The development of dopamine D1 receptors in rat striatum during the early postnatal period is described, using [3H]piflutixol as ligand. Dopamine D1 receptors increase in number from day of birth until about 21 days of age, when they reach adult levels. This increase in number parallels the increase in several other dopamine markers in striatum during the same time period. The increase is reflected in an increase in Bmax of ligand binding to D1 receptors. All other properties of D1 receptors that were examined do not change throughout this developmental period and are essentially the same as those found in adult tissue. These include association and dissociation rates, affinity for piflutixol as determined by kinetic and saturation studies, and pharmacology. These studies provide a biochemical and pharmacological basis for further studies on the ontogeny of dopamine receptors and of striatum and on factors regulating development of this region.