Cytoplasmic dynein is a multisubunit microtubule-based motor protein that is involved in several eukaryotic cell motilities. Two dynein heavy chains each form a motor domain that connects to a common cargo-binding tail. Although this tail domain is composed of multiple polypeptides, subunit organization within this region is poorly understood. Here we present an in vitro dissection of the tail-forming region of the dynein heavy chain from Dictyostelium. Our work identifies a sequence important for dimerization and for binding the dynein intermediate chain. The core of this motif localizes within an approximately 150-amino acid region that is strongly conserved among other cytoplasmic dyneins. This level of conservation does not extend to the axonemal dynein heavy chains, suggesting functional differences between the two. Dimerization appears to occur through a different mechanism than the heavy chain-intermediate chain interaction. We corroborate the in vitro interactions with in vivo expression of heavy chain fragments in Dictyostelium. Fragments lacking the interaction domain express well, without an obvious phenotype. On the other hand, the region crucial for both interactions appears to be lethal when overexpressed.