A nested PCR (nPCR) assay for the detection of canine coronavirus (CCV) in fecal samples is described. The target sequence for the assay was a 514-bp fragment within the spike (S) glycoprotein gene. The sensitivity of the assay is extremely high, detecting as little as 25 50% tissue culture infective doses per g of unprocessed feces. A clinical trial using dogs challenged orally with CCV SA4 and CCV NVSL was used to compare viral isolation and the nPCR assay as detection techniques over a 2-week period of infection. Virus isolation detected CCV shedding from day 4 to 9 postchallenge, while the nPCR assay detected CCV shedding from day 4 to 13 postchallenge. Cloning and sequencing of the nPCR assay product enabled investigation of the evolutionary relationships between strains within the S gene. The simple and rapid procedure described here makes this assay an ideal alternative technique to electron microscopy and viral isolation in cell culture for detection of CCV shedding in feces. The described assay also provides a method of identifying new strains of CCV without the complicated and time-consuming practice of raising antibodies to individual strains. This is illustrated by the identification, for the first time, of an Australian isolate of CCV (UWSMN-1).