While rabies is a significant public health concern in China, the epidemiology of animal rabies in the north and northwest border provinces remains unknown. From February 2013 to March 2014, seven outbreaks of domestic animal rabies caused by wild carnivores in Xinjiang (XJ) and Inner Mongolia (IM) Autonomous Regions, China were reported and diagnosed in brain samples of infected animals by the fluorescent antibody test (FAT) and RT–PCR. Ten field rabies viruses were obtained. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis based on the complete N gene (1353 bp) amplified directly from the original brain tissues showed that these ten strains were steppe-type viruses, closely related to strains reported in Russia and Mongolia. None had been identified previously in China. The viruses from XJ and IM clustered separately into two lineages showing their different geographical distribution. This study emphasizes the importance of wildlife surveillance and of cross-departmental cooperation in the control of transboundary rabies transmission.