cDNA encoding the canine keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) was cloned from normal canine prostate tissue. The authentic canine KGF cDNA sequence, 686 bp in length, spans the protein-coding region and 88 bp of the 5' and 19 bp of the 3' untranslated regions of canine KGF. The predicted amino acid sequence of canine KGF is composed of 194 amino acid residues. Canine KGF exhibits highest homology with the human KGF cDNA and amino acid sequences (95.8% and 97.4%, respectively), while it demonstrates the Lowest homology with the rat sequences at 88.0% anti 92.3%, respectively. The degrees of homology with mouse cDNA and amino acid sequences are 91.8% and 95.9%, respectively. By using RNase protection assay, KGF was shown to be expressed in normal prostate tissues of both mature and young (5-month-old) dogs, In vitro, the recombinant canine KGF has mitogenic activity on cultured canine epithelial cells, whereas it has no effect on cultured canine prostatic stromal cells. This novel canine KGF cDNA may be a valuable tool in the study of human benign prostatic hyperplasia using the canine prostate as a model.