Postsynaptic α-adrenoceptor subtypes were studied using [3H]prazosin and [3H]rauwolscine binding to plasmalemma-enriched microsomal fractions isolated from dog saphenous veins and mesenteric veins. Both radioligands showed saturable binding consistent with the presence of a single homogeneous binding site in each case, based on Scatchard analysis. The Kd values of [3H]prazosin and [3H]rauwolscine, calculated from kinetic studies were similar to those from equilibrium binding data in both venous muscle membranes. The microsomal membranes of dog saphenous vein and mesenteric vein contained about a fourfold higher density of the high affinity [3H]rauwolscine binding sites than those for [3H]prazosin binding. In competition studies, IC50 values for displacement of rauwolscine or prazosin suggested that the sites of interaction for the antagonists prazosin and rauwolscine were independent. Phenylephrine, a functionally selective α-adrenoceptor agonist, competed with a similar IC50 value for the specific binding sites of [3H]prazosin and [3H]rauwolscine; but B-HT 920, a functionally selective α2-adreno-ceptor agonist, competed for [3H]rauwolscine and [3H]prazosin binding with distinctly different IC50 values. Our data show the existence of two populations of α-adrenoceptor antagonist binding sites in the plasma membranes of dog saphenous vein and mesenteric vein, and raise the question whether agonist selectively depends on different affinities or on differential efficacies at one or two sites.Key words: α-adrenoceptor subtype, B-HT 920, phenylephrine, receptor-response coupling.