The process of anatomic closure of the ductus arteriosus was studied at the ultrastructural level in 15 normal beagles (age 0 hour to 13 days) and in 18 specimens from a strain of dogs with hereditary persistent ductus arteriosus (age 4 hours to 27 days). Normal ductal closure takes place from the pulmonary artery to the aortic end. It is accompanied by a series of histologic changes: 1) separation of the endothelial cells from the internal elastic lamina resulting in a wide region of subendothelial edema; 2) ingrowth and infolding of endothelial cells and migration of undifferentiated smooth muscle cells from the inner media into the subendothelial region; 3) apposition of endothelial cells bordering the lumen; and 4) degenerative changes. In persistent ductus arteriosus, these changes do not occur. The endothelial cells remain closely adhered to the internal elastic lamina and the underlying media is abnormal in structure. In the case of partial persistent ductus arteriosus (ductus diverticulum), both the normal and the abnormal type of wall are found in a single ductus arteriosus. The histologic features of the normal and the persistent ductus arteriosus in the dog resemble those of the normal and the persistent ductus arteriosus in humans, suggesting a similar pathogenesis.