The extracellular matrix plays an integral role in the pivotal processes of development, tissue repair, and metastasis by regulating cell proliferation, differentiation, adhesion, and migration. This review is focused on a family of related glycoproteins represented by at least one member in all specialized extracellular matrices. This family currently comprises nine members grouped together on the basis of their presence in the extracellular matrix and by virtue of a leucine-rich repeat motif that dominates the structure of the core protein. It is likely that most, if not all the members of this group exist as proteoglycans in some tissues, and thus have been termed the Small Leucine-Rich Proteoglycan family, or SLRPs. The leucine-rich repeat (LRR) is usually present in tandem array and has been described in an increasing number of proteins, giving rise to a LRR-superfamily. The LRR domain of the SLRP family is unique within the superfamily in that it is flanked by cysteine clusters, and the 24 amino acid consensus for SLRP members is x-x-I/V/L-x-x-x-x-F/P/L-x-x-L/P-x-x-L-x-x-L/I-x-L-x-x-N-x-I/L, where x is any amino acid. Enormous progress has been made in describing the membership, structure and localization of this family, and recently new insight has emerged into the putative function of these molecules not just as modulators of matrix assembly but also on their intriguing role in regulating cell growth, adhesion, and migration. Determination of membership, structure and putative function of this fascinating class of molecules is summarized in this review.