The objective of this study was to define, in detail, the anatomy of the portal and hepatic veins in the dog in order to establish a procedure for the systematic evaluation of the liver by ultrasonography. Anatomical details were obtained from the formalin fixed livers of ten dogs. The hepatic and portal veins were removed intact from these livers so that a detailed pattern of distribution could be established and the numbers of branches could be counted. Silastic casts were also made of the hepatic and portal veins of two livers, one in situ and one in which it had been removed. The former was to enable the relationship of the portal to the hepatic veins to be established as closely as possible within the animal and the other to provide a model of the distribution of each venous system within the liver. Contrast medium was infused into two other livers and radiographs taken to establish the relationship of each branch to each lobe. It was found that there was a consistent pattern of venous branching to each lobe of the liver in the dog with little variation between individual specimens. All liver lobes contained definite venous branches so that the left lateral and medial, quadrate, right medial and lateral, caudate and papillary veins could be distinguished in each venous system. We believe that an appreciation of this venous distribution will aid in the systematic evaluation of the liver during ultrasonography by enabling identification of each liver lobe. It should be of value for differentiating portal from hepatic veins and veins from dilated bile ducts.