Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the myocardium, which causes heart failure and premature death. It has been described in humans and several domestic animals. In the Newfoundland dog, DCM is an autosomal dominant disease with late onset and reduced penetrance. We analyzed 15 candidate genes for their involvement in DCM in the Newfoundland dog. Polymorphic microsatellite markers and single Nucleotide Polymorphisms were genotyped in 4 families of Newfoundland dogs segregating dilated cardiomyopathy for the genes encoding alpha-cardiac actin (ACTC), caveolin (CAVI), cysteine-rich protein 3 (CSRP3), LIM-domain binding factor 3 (LDB3), desmin (DES), lamin A/C (LMNA), myosin heavy polypeptide 7 (MYH7), delta-sarcoglycan (SGCD), troponin I (TNNTI3), troponin T (TNNT2), alpha-tropomyosin (TPMI), titin (TTN) and vinculin (VCL). A Logarithm of the odds (LOD) score of less than -2.0 in 2-point linkage analysis indicated exclusion of all but 2 genes, encoding CSRP3 and DES. A (LOD) score between -1.5 and -2.0 for CSRP3 and DES makes these genes unlikely causes of DCM in this dog breed. For the phospholamban (PLN) and titin cap (TTN) genes, a direct mutation screening approach was used. DNA sequence analysis of all exons showed no evidence that these genes are involved in DCM in the Newfoundland dog.