As in many human patients with X-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (XHED), XHED dogs are at an increased risk for pulmonary disorders. Localized immune system defects had been suspected previously in affected dogs because of frequent infections and unexpected deaths due to opportunistic respiratory tract infections. Experiments were designed to examine systemic and localized humoral and cellular responses, development and function of T cells, and thymic morphology. All dogs used in these experiments were clinically healthy at the time of examination and their immune responses were compared to normal littermates. Serum immunoglobulin concentrations differed somewhat between normal dogs and dogs affected with XHED but they were all within normal ranges. The XHED dogs responded appropriately to vaccination with tetanus toxoid suggesting normal systemic B and plasma cell function. Thymic morphology was compared between normal and affected dogs and T cells were assessed for functionality. Numbers and phenotypes of T and B cells in blood and thymus of affected dogs were within normal limits suggesting normal development of T cells. Cytotoxic and phagocytic ability of macrophages and neutrophils was also normal in affected dogs. In contrast, the secretory IgA concentrations found in affected dogs were significantly higher than in normal dogs, while lacrimal secretions were significantly decreased. These results suggest a compensatory mechanism for secretory IgA, so that the total amount equals that in normal dogs. The results presented in this study indicate that the XHED dogs have a relatively intact immune system and suggest that the same is true for humans with the homologous form of XHED.