ca·​nine | \ ˈkā-ˌnīn How to pronounce canine (audio) , British also ˈka- \

Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 [Middle English, from Latin (dens) caninus canine tooth] : a conical pointed tooth especially : one situated between the lateral incisor and the first premolar — see tooth illustration
2 : dog sense 1a broadly : canid



Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or resembling that of a dog canine loyalty
2 : of or relating to dogs or to the family (Canidae) including the canids canine diseases

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Synonyms for canine

Synonyms: Noun

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Did You Know?

Dogs are prized for their talents and intelligence but aren't always given credit for their independence. Instead, tales of canine devotion and attachment are legendary; the old Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin television series featured at least one heroic act of devotion per show. So we often hear people described as having "doglike devotion" or "doglike loyalty". But canine itself, unlike doglike, usually refers to four-legged creatures. Canine is not only an adjective but also a noun. Dogs and their relatives in the Canidae family—the wolves, jackals, foxes, and coyotes—are often called canines. And so are those two slightly pointed teeth a bit to the right and left of your front teeth.

Examples of canine in a Sentence

Noun in the minds of some, the winner of this prestigious dog show has a fair claim to the title of King of the Canines
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun A day later, a police search-and-rescue team set out with canines. Annie Hylton, Longreads, "Searching For Mackie," 12 Feb. 2020 The hormone promotes bonding, which might be why canines are so good as therapy or emotional-support animals for people who have survived trauma. Popular Science, "Did humans truly domesticate dogs? Canine history is more of a mystery than you think.," 10 Feb. 2020 Scientists are looking for 10,000 pets for the largest-ever study of aging in canines. NBC News, "Old dogs, new tricks: 10,000 pets needed for science," 14 Nov. 2019 Participating canines must be between 6 and 10 years old, of mixed breed, live within 150 miles of UC Davis, have had a veterinary visit within the past 12 months and have three years of previous medical history available, amongst other criteria. Mitchel Bobo,, "Is man’s best friend the key to battling cancer? New UC Davis study aims to find out," 12 Nov. 2019 In Harris County, canines have been assisting sheriff's deputies for years with apprehending wanted suspects, sniffing out explosives and finding narcotics. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Meet the police dogs who help keep Harris County safe," 27 Aug. 2019 Some cultures—such as in Scandinavia, where canines have long been both working dogs and companions—have kept pets for millennia. The Economist, "Pets have gained the upper paw over their so-called owners," 22 June 2019 Koshetz says 10 additional TSA canine teams will join the 11 already at the Miami airport, and there will be 60 additional TSA officers to keep additional checkpoint lanes open on throughout the day. Harriet Baskas, USA TODAY, "What travelers need to know as TSA, airports brace for Super Bowl LIV travelers," 28 Jan. 2020 In all, more than 7,000 canines are expected to show up for the event, which includes judging of breeds based on standards set by the American Kennel Club. Greg Crawford,, "Detroit's Top 10: Cool things to do this weekend, including Novi dog show, Hip Hop Smackdown, Detroit Boat Show," 15 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The co-owners are so devoted that the entire group took obedience classes together at Woofs, a canine training center in Arlington. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Some Warren campaign volunteers in Virginia show dogged determination," 18 Feb. 2020 And in canine competitions, the poodles often rule. CBS News, "Siba the standard poodle wins "Best in Show" at Westminster Dog Show," 12 Feb. 2020 On Sunday, the 4-year-old border collie mix was instead aggressively enjoying her second life as a touring agility dog, barking it up at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo with the Extreme Dogs canine stunt show. René A. Guzman,, "Extreme Dogs leap back to the Stock Show & Rodeo," 9 Feb. 2020 Hoofprints also dot the rock nearby, and a couple of large canine paw prints also pass close to the human tracks. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthals’ relatives climbed an erupting volcano 350,000 years ago," 5 Feb. 2020 Four-legged friends are encouraged to join the party; Three Sheets plays hosts to several canine charity events throughout the year. David Klein, Los Angeles Times, "In the quiet Las Vegas Arts District, a craft beer scene is brewing. Cheers!," 7 Jan. 2020 This canine intuition is one of the major pluses of dog companionship: it’s proof of the infinite depths of love of which only dogs seem capable. Ali Wunderman, Glamour, "I Got a Couples Massage With My Dog," 3 Feb. 2020 An ad for WeatherTech, which makes car floor-mats and other auto accessories, stars a canine cancer survivor. Nat Ives, WSJ, "Super Bowl 2020 Ads Aim to Uplift, Mostly," 2 Feb. 2020 Bello and her canine comrades have been deployed on professional gigs for a little more than a year. Duncan Strauss,, "Dogs are helping save Florida’s citrus groves from a devastating disease," 18 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of canine


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for canine


Latin caninus, from canis dog — more at hound

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Time Traveler for canine

Time Traveler

The first known use of canine was in the 15th century

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Statistics for canine

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Canine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for canine


How to pronounce canine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : a dog
: a pointed tooth



English Language Learners Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to dogs


ca·​nine | \ ˈkā-ˌnīn How to pronounce canine (audio) \

Kids Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed tooth next to the incisors
2 : a domestic dog or a related animal (as a wolf or fox)



Kids Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to the domestic dog or a related animal canine behavior
2 : like or typical of a dog canine loyalty


ca·​nine | \ ˈkā-ˌnīn, British also ˈkan-ˌīn \

Medical Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a conical pointed tooth especially : one situated between the lateral incisor and the first premolar
2 : any member of the family Canidae : dog



Medical Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to dogs or to the family Canidae

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