Physeal distraction was applied with an external fixator to the triradiate cartilage of dogs with the aim of increasing the capacity of the acetabulum, The force was continued for from 2 to 6 weeks and the consequent changes were evaluated with regard to function and structure by radiography and microscopy. The distraction, without producing epiphysiolysis and destruction of the cartilage, resulted in expansion of the pelvic bones. The depth and volume of the acetabulum were increased, but the acetabular angle was decreased. Distraction also caused proliferation of the lacunar cells and the number of mammillary processes in the cartilage columns increased. Distraction can therefore be applied to the triradiate cartilage to enlarge the capacity of the acetabulum without producing epiphysiolysis.