A putative retrovirus was isolated from a dog with a severe, acquired immunodeficiency-like syndrome. The haematological abnormalities and immunological deficiencies included anaemia, leucopenia (lymphopenia and neutropenia), thrombocytopenia, decreased humoral immunity, and ineffective T-cell responses in-vitro. The necropsy findings included generalized lymphoid depletion, severe bone marrow hypoplasia, plasmacytic infiltrates in lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs, and severe secondary infections. Supernates of peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures from the affected dog contained an agent with manganese-dependent reverse transcriptase (RT) activity that sedimented at a density of 1·122 g/ml. RT activity was also found post-mortem in extracts prepared from the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and small intestine. The lymph nodes and small intestine expressed a 3·8 kb mRNA that was recognized by a bovine leukaemia virus (BLV) pol DNA probe by Northern blotting. DNA isolated from the lymph nodes and small intestine from the affected dog showed distinct band patterns by Southern analysis, suggesting an exogenous retrovirus. The retrovirus could be propagated in normal canine peripheral blood mononuclear cells or short-term canine lymphocyte cell lines in-vitro, and was cytopathogenic for cells of canine, but not human, origin. These results suggest the existence of a pathogenic canine retrovirus capable of producing disease of the type associated with retroviruses in other species.