The utility of combined 16S rRNA (rrs) gene restriction fragment length polymorphism and plasmid profiles to differentiate between and within Campylobacter upsaliensis of human and canine origin was examined. Fourteen distinct rrs gene restriction fragment length polymorphs consisting of bands sized between 1.9 and 4.8 kb were observed. The copy number of the 16S rRNA gene was three in most strains of C. upsaliensis. Plasmids were found in almost 60% of the strains; ranging in size from 1.5 to 100 kb, they gave 15 distinct plasmid profiles. All isolates from humans contained one or more plasmids, as did strains isolated from dogs with sporadic diarrhea. The two commonest 16S ribotypes were divided into eight and nine subgroups by plasmid profiling. The genotyping of canine isolates from three veterinary surveys detected both multiple infections and reinfection of dogs. Except for one, each of the isolates from humans constituted a single and unique 16S ribotype, and these more frequently carried plasmids than did canine strains. Ribotypes of human strains were not found among canine isolates. These results suggest that host-specific genotypic differences may exist among strains of C. upsaliensis, for example, intraspecific clones or clone complexes pathogenic for humans.