Although rarely isolated from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, Burkholderia dolosa is associated with accelerated lung function decline. During 18 years of epidemiological surveillance in the major Portuguese CF centre in Lisbon, only one patient was infected with B. dolosa. Pulmonary deterioration, associated with the evolution of forced expiratory volume in 1 s, occurred during 5.5 years of colonization with this B. dolosa clone (with the new sequence type ST-668). Transient co-colonization with Burkholderia cenocepacia and other bacterial and fungal pathogens occurred, but B. dolosa prevailed until the patient's death. The systematic assessment of relevant phenotypes for the sequential clonal isolates examined in this retrospective study (14 of B. dolosa and four of B. cenocepacia) showed that they were variants, although in general no isolation time-dependent pattern of alteration was identified. However, the first B. dolosa isolate retrieved was more susceptible to gentamicin, imipenem and tobramycin, and exhibited a higher swarming motility compared with most of the isolates obtained during the later stages of disease progression and antimicrobial therapy.