The precise localization of D1 and D2 dopamine receptors within striatal neurons and circuits is crucial information for further understanding dopamine pharmacology. We have used subtype specific polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies against D1 and D2 dopamine receptors to determine their cellular and subcellular distributions, their colocalization, and their differential connectivity with motor cortical afferents labeled either by lesion-induced degeneration or by anterograde transport of biotinylated dextrans. D1 and D2 are primarily expressed in medium-sized neurons and spiny dendrites. Axon terminals containing D1 were rare whereas D2-immunoreactive axon terminals forming symmetrical synapses with dendrites and spines were common. In 2 microns sections, D1 was localized to 53% of neurons, and D2 to 48% of neurons, while mixing D1 and D2 antibodies labeled 78%. By electron microscopy, D1 was localized to 43% of dendrites and 38% of spines while D2 was localized to 38% of dendrites and 48% of spines. Combining D1 and D2 antibodies resulted in the labeling of 88.5% of dendrites and 92.6% of spines. Using different chromogens for D1 and D2, colocalization was not observed. Ipsilateral motor corticostriatal afferents were primarily axospinous and significantly more synapsed with D1 than D2-positive spines (65% vs 47%). Contralateral motor corticostriatal afferents were frequently axodendritic and no difference in their frequency of synapses with D1 and D2 dendrites and spines was observed. These findings demonstrate differential patterns of expression of D1 and D2 receptors in striatal neurons and axon terminals and their differential involvement in motor corticostriatal circuits.