The purpose of this study was to determine the nucleotide sequence of canine 5S rRNA and use this information to develop a molecular probe to assign the gene locus to chromosomes of the dog and three other related canid species using fluorescence in situ hybridization. The nucleotide sequence of canine liver 5S rRNA is 120 base pairs long and identical to the 5S rRNA nucleotide sequence of all other mammalian species investigated so far. A single 5S rRNA gene cluster was localized pericentromerically on chromosomes of four canid species: dog 4q1.3, red fox 4q1.3, blue fox 3q1.3 and Chinese raccoon dog 8q1.3. Chromosome arms carrying the 5S rRNA gene cluster showed striking similarities in their QFQ banding patterns, suggesting high conservation of these chromosome arms among the four species studied. The chromosomal assignments of 5S rRNA genes are among the first gene mapping results for the blue fox and the Chinese raccoon dog, and are in accordance with published data on comparative chromosome maps from human, dog, red fox, blue fox and raccoon dogs.