Using the immunoperoxidase technique and antisera to the specific beta (beta) subunits of bovine and rat TSH, selective immunocytochemical staining was localized in a specific cell population in the pars distalis of the dog pituitary gland. These TSH cells were found to be positive to aldehyde fuchsin, alcian blue, periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) and aniline blue. With the performic acid-alcian blue (pH 0.2) -PAS-orange G procedure these cells stained blue-purple, demonstrating FSH/LH cells (blue or turquoise), ACTH/MSH cells (red-purple) and PRL cells (orange-red). The TSH cells were further differentiated from other functional cell types of the pars distalis on the basis of their typical cytological features, intraglandular distribution and by immunocytochemical double staining. In the pars distalis of adult male dogs the TSH cells were mostly shown to be smaller in size and less numerous than in bitches in the anestrous phase of the sexual cycle. Moreover, cytological alterations in the immunoreactive thyrotrophs in the pituitary of male and female dogs generally paralleled the spontaneous changes in thyroid function associated with thyroid atrophy and/or pituitary insufficiency, and thyroid hyperplasia or goiter. In conclusion, because of their specificity and high potency, the antisera to the beta-subunits of bovine and rat TSH represent an effective tool for the selective immunocytochemical localization of TSH in the dog pituitary. This allows the study of the morphology and function of TSH cells under different physiological, pathological and experimental conditions.