BACKGROUND Goose parvovirus (GPV) is a highly contagious and deadly disease for goslings and Muscovy ducklings. OBJECTIVES To compare the differences in immune response of geese immunized with GPV-VP1 DNA-based and live attenuated vaccines. ANIMALS AND METHODS Shitou geese were immunized once with either 20 μg pcDNA-GPV-VP1 DNA gene vaccine by gene gun bombardment via intramuscular injection, or 300 μg by i.m. injection, or 300 μL live attenuated vaccine by i.m. injection, whereas 300 μg pcDNA3.1 (+) i.m. or 300 μL saline i.m. were used as positive and negative controls, respectively. Each group comprised 28 animals. Peripheral blood samples were collected from 2-210 days after immunization and the proliferation of T lymphocytes, the number of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and the level of IgG assessed. Statistical analysis was performed using a one-way analysis of variance with group multiple comparisons via Tukey's test. RESULTS The pcDNA-GPV-VP1 DNA and attenuated vaccine induced cellular and humoral responses, and there were no differences between the 20 and 300 μg group in the responses of proliferation of T lymphocyte and the CD8(+) T-cell. However, as to CD4(+) T-cell response and humoral immunity, the 20 μg group performed better than the 300 μg group, which induced better cellular and humoral immunity than live attenuated vaccine. CONCLUSIONS This study showed that it is possible to induce both cellular and humoral response using DNA-based vaccines and that the pcDNA-GPV-VP1 DNA gene vaccine induced better cellular and humoral immunity than live attenuated vaccine.