Seven Swedish isolates of Ehrlichia species from the blood of four dogs and three horses with clinical granulocytic ehrlichiosis, were identified by direct solid phase DNA sequencing of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products from the 16S rRNA gene. The amplified DNA fragments were produced with primers complementary to the universal regions, U1, U2, U5 and U8 of the 16S rRNA molecule. Identical sequences were obtained from all seven isolates. This nucleotide sequence was similar to the sequences deposited in GenBank for Ehrlichia phagocytophila and E equi. The sequence of the Swedish ehrlichiae differed in two nucleotide positions from the E phagocytophila sequence and in three positions from the E equi sequence, and it is tentatively proposed that it is a subspecies of one of these two. The alignment of the sequence of the Swedish isolates with a recently deposited sequence from human cases of ehrlichiosis in the USA revealed 100 per cent identity in a segment of about 1400 bp.