Animals, Carnivore, Mammals

A Comprehensive List of Canines (2023)

A Comprehensive List of Canines (2023)

What is a Canine?

Canines, also known as canids, include domestic dogs, foxes, wolves, jackals, and other members of the dog family (Canidae). They are found on all continents of the world, except Antarctica. Members of the canine family can be generally recognised by their relatively slender legs, long muzzles, bushy tails, and erect pointed ears.

Here’s a comprehensive list of all the canine species and subspecies that currently exist in the world:

Domestic Dogs

The domestic dog and present-day wolf share a common linage to back to an extinct wolf, or wolf-like species. Consequently, all dog breeds and types of wolf are of the same genus (Canis) and species (lupus).  Thus, the massive ‘Great Dane’ and the diminutive ‘Chihuahua’ are both recognised as the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris. As are all the other dog breeds (up to 340) currently recognised throughout the world.


The are only three recognised species of wolf throughout the world. These are the grey wolf, the Ethiopian wolf, and the red wolf. The grey wolf, is sometimes known as just a ‘wolf’, a common wolf, or a timber wolf. Similarly, the Ethiopian wolf is also known as the Abyssinian wolf, the Simien fox or the Simien jackal.

  • Grey Wolf (Canis lupus)
  • Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis)
  • Red Wolf (Canis rufus)

Subspecies of Grey Wolf

Up until quite recently, there were thought to be at least 32 subspecies of grey wolf in North America alone. However, with the advancement of genetic studies, most experts now recognise just four grey wolf subspecies from the North American continent. These are the:

  • Arctic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos)
  • Great Plains Wolf (Canis lupus nubilus)
  • Mexican (Grey) Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)
  • Northwestern Wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis)

Currently, there are seven other widely recognised subspecies of grey wolf from the rest of the world. These are the:

  • Tundra Wolf (Canis lupus albus)
  • Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs)
  • Steppe Wolf (Canis lupus campestris)
  • Mongolian Wolf (Canis lupus chanco)
  • Himalayan Wolf (Canus lupus filchneri)
  • Eurasian Wolf (Canis lupus lupus)
  • Indian Wolf  (Canis lupus pallipes)


True Foxes

There are currently twelve recognised species of ‘true’ fox (as listed below). The silver fox (Vulpes vulpes) and cross fox (Vulpes vulpes) are melanistic variations of the red fox. This means they are the same species but their pelts are a different colour due to a gradual mutation.

  • Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  • Swift Fox (Vulpes velox)
  • Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus)
  • Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda)
  • Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis )
  • Blanford Fox (Vulpes cana)
  • Cape Fox (Vulpes chama)
  • Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac)
  • Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis)
  • Pale Fox (Vulpes pallida)
  • Rüppell’s Fox (Vulpes rueppellii)
  • Tibetan Fox (Vulpes ferrilata)

North American Red Foxes

The North American red fox (Vulpes fulva) is recognised by some experts as being a different species from the European red fox (Vulpes vulpes). This being the case, the following nine subspecies are recognised:

  • British Columbian Fox (Vulpes fulva abietorum)
  • Northern Alaskan Fox (Vulpes fulva alascensis)
  • Cascade Mountains Red Fox (Vulpes fulva cascadensis)
  • American Red Fox (Vulpes fulva fulvus)
  • Wasatch Mountains Fox (Vulpes fulva macroura)
  • Sierra Nevada Red Fox (Vulpes fulva necator)
  • Sacramento Valley Red Fox (Vulpes fulva patwin)
  • Northern plains Fox (Vulpes fulva regalis)
  • Nova Scotia Fox (Vulpes fulva rubricosa)

False Foxes

False foxes are best described as those species that carry the fox name but are not of the Vulpes genus. The eleven currently recognised species of ‘false fox’ are:

  • Crab-eating Fox (Cerdocyon thous)
  • Bat-eared Fox (Otocyon megalotis)
  • Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
  • Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis)
  • Cozumel Fox (Urocyon  ???)
  • Culpeo or Andean Fox (Lycalopex culpaeus)
  • Darwin’s Fox (Lycalopex fulvipes)
  • South American Grey Fox (Lycalopex griseus)
  • Pampas Fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus)
  • Sechuran Fox (Lycalopex sechurae)
  • Hoary Fox (Lycalopex vetulus)

??? A newly recognised species that is still to be designated a full species name.


There is only one species of coyote, which is Canis lantrans. However, there are nineteen subspecies of coyote, which are:

  • Mexican Coyote (Canis latrans cagottis)
  • San Pedro Martir Coyote (Canis latrans clepticus)
  • Salvador Coyote (Canis latrans dickeyi)
  • South-eastern Coyote (Canis latrans frustor)
  • Belize Coyote (Canis latrans goldmani)
  • Honduras Coyote (Canis latrans hondurensis)
  • Durango Coyote (Canis latrans impavidus)
  • Northern Coyote (Canis latrans incolatus)
  • Tiburon Island Coyote (Canis latrans jamesi)
  • Plains Coyote (Canis latrans latrans)
  • Mountain Coyote (Canis latrans lestes)
  • Mearns Coyote (Canis latrans mearnsi)
  • Lower Rio Grande Coyote (Canis latrans microdon)
  • California Valley Coyote (Canis latrans ochropus)
  • Peninsula Coyote (Canis latrans peninsulae)
  • Texas Plains Coyote (Canis latrans texensis)
  • North-eastern Coyote (Canis latrans thamnos)
  • Northwest Coast Coyote (Canis latrans umpquensis)
  • Colima Coyote (Canis latrans vigilis)


There are three species of jackal, which are:

  • Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus)
  • Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas)
  • Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)


There is only one species of dhole which is Cuon alpinus.  The seven subspecies of dhole are:

  • Burmese Dhole (Cuon alpinus adjustus)
  • Asiatic Dhole (Cuon alpinus fumosus) 1
  • Asiatic Dhole (Cuon alpinus laniger) 2
  • Asiatic Dhole (Cuon alpinus lepturus) 3
  • Tien Shan Dhole (Cuon alpinus hespirius)
  • Sumatran Wild Dog (Cuon alpinus sumatrensis)
  • Ussuri Red Wolf (Cuon alpinus alpinus) +

+ Currently a nominated subspecies

Range of the Asiatic Dhole

1 – Western Szechuan (China) and Mongolia. Southern Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Java (Indonesia). 2 – Southern Tibet, Himalayan Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Kashmir. 3 – South of the Yangtze River (China)

Other Canines

There are currently seven other recognised species of canine from around the world. These are the:

  • Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
  • Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
  • African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)
  • Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) +
  • New Guinea Singing Dog (Canis hallstrom) +
  • Bush Dog (Speothos venaticus)
  • Short-eared Dog (Atelocynus microtis)

+ Currently under consideration by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for reclassification to ancient breed of dog (Canis lupus familiaris).


Header photo credit: Ondrej Prosicky/


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