The cardiovascular/respiratory and clinical effects of a xylazine-ketamine combination or a butorphanol-ketamine combination for the induction of anaesthesia in dogs were compared. A total of 12 dogs (two groups 6 dogs each) were premedicated with either xylazine (group I) or butorphanol (group II) and anaesthetized with ketamine HCl and monitored at 0, 5, 15, 30 and 60 min after induction. Sedative effects in both groups started within 15 min. Respiratory rate was significantly decreased in group I (P < 0.05). Body temperature was significantly altered after 15 min in group I (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001). Haematological analyses indicated that there were no differences in pH values between the groups. It was concluded that butorphanol followed by ketamine was comparable with xylazine plus ketamine for the induction of anaesthesia in healthy dogs.