The Canim are a large wolf-like race. They stand upright to a height of at least 7 feet. Their armies are divided into at least three castes: warrior, ritualist, and raider. The social customs of the Canim are consistent with a race of predators: Any signs of weakness will lead them to attack. If a leader appears weak, he is replaced. They have excellent night vision. Not much is known about them to the Alerans. Most of their knowledge is learned during the Canim's raids on the western coast of Alera.
The Warrior caste is the elite of the fighters for the Canim army. They carry traditional weapons and armor, though the armor is black which is consistent with a predatory race that hunts at night. Varg, Nasaug, and Lararl are leaders of this caste. In addition, some warriors wear scarlet stripes on their armor. Each stripe is a symbol of a time when a warrior showed valor or achieved some type of glory. Most leaders of the canim have very little of their original black armor color showing. Varg, for example, has so many stripes his armor simply appears scarlet. They follow a strict code of conduct, and are very protective of the Makers under their protection.
Those of the Ritualist caste are the spellcasters of the Canim. The Canim do not wield furies, but are still capable of using magic based in the power of blood. The ritualists have been known to do many large-scale sorceries. They have sent large storms, turned the sky red, can call forth lightning to attack an area or single target, and can summon clouds and walls of acid. These acid clouds contain creatures that seem to be made of acid, and are highly poisonous. Sarl, Kharsh, and Marok are leaders of this caste. They are divided into two different groups, the followers of the new way and the old way. Followers of the old way only use their own blood to power their spells, and while the smaller of the two groups, they are more honorable and tend to be more skilled. Followers of the new way use the blood of volunteers and their enemies to make themselves more powerful. They tend to scheme and try to control the makers for their own gain.
The Maker caste forms the bulk of the Canim army, and is made up of farmers and lower-class folk who are conscripted. In battle, they wear lighter armor, and use rusty farm tools as weapons. Throughout most of history, the Makers are the Canim that the rest of Alera has fought. However, despite being "light" infantry, they are still formidable in combat. Both the Ritualists and the Warrior caste claim to serve the Makers, however, Ritualists of the New Way tend to try and manipulate and control the Makers.
In Academ's Fury
The Canim are first presented in Academ's Fury. Tavi meets Ambassador Varg in Varg's attempt to warn the First Lord about the guards he's had go missing. He later discovers and warns Tavi about the Vord nest in The Deeps.
In Cursor's Fury
A large fleet of Canim ships is seen approaching the western coast at the beginning of the book. A Cursor notes it and attempts to report it. Along his way to Aleria Imperia, he finds the First Aleran, a group of legionnaires made up of soldiers from every realm in Alera, which Tavi has been put in charge of. The First Aleran is moved to Elinarch and, in the process, run across several small groups of Canim attacking the local steadholts.
Tavi discovers that the raiding parties are the Canim equivalent to farmers and that they have yet to encounter the main Canim force. He also discovers that the Canim have completely destroyed the fleet they sailed in on. The Canim attack isn't just a raid, it's an invasion.The Canim are eventually routed at Elinarch. As they're retreating, Tavi finds a female Canim that has recently given birth. The Canim haven't just invaded, they're fleeing their homeland and are trying to re-establish a home.