To investigate the role of type X collagen in skeletal development, we have generated type X collagen-null mice. Surprisingly, mice without type X collagen were viable and fertile and had no gross abnormalities in long bone growth or development. No differences were detected between the type X collagen-null mice and controls when growth plates of both newborn and 3-week old mice were examined by histology and by immunostaining for extracellular matrix components of bone including osteopontin, osteocalcin and type II collagen. Our results suggest that type X collagen is not required for long bone development. However, mice and humans with dominant acting type X collagen mutations have bone abnormalities, suggesting that only the presence of abnormal type X collagen can modify bone growth and development.