Istrian Sheepdog vs Canaan Dog - Breed Comparison

Istrian Sheepdog vs Canaan Dog - Breed ComparisonIstrian Sheepdog is originated from Slovenia but Canaan Dog is originated from Israel. Both Istrian Sheepdog and Canaan Dog are having almost same height. Istrian Sheepdog may weigh 15 kg / 34 pounds more than Canaan Dog. Istrian Sheepdog may live 3 years less than Canaan Dog. Both Istrian Sheepdog and Canaan Dog has same litter size. Istrian Sheepdog requires Moderate maintenance. But Canaan Dog requires Low maintenance


istrian sheepdog - historyKnown also as the Karst Sheepdog, the beautiful, medium sized Istrian Sheepdog hails from Slovenia, Yugoslavia in the 1600s, being used to guard sheep. In fact, the Karst Shepherd was recognized as the Illyrian Shepherd in 1939.

The dog is fairly scarce in his own country, but interest in the dog started developing in the late 1970s. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes the breed and it has also been exported to the United States, being recognized by the United Kennel Club.

It is also recognized by a number of smaller kennel clubs. The dogs numbers have declined at certain periods in its history but fortunately breeding programs boosted its numbers.

canaan dog - historyThe Canaan Dog is an attractive dog and is Israel’s national breed. Research reveals that the dog’s history can be traced way back to 2200BC.

The dog’s origins go back to the pariah dog of the Middle East. It is believed that the dog has been perceived as a sacred animal and that he was both guard- and herd dog of the ancient Israelites.

A certain Dr Rudolphina Menzel moved from Vienna to Israel and was asked to establish a service dog organization. She trained and bred them, finding them to be highly trainable. She began a breeding program in 1934, providing working dogs for the military and starting a selective breeding program for the Canaan dog. The Israel Kennel Club dog recognized the Canaan for the first time in 1953.

Basic Information

Working dog
Working dog
Height Male:
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
51 - 61 cm
20 - 25 inches
Height Female:
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
49 - 61 cm
19 - 25 inches
Weight Male:
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
20 - 25 kg
44 - 56 pounds
Weight Female:
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
18 - 25 kg
39 - 56 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
10 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
3 - 6
4 - 6
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Karst Sheepdog
Kelev K'naani, Kaleb Kanaani
Colors Available:
Dark and Light shades of Grey
Sandy, brown, black, white or bi-colored
Long, thick and harsh
Medium length and coarse
Moderate, Seasonal
Minimal, Seasonal
Affectionate, Aggressive, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Stubborn, Territorial
Moderate maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


istrian sheepdog puppy - descriptionThis is a medium sized, muscled, strong dog with an iron-grey coat that has shades of deeper grey. His beautiful coat is long, thick and fairly harsh to the touch, with the undercoat protecting the dog against cold weather.

Around the neck area the hair is longer, forming an eye-catching-like mane. The stomach area has longer hair too. He has a noble look about him with kind, brown eyes and a round skull. The muzzle of the dog is dark, the limbs long and muscular and the tail is long and covered in thick fur.

The dog is slightly longer than its height, and both males and females stand at 54 to 63cm in height and weigh between 26 and 40kg. The long tail reaches right down to the hocks. The ears of the dog are fairly short and are floppy.


This dog has always made an excellent guard dog, being alert and also being distrustful of strangers. He will need to be trained and socialized if you want him to be obedient to you and more amicable around children in the home as well as visitors to the home.

If he is trained and well socialized, he is able to make a good pet. However, he is an energetic dog, used to working and he isn't recommended for life in the city if there is only a tiny garden. He needs space and will require a large garden.

He will also need to be exercised and not just left to his own devices in the backyard. Because he is essentially a working dog he doesn’t easily fit into the role of pet and companion. He is a working dog and will need to be kept busy.


canaan dog puppy - descriptionThe Canaan Dog is lean, standing at between 51–61cm and weighing roughly 18-25kg. The medium sized Canaan Dog’s coat is medium length and can be sandy to brown, white or black or a mix of these. The eyes are dark and inquisitive, the ears are erect and the high set bushy tail is curled over the back.


The Canaan Dog is alert, intelligent, confident and territorial. They are wary of strangers and because they’re alert they’re constantly aware of movement, making them a superb watchdog. However, the dog isn’t aggressive and he makes an excellent family pet, even around children and other pets.

He will need training and socialization though to make him obedient and amicable. He is a strong-willed dog. He is co-operative when being trained and responds well. They are energetic and will make a good companion for runners and cyclists.


istrian sheepdog dog - characteristicsYour Istrian Sheepdog is a unique, strong-willed dog that is used to guarding, and working and he wants to be kept involved and busy.

He is wary of strangers and makes an excellent guard dog for any family home. Remember that it is never good to invest in a dog purely for guard dog purposes. A dog such as the Istrian Sheepdog is a social creature and he also wants- and needs to be part of a human family that provides him with plenty of interaction with them.

The Istrian Sheepdog is a loyal, loving dog who is capable of forming strong bonds with his human family. With proper training and socialization he makes a good friend of children and the elderly too.

Include him in all your family activities just like any human family member and he will make you a splendid, courageous pet.

canaan dog dog - characteristicsThe Canaan Dog is an intelligent dog and this makes him easy to train. He is a strong-willed, independent dog and will require training and socialization to make him obedient. He is an affectionate and loving dog and will make a wonderful family pet.

The Canaan Dog is also a fairly healthy, robust breed and appeals to many dog owners who don’t have to spend money on professional grooming for him. He doesn’t require much – isn’t high maintenance at all and he is just waiting to become a member of a human family where he can be loved and cared for just like any other family member.

Health Problems

istrian sheepdog puppies - health problemsAs with many other dog breeds, the Istrian Sheepdog is a healthy dog that, because of history of hard work, is robust and able to stand up well to common dog illnesses.

However there is one dog illness that strikes many dogs and at any age, and it is hip dysplasia. This is a malformation of the hip joints.

You'll notice that your once active dog is lethargic, doesn't want to play so much anymore and battles to get up after lying down. The disease is painful for your dog and it can lead to mobility issues. The disease is diagnosed with x-rays and your vet will recommend treatment options to make life more comfortable and less painful for your beloved pet.

canaan dog puppies - health problemsThe Canaan Dog has a strong immune system and with good care from his owner he can reach 15 years of age. He has been used to living in harsh conditions in the deserts of Israel.

If you want to buy a Canaan dog, as with any dog, a good breeder will be able to produce health certificates for the puppy's parents. These certificates confirm that the dog has been tested and cleared of certain common conditions that affect dogs.

Because hip dysplasia is such a common problem with dogs, you may want to see health certificates from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OCA).

A form of cancer that you might expect to see in this breed is Lymphosarcoma, a cancer which affects the lymphoid system. The lymphoid system is a critical part of the dog’s immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.

Caring The Pet


istrian sheepdog dogs - caringThis is a dog that is used to guarding his flock and he will need to be in a home that has a fair sized garden. He can adapt to life in the city or to the countryside, but wherever he is, he will need sufficient exercise. Take him with you on your walks or hikes and give him some rope- and ball games.

General Care:

Wherever you live in the world, when the Winter winds howl and blow in icy rain or snow, a dog is at an increased risk of illness. You decided to have a dog in your home and it is your responsibility to care for him. Winter weather is downright unpleasant and dangerous for most pets.

Bring your pet in during such weather and provide him with a warm, dry sleeping space. During hot weather, make sure your pet has a cool, shady spot to lie down in, out of the boiling sun. Whatever weather you're experiencing, your pet should never ever be without a constant supply of fresh, cool water.

Provide him with excellent food that is full of vitamins and minerals to keep him healthy. Learn to know what human foods can be toxic for him and cause him digestive problems.


Your double coated Istrian Sheepdog will need a thorough brushing at least twice a week because of his dense, double coat. He does shed and isn't a hypoallergenic dog. His thick coat can tangle easily if it isn't properly brushed and maintained.

Clip his nails when and if they grow long. Other grooming aspects for this attractive dog require checking his ears for infection and also checking his teeth as dental disease can lead to a host of serious illnesses in your dog.


canaan dog dogs - caringThe Canaan Dog needs a steady diet of high-quality food, whether you provide your own home-made food or you buy commercially manufactured food. A healthy diet full of minerals and vitamins is essential for good health. If you’re not sure how to feed your Canaan dog, your veterinarian can advise you according to your dog’s age.

Remember that dogs are carnivorous so even though raw meat can be pretty expensive, you want to include it in his diet from time to time to stave off itchy, dry skin rashes and other illnesses. Always see to it that there is a bowl of fresh, cool water 24/7.


The Canaan Dog is a low maintenance breed who has moderate, seasonal shedding. The coat is easy to groom. He will need a good brush twice a week to keep him free of loose hairs and to keep his coat shiny.

Other kinds of grooming are also important such as brushing his teeth 2 or 3x a week to remove tartar build-up. Bad teeth can affect the immune system and make him ill.


Canaans are going to require a moderate amount of exercise. Just like with any dog, you can’t just buy a cute puppy and when he becomes an adult and no longer cute to you, forget about him in the backyard. A dog is a 15 year responsibility and he will need regular walks and games from you to guarantee his health and happiness.

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