogs in every country in which they are recognised, with the exception of Australia, and has been on the club's judges' list since its inception. It was a glorious day weather-wise which instantly put everyone in a good mood. I don't know if we can thank the show secretary, Chris Quantrill, and his very able assistant, Janet Quantrill, for the weather, but they were responsible for everything else being just about perfect.

The Club has a beautiful trophy table, donated by various members, and this was added to prizes by the generous sponsorship of Royal Canin of much appreciated food prizes. Mr Marshak drew an entry of 22, and he told me after the show that the quality of the dogs here has improved tremendously since he last judged them at Darlington in 2002. This is very encouraging.

BD, BIS & BV went to Anacan Masterpiece (Remy), aged 9-1/2, owned by Richard & Ellen Minto. This was Remy's hat trick as he had previously won the club show in 2004 and 2007. RBD & RBIS was last year's BIS winner, Anacan Future Legend (Tiras), owned by Julie Hughes. BB & BOS was awarded to Remy's daughter, Anacan Kefira (Keffy). RBB was Kim Morton's Anacan Akilah (Naomi). Progeny class was won by Christine (Goldspink) Powley's Sheleg Harishon At Danehaven with a beautiful line up of his get; and Best Brace went to Ellen Minto's Anacan Glory Bound and her daughter, Anacan Glory Bea.

After judging the dog challenge, Mr Marshak asked the spectators if they would like to know why he had put the dogs up the way he did and everyone said yes. He explained that the dogs should look masculine and the bitches should look feminine. He then briefly listed the attributes and differences between each of the dogs in the line up. He repeated this after judging the bitch challenge and I think his explanations were appreciated by all. We will look forward to reading Mr Marshak's critiques.

There were several people who travelled a good distance to meet their first Canaan Dogs, at my suggestion, and they all said they were not disappointed with either the dogs or the people they met. Two of the couples have told me they are now positive that the Canaan Dog is the right dog for them. To my mind, that in itself is enough to say the show was a huge success.

Submitted 26th March 2009

The weather was lovely for the long drive to the BUBA Open Show. Canaan Dog judge, Mr Barry Blunden, drew an entry of 5 dogs, but unfortunately there were 2 absentees. Mr Blunden awarded BOB to my Chancos Charmani At Anacan (Imp Swe) (“Ami”) and RBOB went to Chaniah De Solemel Avec Nizzana (Imp Fra), owned by Ivan Kaye, Alison Byrne and Anne Barclay. It was with deep regret that I could not stay for BIS, but we had to get home to our kennel sitter, one of the downsides of owning a boarding kennel.

Yesterday, 25th March, my new import, Am Ch Ha'Aretz Hayyim For Anacan, finally arrived in England. Hayyim should have been over last year, but due to an error in the timing on the blood test for the Pet Passport paperwork, the process had to start all over again, thus putting my breeding programme back a bit. But on the plus side, this gorgeous black dog has had all his health checks and has sired a litter prior to coming over, so he is “set to go”. I can't wait to get him into the show ring. One of the great things, for me, is that on his sire's side Hayyim goes back to my much loved, top-winning Ariel Shin Ha'Aretz of Briel, who I got from the same breeder, Bryna Comsky, 25 years ago, as well as several of my other dogs from that time. I am delighted to bring in new lines that contain some lines I know so well.

I recently read an article on dog temperament in which the author describes what he feels to be “good” temperament and goes on to say that all breeds should exhibit these same traits in order to be considered to have good temperament. He made no allowances for differences in breeds or what they are used for. As an owner of a breed whose wariness is often reason for people to say it has a “bad” temperament, I would like to quote a paragraph from an article called Primitive Dog Breed Or Primitive Human Values? which recently appeared in THE CANAAN DOG NEWS, the newsletter of The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom. It was written by Dr Olga Bogatyreva, who is from Russia and teaches at Bath University. It is because of the Canaan Dog's temperament that Dr Bogatyreva has acquired one.

“Yes, dogs are not people and just because of this we need to respect the dog's nature – to protect and love only his/her “pack”, regarding others as strangers. Too often we do not respect nature and we do not teach our children to deal with nature with respect. We castrate our pets for our comfort, regarding them as toys for our children or for ourselves. The number of cases when a child is bitten by a dog is growing, very often not because of dogs' aggressiveness, but mostly because children regard pets as toys and think that the maximum harm from them is being “licked to death”. Children need to learn to respect dogs' or cats' nature (and privacy, if you like).”

You would not say that all people have to act the same in order to be thought of as people with good character. We make allowances for differences in culture when it comes to people's behaviour, why not for differences in breed when it comes to dogs' behaviour, as long as they do not pose a threat to people?

Submitted 12th March 2009

Another Crufts has come and gone and despite the anti-purebred dog brigade, it was its usual spectacular success. But I do have one gripe in that once again Canaan Dogs did not get into the ring until 4:30 pm and then the ring steward kept on trying to rush the judging so the BOB dog could get into the group ring on time, which of course we all wanted. I know ours isn't a CC breed and our numbers aren't large, but couldn't we be afforded a little better treatment, particularly as ours is one of the breeds that isn't under attack as being unhealthy? Our judge had two breeds to do, Shar Peis (of which there were quite a few) and then the Canaan Dogs. She was late getting started on Shar Peis as the breed in the same ring before them took a long time being judged, and of course, there was a knock-on effect. Why didn't the ring steward chivvy the first judge along so as not to keep our judge waiting? If the judging of the two breeds in the ring before ours had been run efficiently, we would have been in the ring at a reasonable time and our BOB dog would have had time to rest prior to the group, like all the other Utility breed dogs. In the US judges are required to judge so many dogs per hour and the KC rep keeps an eye on the rings to make sure none of them are falling too far behind. Perhaps a similar rule here would be the solution? Or perhaps no judge should judge more than one breed at Crufts, which would have allowed our breed to be moved into the empty ring that was available and therefore, our judge wouldn't have been under pressure, nor would the exhibits. Is that too much to ask?

Our judge, Mrs Jane Lilley (Kensing) did a thorough job and found her BD & BOB in Pam O'Loughlin's BABREES DESERT ORCHID VIA CAOILTA, his 5th time winning this accolade having done so before in 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2003! RBD went to LUX CH LORIANNA SIRIUS STAR (RE-IMP), owned by Lorna Hastings. BB went to CHANIAH DE SOLEMEL AVEC NIZZANA (IMP FRA), owned by Ivan Kaye, Alison Byrne and Anne Barclay, and RBB was LORIANNA I WILL SURVIVE, owned by Sue Coombes & Lorna Hastings. Congratulations to all the winners!

The Canaan Dog booth at Discover Dogs had a large number of visitors, particularly on the weekend. One of the KC reps told Julie Hughes, who was in the booth with her 'Tiras' at the time, how nice the booth looked. Once again, there were some great ambassadors for the breed on the stand -- both canine and human -- all 4 days. In addition to Julie and 'Tiras', Julie's mum was there, and Martin Moulding and 'Manny', Richard Minto and 'Ami', Liz de Boisgelin, Patrick & Barbara Gold with 'Simba', 'Athtar' & 'Rosie', and Kim Morton and 'Naomi' took turns on the various days answering questions and allowing people to meet and interact with the breed. A big THANK YOU to all who gave so freely of their time to help promote the breed. The only sour note was that someone stole the Israeli flag from the booth, I believe it was Friday night, which is a pretty mean thing to do.

Submitted 25th February 2009

The Canaan Dog was recognised by TKC in December 1970 -- 38 years ago -- yet the breed is no closer to gaining CC status now than it was back then. The UK is the only place in the world where Canaan Dogs are exhibited, but cannot gain a championship. TKC will not grant championship status to a breed until they feel there are enough dogs of that breed and a large enough genepool to ensure genetic health. I heartily agree with this position because in many breeds, once they gain championship status, breeding becomes more prolific to meet the increase in the market for that breed. However, I don't believe Canaan Dog owners ever have to worry about something like that happening, as I personally do not believe that the breed will ever reach that level of popularity, nor do we necessarily want it to. To back my point, there were only 8 Canaan Dogs registered in the UK during 2008, and this includes two bitches which were imported into the country. In the USA, where there are far more Canaan Dogs and the breed has had championship status since 1996, the breed is 148th in popularity out of 156 breeds. I correspond with breeders over there and they are holding off on producing litters for fear that they will not be able to place the puppies. My thoughts are that if the breed received CC status here in the UK, it just might give the breed a much-needed boost. I think the breed would then attract more exhibitors, including those from overseas for whom the expense of a trip to the UK currently isn't worth it without a chance at a title, and, hopefully, people would import some more new lines to continue expanding our genepool. Competition can work for good. However I don't suppose we have a chance of this happening until there is more unity amongst the few breeders and exhibitors we do have. Unless we all work together, the breed will continue to make little progress in the UK.

The Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom's single-breed open show will be held on Sunday, 5th April at Stanground Community Centre in Peterborough. The judge this year is Mr Avi Marshak from Israel. Mr Marshak has judged Canaan Dogs in every country in which they are shown, so will be bringing a lot of knowledge with him. It is a good opportunity to have our dogs assessed by an expert in the breed.

Submitted 19th February 2009

I had some more sad news last night, this time from Julie Riches. Julie had to have her long-time friend, Abraham, euthanised as she felt his quality of life was no longer there. Poor Abe could no longer get up out of his bed or walk without assistance. He would have been 15 years old this July and had played an important part of Julie's life since she got him when he was 4 months old. Our heart goes out to Julie as we all know how difficult it is to lose an old friend.

I had a visitor from Belgium this past weekend, a woman I had been corresponding with by email regarding Canaan Dogs for several months. Having owned Beagles for many years, and still having a 9 year old, she is now looking for a companion/guardian to enjoy long walks with her and that doesn't always have hunting on its mind. She had already been to visit a breeder of the West Siberian Laika in Europe, which though not too dissimilar to a Canaan in looks, is very much a hunting dog, so didn't suit her needs. Jasmine was very impressed with the Canaan Dogs and will be making up her mind in the near future as to whether or not it is the breed she can live with. I find that one of the advantages of being a numerically small rare breed owner is that you do seem to meet more people from abroad, as there aren't that many of us who breed Canaans compared to most other breeds. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and learning about different cultures. I find that often, even if the person decides the Canaan Dog is not the right breed for them, you end up making a new friend, which is always a nice thing.

Submitted 12th February 2009

IThe excitement of the Westminster KC show in New York City is now over with BIS going to a Sussex Spaniel named Ch Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee -- better known as "Stump". It is lovely to dream about a Canaan Dog going BIS at Westminster, or better yet, Crufts, but alas, that is but a dream for now. There were 5 Canaan Dog entered under judge Dr. H. Scott Kellogg -- 4 bitches and 1 dog -- and all were present. It was quite nice to be able to actually watch the breed judging on the Westminster KC website, and you do get a very good view of the movement of each dog. Dr Kellogg awarded BOB to the 2-year old bitch AKC Ch Mad River Cool Breeze Blowing, owned by Rosette Davila-Sargent & Charles H Sargent MD. "Breeze" has already had quite an illustrious show career, as have each of the entries, with several group wins to her credit, and surely many more to come. BOS went to the 6 year old dog AKC Ch Rosendog's He Who Must Be Named (“Harry”) owned by Judy March Rosenthal & Amanda M Pough. The judge is allowed to give an Award of Merit (AOM) and this went to 2 year old bitch, AKC Ch Renegade Camber, owned by Amy Preston & Evan & Renee Kent. Congratulations to all the dogs, owners, breeders and handlers concerned!

There are 15 Canaan Dogs entered under judge, Mrs Jane Lilley (Kensing) this year, which is a nice entry. I just wish the breed were not scheduled to be judged so late in the day (again) as it is difficult for the dogs, and their handlers, to be on the bench for so many hours and then look fresh and enthusiastic in the ring. Fast forward to the future when Canaan Dogs have CCs and then perhaps they'll have an earlier ring call, which would be far more pleasant for all concerned. But despite my little grumble, you can't beat the buzz and excitement of Crufts, and it remains the highlight of the show year for me.

A belated congratulations to all the Top Canaan Dogs for 2008, who will be collecting their various prizes at Crufts. The Top Canaan Dog for 2008 was Am/Lux Ch Lorianna Sirius Star, owned and bred by Miss Lorna Hastings. Top Stud Dog was Int/Ger/Lux/Bel Ch Nizzana Hadad for Lorianna, bred by Mr Ivan Kaye & Miss Alison Byrne and owned by Lorna Hastings. Top Brood Bitch was Int/Lux/Ger Ch Lorianna Lucky Star, also owned and bred by Lorna Hastings. Top Puppy was Anacan Sheeza Gem, owned and bred by Ellen Minto. Well done to all the winners!

Submitted 4th February 2009

I'm afraid I have to start off this column with some sad news. June Bartrip, a close friend of Adrian Wilks, phoned me to let me know that Adrian had passed away due to complications of his diabetes. While helping Adrian's son to empty out his house, she had found a DOG WORLD cutting from last May in which I had written about the loss of Adrian's beloved Canaan Dog, K-bay (Babrees Barnabas Of Benyas) and his acquisition of a year-old male named Louie (Lorianna Desert Knight) that had been in need of re-homing. June got my contact details from the column. I much appreciated her letting me know what had happened, as Adrian collected his first Canaan from Jill Terry at my house over 10 years ago when I lived in Feltham, and we kept in touch on and off since then. He was an interesting person with a kind heart. I was pleased to hear that Adrian's son will be keeping Louie. I send my sincere condolences to the family.

Last night I had a tearful email from Ceri Collen-Boot letting me know that, after a brief illness, she had to have her Sammy put to sleep, which, she said, has left her and husband, Gary shocked and devastated. Sammy, a litter brother to my Beulah (Kibutzer Kween In Kofyn) would have been 15 years old this coming July, so had lived a good life as a very much loved family member. Having lost two dogs in two months last year, I truly know how you feel Ceri. Our dogs never live long enough as far as we're concerned and I know someday Sammy will be waiting for Ceri at 'Rainbow Bridge', along with all the other good Canaan Dogs.

The Westminster Kennel Club show will be held at Madison Square Garden, New York on the 9th & 10th February, so will be over by the time you read these notes. Six Canaan Dogs have been invited to go under the scrutiny of judge Dr. H. Scott Kellogg. These dogs are: CH Bless-Ed Be Aryon owned by Carole M Grider; CH Cherrysh Crown Of Jewels, owned by Cheryl Hennings; CH Mad River Cool Breeze Blowing owned by Rosette Davila Sargent & Charles Sargent MD; CH Pleasant Hill Wish Granted owned by Donna Dodson; CH Renegade Camber owned by Renee & Evan Kent; and CH Rosendog's He Who Must Be Named owned by Judy March Rosenthal & Amanda Pough. At the time of writing, I don't which of these dogs will actually be gracing the ring at Westminster, but it is an honour to have been invited. I will give you the results next week.

Just a slight correction to my last set of breed notes, Jan McLeod, who judged at Manchester, said that there had been an error in the catalogue and that the entry was actually 9 dogs for 10 entries and not 8 as stated.

Submitted 21st January 2009

I was delighted to be able to attend the Manchester Championship Show courtesy of my friend, Jackie Taylor, who chauffeured both my dogs and me. As my minor puppy Tibetan Spaniel, "Chance", had an early ring call, we made our way down the night before to avoid a dawn start on iffy roads. Fortunately my Canaans and my Tibbie were in adjoining halls, which made life easier. Jackie Canaan-sat while I showed "Chance", who I am pleased to say won his class and qualified for Crufts at his very first show. Unfortunately, it was an extremely long wait between showing him and the Canaans going into the ring. It would have been longer yet if our ring hadn't been changed when we still had Boston Terriers to go into the ring before us. I am assuming that our judge may have had a hand in that. In any case I think I speak for all the exhibitors when I say I am grateful to whoever was responsible.

Our judge was Mrs Jan McLeod (Dunline), who is on the Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom's 2009 A3 List (Breed Specialist) List. Mrs McLeod drew 8 entries, with one absentee in the dogs. BD & BOB was Lorna Hastings' AKC & Lux Ch Lorianna Sirius Star with RBD going to Lorianna Light My Fire ('Red'), co-owned by James Rogerson and Lorna Hastings. All five bitches were present. BB & BOS was my 'Ruby' (Anacan Sheeza Gem), who is also Top Canaan Puppy for 2008. RBB was Anacan Sheer Elegance ('Ellie'), co-owned by Christine (Goldspink) Powley and myself. I was pleased to be able to enter the Best Breeder in Breed competition and to be the first person to win this award in Canaan Dogs, with my Ruby, Christine's 'Ellie' and 'Summer' (Anacan Maid For Glory At Danehaven) and Barbara & Patrick Gold's 'Rosie' (Anacan Shoshannah For Amicitia) as my team. Thank you to Christine and Barbara for bringing their girls into the ring for me.

The schedule for the Canaan Dog Club of the United Kingdom's single breed open show is now available and has been sent to all club members and known Canaan Dog exhibitors. The show will take place on Sunday, 5th April at Stanground Community Centre in Peterborough, and the judge will be Mr Avi Marshak from Israel. Mr Marshak has judged Canaan Dogs in every country in which the breed is recognised with the exception, I believe, of Australia. It should be quite interesting to read his critiques after the show. Entries close the 5th March 2009 (postmark). If you have not been sent a schedule and would like to receive one, please contact the Show Secretary, Mr Chris Quantrill, Tel: 01525 377886; Fax: 01525 383046; E-mail: chrisp182@btinternet.com.

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Last updated on the 3rd January 2011