Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a neurodegenerative disease found in Border collie dogs, humans, and other animals. Disease gene studies in humans and animals provided candidates for the NCL gene in Border collies. A combination of linkage analysis and comparative genomics localized the gene to CFA22 in an area syntenic to HSA13q that contains the CLN5 gene responsible for the Finnish variant of human late infantile NCL. Sequencing of CLN5 revealed a nonsense mutation (Q206X) within exon 4 that correlated with NCL in Border collies. This truncation mutation should result in a protein product of a size similar to that of some mutations identified in human CLN5 and therefore the Border collie may make a good model for human NCL. A simple test was developed to enable screening of the Border collie population for carriers so the disease can be eliminated as a problem in the breed.