Tat-encoding human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gene transfer vectors were evaluated in primary canine bone marrow mononuclear cells. Tat vectors provided higher levels of gene expression than vectors with internal promoters. The HIV-1 vector was also more efficient than Moloney murine leukemia virus (MoMLV) vectors for transduction of canine bone marrow mononuclear cells in vitro. Transplantation experiments in dogs with transduced autologous marrow cells confirmed the superiority of HIV-1 vectors over MoMLV vectors for gene transfer into canine bone marrow cells. Tat vectors may be useful not only for providing high levels of therapeutic gene expression in hematopoietic cells but also for study of the biological effects of Tat in those tissues in the canine model.