DOCK8 deficiency in humans and mice leads to multiple defects in immune cell numbers and function. Patients with this immunodeficiency have a high morbidity and mortality, and are distinguished by chronic cutaneous viral infections, including those caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). The underlying mechanism of the specific susceptibility to these chronic cutaneous viral infections is currently unknown, largely because the effect of DOCK8 deficiency has not been studied in suitable models. A better understanding of these mechanisms is required to underpin the development of more specific therapies. Here we show that DOCK8-deficient mice have poor control of primary cutaneous herpes simplex lesions and this is associated with increased virus loads. Furthermore, DOCK8-deficient mice showed a lack of CD4(+) T-cell infiltration into HSV-infected skin.