The present study was undertaken to examine how osteoarthritis affects the expression of type‐X collagen, a hypertrophic chondrocyte‐specific collagen in articular cartilage. A well characterized sheep polyclonal antiserum, as well as three mouse monoclonal antibodies against canine type‐X collagen, was used to immunolocalize type‐X collagen in human and canine joints. Its expression in osteoarthritic cartilage was altered in several locations. In the canine osteoarthritic joints, type‐X collagen increased in and just above the zone of calcified cartilage and was present diffusely throughout the calcified matrix. In both the human and canine cartilage, type‐X collagen was localized around cell clones in the transitional zone of cartilage. This is surprising, since that region of the cartilage does not calcify and one of the proposed roles of type‐X collagen is in mineralization. Thus, the osteoarthritic process may damage the matrix in the superficial layer and induce changes leading to the expression of the hypertrophic chondrocyte phenotype.