Horse (Equus caballus) luteinizing hormone (eLH) and chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG), which have the same amino acid sequence, are unusual in that, although they express only LH activity in equids, they express dual LH and FSH activities in all other species tested. Donkey (Equus asinus) LH (dkLH) and CG (dkCG), which also share an identical peptide backbone, have been less well characterized and conflicting results concerning their FSH activity in heterologous species have appeared in the literature. In order to assess and compare the intrinsic LH and FSH activities of the horse and donkey LHs in heterologous species, recombinant eLH (r.eLH/CG) and recombinant dkLH (r.dkLH/CG) were expressed, for the first time, in COS-7 cells. Their LH activities were assessed in a rat Leydig cell bioassay, and their FSH activities were estimated in a bioassay using Y1 cells stably expressing the human FSH receptor. Human CG (hCG) was expressed (r.hCG) and analysed in the same system. The results showed that, whereas r.dkLH/CG was about twice as active as r.eLH/CG in the LH bioassay, it was five times less active than r.eLH/CG in the FSH bioassay; r.hCG was about three times less active than r.eLH/CG in the LH bioassay but was completely inactive in the FSH bioassay. These results confirm that dkLH/CG possesses significant FSH activity in heterologous species that is not attributable to contamination with FSH.