For more than 100 years, canine rabies vaccination has been available as a tool for rabies control and elimination. However, domestic dogs still remain a major reservoir for rabies, and although canine rabies has been eliminated through mass dog vaccination in some parts of the world, the disease continues to kill tens of thousands of people every year in Africa and Asia. This review focuses on the situation on those two continents, presenting evidence to show that canine rabies elimination is both epidemiologically and operationally feasible, and could be achieved across a wide range of settings in Africa and Asia. The challenges of achieving the large-scale, comprehensive dog vaccination coverage that is required are discussed, and opportunities for developing new strategies that generate multiple benefits for human and animal health and welfare are highlighted. Finally, the substantial progress that has been made in developing the tools, partnerships and frameworks needed to move towards global canine rabies elimination is outlined.