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 For example, a novel strain of canine respiratory coronavirus identified in 2017 was likely a recombinant of existing canine and bovine coronaviruses. Quanta Magazine, "What Other Coronaviruses Tell Us About SARS-CoV-2," 29 Apr. 2020 In announcing the availability of their test, IDEXX indicated that thousands of canine and feline specimens had been evaluated during their validation of the test and none had come up as being positive. Briana Rice,, "Can your pet catch or transmit coronavirus? Tips on how to protect them from COVID-19," 17 Mar. 2020 Setting out in front of troops, combat canines and their handlers often lead the wayinto the most dangerous battlefields. National Geographic, "Why are these dogs good soldiers?," 31 Oct. 2019 But thanks to this translation work, Laikago has learned to move like a real-life canine. Matt Simon, Wired, "How a Real Dog Taught a Robot Dog to Walk," 3 Apr. 2020 Officers then decided to enter the house with Karl, a police canine. USA TODAY, "Rock slides wreak havoc, close encounters with great white shark, gray whale: News from around our 50 states," 14 Feb. 2020 Like all transmissible cancers, the cells are identical, and in the case of dogs, derive from a single canine that lived about 11,000 years ago. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "Rare cancers spreading among sea creatures have scientists perplexed," 8 Nov. 2019 The Blue Dog series was based on the French-Cajun loup-garou legend of a werewolf-like canine that prowls cemeteries and cane fields at night, haunting naughty children. Jamie Swinnerton, Houston Chronicle, "Wilkerson Intermediate students celebrate art of George Rodrigue," 16 Sep. 2019 Police relied on a police canine to help subdue him. Emily Deruy, The Mercury News, "Two arrested in Redwood Shores after car chase," 27 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Before the man could pick up his dog, the canine bit it on the back and tail area. John Benson, cleveland, "Eastlake man pockets cash while dumping concrete illegally: Seven Hills Police Blotter," 6 May 2020 Humans have trained our canine friends' finely tuned noses to sniff out other deadly diseases, including malaria, diabetes, some cancers and Parkinson’s disease, reported Ian Tucker for the Guardian in 2018. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Dogs Are Being Trained to Sniff Out COVID-19," 1 May 2020 The soul of The Art of Racing in the Rain, adapted from Garth Stein’s 2008 novel, is Enzo, a canine with golden fur, soulful eyes and a way with words; his bons mots of shaggy wisdom come to us in the voice of Kevin Costner. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Art of Racing in the Rain," 8 Aug. 2019 In fact, besides a few genes in some modern dogs today, the only trace of the original American dogs in today's canines is found in the form of a common canine tumor, according to the study, published today (July 5) in the journal Science. Yasemin Saplakoglu, Fox News, "Native dogs of the Americas were wiped out by European colonization," 6 July 2018 Paws in the Park will feature demonstrations by the Pearland Police Department’s canine unit as well as the Pearland Fire Department’s arson group, which uses dogs in its investigations. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, "Pooches of all types coming to Pearland Paws event," 10 Mar. 2020 The pair approached the Sierra Blanca checkpoint station, where a U.S. Border Patrol canine unit alerted authorities to their vehicle, the DOJ said in a statement Wednesday. William Mansell, ABC News, "NFL offensive lineman Greg Robinson found with 157 pounds of weed in vehicle: DEA," 19 Feb. 2020 Snow said that the funding for the canine unit is all through community donations. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Germantown Police Department's retired K-9 Rambo has died," 29 Jan. 2020 The rep said the investigation was ongoing and that a canine dog unit was en route. Lauren Huff,, "SAG-AFTRA buildings in L.A. and N.Y. evacuated after threatening phone call," 7 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

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Canine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 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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