We report clinical and imaging findings in six cases from five families affected by the form of congenital muscular dystrophy with rigid spine linked to the locus rigid spine muscular dystrophy 1 on chromosome 1p35-36. All cases showed rigidity of the spine, predominant neck and trunk weakness and frequent and severe thoracic scoliosis. Respiratory impairment was always observed in the first decade. Muscle imaging showed a marked involvement of adductors, sartorius and biceps femoris while rectus femoris and gracilis were relatively spared. This pattern of selective muscle involvement was consistent in all six cases and could be easily observed on either computerised tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. The results of this study suggest that muscle imaging, in combination with clinical assessment can help to identify the rigid spine muscular dystrophy 1 form of congenital muscular dystrophy and can help to target the appropriate genetic investigations.