The effects of histamine on the activity of rapidly adapting receptors (RAR) of the airways were investigated in anesthetized dogs. With bolus injections given into the right atrium, the threshold dose of histamine required for the excitation of RAR (n = 7) was 0.82 μg/kg (+1.33/−0.51, geometric mean). With increasing doses of histamine, a dose–response relationship was seen in the activity of RAR. Obstruction of the lymphatic drainage from the lungs reduced the threshold dose to histamine (i.e., shifted the dose–response curve to the left significantly). This change in the dose–response relationship was not accompanied by a corresponding change in the relationship of histamine dose to airway pressures recorded before and after lymphatic obstruction. Against a background of pulmonary venous congestion produced by partial obstruction of the mitral valve, subthreshold doses of histamine stimulated the RAR (n = 4). The excitatory effect of histamine on RAR was found to be abolished by the administration of the H1 receptor antagonist diphenhydramine but not by the H2 receptor antagonist cimetidine. Intravenous infusion of histamine (0.4 μg∙kg−1∙min−1) for a period of 10 min increased the RAR activity (n = 6) significantly without producing detectable changes in airway mechanics. The results indicate that contraction of the smooth muscle of the airways may not be a prerequisite for the excitation of RAR, especially at low doses. It is suggested that some of the effects of histamine on RAR are mediated by a local expansion of the extravascular fluid caused by an increase in the permeability of the bronchial vasculature.Key words: histamine, pulmonary congestion, vagal sensory receptors.