To understand signaling by the neuregulin (NRG) receptor ErbB3/HER3, it is important to know whether ErbB3 forms homodimers upon ligand binding. Previous biophysical studies suggest that the ErbB3 extracellular region remains monomeric when bound to NRG. We used a chimeric receptor approach to address this question in living cells, fusing the extracellular region of ErbB3 to the kinase-active intracellular domain of ErbB1. The ErbB3/ErbB1 chimera responded to NRG only if ErbB2 was co-expressed in the same cells, whereas an ErbB4/ErbB1 chimera responded without ErbB2. We, therefore, suggest that ErbB3 is an obligate heterodimerization partner because of its inability to homodimerize.