A new species, Porphyromonas gulae sp. nov., is proposed to include strains isolated from the gingival sulcus of various animal hosts which are distinct from related strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis of human origin. This bacterium exhibits the following characteristics: black-pigmented colonies; asaccharolytic, obligate anaerobic growth; and Gram-negative, non-motile and non-spore-forming, rod-shaped cells. Colonies do not fluoresce under UV light. Vitamin K1 and haemin are required for growth. Cells haemagglutinate sheep erythrocytes. Major fatty acid end products are butyric acid, isovaleric acid, succinic acid and phenylacetic acid. Strains are catalase-positive and indole is produced. Alkaline phosphatase, trypsin-like and N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase activities are strong. A beta-galactosidase and a glutamylglutamic acid arylamidase are also present. The G+C content of the chromosomal DNA is 51 mol%. DNA-DNA homology data and 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis provide strong evidence that strains from the animal biotype of P. gingivalis represent a Porphyromonas species that is distinct from P. gingivalis. The type strain of P. gulae is Loup 1T (= ATCC 51700T = NCTC 13180T).