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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for canine

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 To alleviate the impact for canines, the German military’s dog handlers have conceived a variety of games and activities to allow the dogs to continue a life that resembles their military past at least to some extent. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Everyone loves the war dog in the Baghdadi raid. But his predecessors used to be euthanized.," 31 Oct. 2019 Cory's hoping to make life better for the canines by changing the way the sheep herding industry raises and cares for them. Shelbie Harris,, "Rancher hopes to improve plight of sheep industry’s canines," 29 Oct. 2019 The all-volunteer organization has raised over $1.5 million for local animal welfare, including spay and neuter programs, veterinary care, adoption programs and safety vests for law-enforcement canines. Kate Santich,, "It’s almost Howl-O-Ween. Is your dog’s costume ready?," 30 Sep. 2019 While Wag started as a dog-walking startup, Rover launched four years earlier as a boarding service for canines -- a more costly but typically less frequent need for pet owners. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, "Dog-walking startup Wag raised $300 million to unleash growth. Then things got messy," 27 Sep. 2019 Unfortunately, there is no approved vaccine for canines, the zoo said. Ashley Boucher,, "2 Mexican Gray Wolf Pups, a Highly Endangered Species, Die of EEE Virus at Michigan Zoo," 26 Sep. 2019 This has not stopped the area from long being used as a dog park for canines that enjoy getting their paws wet. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Dogs, downward: N.B. animal-control officers writing fewer tickets at unofficial ‘dog beach’ so far this year," 12 Sep. 2019 The State Department has sent explosive detection canines to partner nations for two decades, relying heavily on dogs provided and trained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. oregonlive, "U.S. officials knew bomb-sniffing dogs were dying from neglect in Jordan. They sent more.," 16 Sep. 2019 But now the park was somehow both a wild canine circus sabotaging property values and a beloved gathering space for only the politest of pooches. Jessica Contrera,, "Maryland dog park divides the rich and powerful," 6 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective So dear readers — those of you who are dog owners — please help me decide whether or not to welcome a canine companion into my home. Bea Lewis,, "A home for Fido? Not sure | Opinion," 1 Nov. 2019 Before the parade began, dogs and their human companions congregated at 12:30 p.m. in Kauffman Park for a festival featuring entertainment, games, canine-themed vendors and other activities. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Spooky pooches take over downtown Lakewood for 12th annual parade, festival," 22 Oct. 2019 Pavlov and his students collected the fluids that canine digestive organs produced, with a tube suspended from some pooches’ mouths to capture saliva. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "The Top 10 Science Experiments of All Time," 10 Oct. 2019 The chocolate lab’s enthusiasm — likely attributed to imminent treats — was fitting, nonetheless, for being among the first dogs to participate in a canine clinical trial testing the effectiveness of a new cancer prevention vaccine. Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post, "“This is groundbreaking”: Canine clinical trial for potential cancer prevention vaccine underway at CSU," 7 Oct. 2019 For one thing, competitive dog diving is a fast-growing canine sport. oregonlive, "Dogs learn to swim and dive at Oregon’s indoor animal aquatic center (Video)," 27 Sep. 2019 While there are plenty of amazing pet-friendly hotels, parks and other attractions for you and your canine to visit, these places probably aren’t shaped like a giant dog. Kelli Bender,, "This Giant Beagle-Shaped Airbnb is the Perfect Place to Spend National Dog Day," 22 Aug. 2019 Boyle identified nine specialty units: motorized, canine, medical, logistics, communications, search and rescue mounted patrol, tactical searches, technical rescues and a training unit. Ramona Sentinel, "Community groups spread goodwill at Night Out Against Crime," 10 Aug. 2019 While a canine unit can have benefits in improving security, there are some limitations. Joe Mahr,, "CTA pulls security dogs from system, amid questions about whether guards were properly trained," 1 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canine

Time Traveler for canine

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for canine

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Canine.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on canine

What made you want to look up canine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not agreeing with established beliefs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!