Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) became widespread during 1978 and was reported in many countries during 1978 and 1979. Earlier studies showed that CPV-2 was replaced in the U.S.A. around 1980 by an antigenically and genetically variant virus (CPV-2a). Here we show that CPV-2 was present in the U.S.A., Japan, Belgium and Australia prior to 1980, but that between 1979 and 1982 CPV-2 was replaced by CPV-2a in all of those countries as well as in France and Denmark. Examination of sera collected between 1979 and 1984 from wild coyotes (Canis latrans) in the U.S.A. by an agar gel precipitin assay indicated that the coyotes were originally infected by CPV-2, but that after 1980 the juvenile coyotes were being infected with CPV-2a. The natural global replacement of CPV-2 by CPV-2a over a period of 2 to 3 years indicates that CPV-2a has a strong epidemiological advantage over CPV-2, although the mechanism involved remains to be defined.