Human adenovirus (HAV) serotypes 2 and 5 are commonly used as vector backbones for adenovirus-mediated gene transfer. However, HAVs were chosen as a backbone for the vectors for historical reasons and have a number of significant disadvantages when used as a shuttle for gene transfer in humans. As an initial trial to circumvent some of the shortcomings of HAV vectors, we have produced an E1-deleted canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) vector for gene transfer. Initially, we demonstrated that CAV-2 undergoes an abortive viral cycle in a wide range of human-derived cell lines. Second, we assayed human sera containing HAV-5 neutralizing antibodies for their ability to inhibit CAV-2-induced plaques on permissive cells. In the cohort tested, our data demonstrate that the humoral response directed against HAV-5 does not inhibit CAV-2 plaque formation in the majority of cases. Canine cell lines expressing the E1 region of CAV-2 were generated and characterized. A recombinant CAV vector (CAVRSVbetagal) deleted in the E1 region and harboring lacZ was constructed. We show that CAVRSVbetagal is able to transduce and direct expression of the transgene in vitro in a variety of mammalian cells, most notably primary human-derived cells. In addition, gene transfer is demonstrated in vivo using chick embryos.