The present study investigates the mechanical and energetic changes induced by hypoxia in isolated cardiac muscles of different species characterized by different myosin isoforms. Classic mechanical parameters of contraction and energetic parameters derived from the tension-velocity relationship were studied in rat and guinea pig left ventricular papillary muscles and in frog ventricular strips before and after 15 min hypoxia (n = 8 in each group). The isomyosin pattern is predominantly V1 with high ATPase activity in rat and V3 with low ATPase activity in guinea pig and frog heart ventricles. At baseline, cardiac mechanical performance was greater in rat than in guinea pig and frog muscle, but the economy of tension generation did not differ significantly between the three species. Hypoxia significantly decreased myocardial mechanical performance in all three groups. Mechanical impairment was more marked in rat than in the other two species and was intermediate in guinea pig. The energetic consequences of hypoxia differed according to species and in a different manner from the mechanical parameters. Hypoxia decreased the economy of tension generation in rat heart, in contrast to no change in guinea pig and frog muscle. These results suggest that in terms of mechano-energetic properties, cardiac muscles with V1 isomyosin were more sensitive to hypoxia than those containing V3 isomyosin.