Distention of the proximal colon may have inhibitory or excitatory effects on the rectum and vice versa. The reflexes between the proximal colon and the rectum have not been well studied due to difficulties in accessing the proximal colon. The aim of this study was to investigate the reflex responses and their mechanisms between the proximal colon and the rectum in consideration of distention-related changes in tone and compliance of these regions as well as anal sphincter relaxation in a canine model. Proximal colon/rectal tone, compliance, and anal sphincter relaxation were investigated in six dogs chronically implanted with a proximal colon cannula while in the fasting state and during proximal colon distention or rectal distention. It was found that: 1) both rectal distention and proximal colon distention significantly and substantially decreased the compliance of the opposite regions, and guanethidine abolished proximal colon distention-induced changes in rectal compliance; 2) rectal/proximal colon distension decreased proximal colonic/rectal tone, and guanethidine abolished both of these inhibitory effects; 3) the anal sphincter was more sensitive to rectal distention than proximal colon distention; and 4) the minimal distention pressure required to induce anal inhibitory reflex was lower for rectal distention than proximal colon distention. It was concluded that distention-related changes in tone and compliance suggest the long inhibitory reflexes between the proximal colon and the rectum with the sympathetic involvement in rectal responses. The anal sphincter is more sensitive to the distention of the rectum than that of the proximal colon.