The X chromosome linkage group is conserved in placental mammals. However, X chromosome morphological differences, due to internal chromosome rearrangements, exist among mammalian species. We have developed bovine chromosome painting probes for Xp and Xq to assess segment homologies between the submetacentric bovine X chromosome and the acrocentric sheep and goat X chromosomes. These painting probes and their corresponding DNA libraries were developed by chromosome micromanipulation, DNA micropurification, microcloning, and PCR amplification. The bovine Xp painting probe identified an interstitially located homologous segment in the sheep and goat Xq region, most probably resulting from chromosome inversion. Ten type II (microsatellite) markers obtained from the bovine Xq library and five other X chromosome assigned, but unlinked, markers were used to generate a linkage map for Xq spanning 89.4 centimorgans. The chromosome painting probes and molecular markers generated in this study would be useful for comparative mapping and tracing of internal X chromosome rearrangements in all ruminant species and would contribute to the understanding of mammalian sex chromosome evolution.