Brucella canis is considered a rare cause of human brucellosis. The clinical importance of this infection may have been underestimated so far because of difficulties with presumptive diagnosis. The case described here presented symptoms compatible with brucellosis but the routine tests using Brucella abortus antigen were negative. The infection would have remained undiagnosed if culture had not been positive. This case illustrates the potential for a favourable outcome in Brucella canis diagnosis and supports recommendations for the use of B. canis serology. The infection should be suspected in patients with compatible symptoms and negative serology for B. abortus antigen.