Circumanal glands are prominent features of the canine perianal skin, which are often located near to the sebaceous glands and apocrine glands. As the functional relevance of circumanal glands is yet unknown, we studied the localisation of sialic acids and anti-microbial substances (lysozyme, immunoglobulin A, lactoferrin, β-defensin) in these glandular structures by lectin histochemistry and immunohistochemistry. The glands exhibited a number of sialic acids that were linked to α2-6Gal/GalNAc and α2-3Galβ1-4GlcNAc. Additionally, lysozyme, lactoferrin and β-defensin could be demonstrated in the three types of skin glands, whereas IgA was only detectable in the apocrine glands. The results of the study suggest the specific significance of the circumanal glands. Independent of a certain endocrine role, their products may mainly function as protective agents to preserve the integrity of the anal region, considering that sialic acids and anti-microbial substances are important in defence mechanisms.