The objective of this investigation was to determine whether or not herpesvirus (herpes-), adenovirus (adeno-), or canine parvovirus DNA is present in the brains of dogs with necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME), necrotizing leukoencephalitis (NLE), and granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME). Paraffin-embedded brain specimens from 12 histopathologically confirmed dogs with NME, 3 with NLE, and 7 with GME were screened for viral DNA with degenerate herpes- and adenovirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a canine parvovirus-specific PCR. Positive-control specimens included genomic viral DNA and paraffin-embedded tissues from dogs with confirmed herpes-, adeno-, or canine parvovirus infections. Herpes-, adeno-, or canine parvovirus DNA was amplified by PCR from the corresponding positive-control specimens. Negative controls included 7 dogs with various brain disorders and produced no viral amplicons. The 22 dogs with NME, NLE, and GME were negative for viral DNA. Additional studies testing for other viruses or inherited genetic mutations are warranted to gain insight into the etiologies of NME, NLE, and GME. We discuss potential etiologies and provide a clinical and histopathologic overview of these common canine encephalitides.