Dogs in Biblical times - story of the Canaan

Dogs in Biblical times - story of the Canaan
Margaret Davies

The Ancient and Resilient Israel Canaan Dog

The Israel Canaan Dog is one of the few existing breeds of primitive dog, known for thousands of years, whose natural habitat is the present day state of Israel. These dogs have not changed since biblical times, and their biological characteristics are evidence of adaptation to semi-arid zones.

Living Legacy in the Wild and with Bedouins

The breed still exists in the wild and with the Bedouins of the area. Breeders in Israel continue to bring in new bloodlines from the wild, and are attempting to preserve the natural characteristics of these dogs, despite them now being a recognised breed that are being bred in many countries abroad. One of the major factors in the successful preservation of the breed is its growing popularity as a pure bred, registered pet.

The Canaan Dog's Historical Significance

The dog has existed as a dog, according to current theories, for as long as 150,000 years. There is some controversy over where the originating point of the first dog was, whether in one place or in several, and there is still a good deal of research being done on this question.

The Canaan Dog as a Primitive Breed

But there is little doubt that one of the points of origin, and perhaps the point of origin, of the dog was the Middle East. The prevalent belief also is that the breeds existing today that are called primitive dogs, pariah dogs, land races, or similar, are very close in their characteristics and type to the original dog that branched off in a different direction from that of the wolf so long ago.

Canaan Dog: A Biblical Companion

The Canaan Dog of Israel is one of these original breeds, which we believe has existed as is for thousands of years. There are as many as forty references to dogs in the Bible and we learn that the dog was common and well known thousands of years ago. Dogs of those times were used as shepherds and guardians of the flocks and home. References make it clear that the dog was of great importance in alerting the community to the presence of strangers.

Enhancing Communication with Canaan Dogs

To further enhance communication with intelligent breeds like the Canaan Dog, explore innovative methods like pet training buzzers, which can aid in understanding your pet's needs.

Archaeological Evidence of the Canaan Dog

Although many citations were derogatory, it is clear that the dog was an accepted and valued part of life in those times. One of the oldest archaeological findings showing the relationship between man and dog, dating from about 12000 years ago, was found in Israel in the Galilee at a place called Ein Malacha. This is the skeleton of a woman that was buried with her dog in her hand.

The Canaan Dog in Modern Times

There is good reason to believe that the dog of Biblical times was the Canaan dog, the only breed truly native to the land of Canaan, the modern State of Israel. Evidence includes the tomb drawings of Bene Hassan (2200-2000 BCE), and rock carvings, such as those found in Wadi Celoqua in Central Sinai, depicting Canaantype dogs chasing an antelope (1st -3rd century CE) (G. Ilani, personal communication), and from Har Harif in the Negev desert depicting an ibex hunt. A clear bas-relief of a Canaan type dog has been found on a 2nd century CE sarcophagus dug up in Ashkelon, and presently in the local archaeological museum.

Discover More About Canine Breeds

Discover more about the fascinating world of dogs and their unique traits on our Discover page, where we delve into various breeds and their histories.

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