Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is associated with postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome in pigs, whereas PCV1 is nonpathogenic. We previously demonstrated that a chimeric PCV1-2 virus (with the immunogenic capsid gene of PCV2 cloned into the backbone of PCV1) induces an antibody response to the PCV2 capsid protein and is attenuated in pigs. Here, we report that the attenuated chimeric PCV1-2 induces protective immunity to wild-type PCV2 challenge in pigs. A total of 48 specific-pathogen-free piglets were randomly and equally assigned to four groups of 12 pigs each. Pigs in group 1 were vaccinated by intramuscular injection with 200 μg of the chimeric PCV1-2 infectious DNA clone. Pigs in group 2 were vaccinated by intralymphoid injection with 200 μg of a chimeric PCV1-2 infectious DNA clone. Pigs in group 3 were vaccinated by intramuscular injection with 10 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID) of the chimeric PCV1-2 live virus. Pigs in group 4 were not vaccinated and served as controls. By 42 days postvaccination (DPV), the majority of pigs had seroconverted to PCV2 capsid antibody. At 42 DPV, all pigs were challenged intranasally and intramuscularly with 2 × 10 TCID of a wild-type pathogenic PCV2 virus. By 21 days postchallenge (DPC), 9 out of the 12 group 4 pigs were viremic for PCV2. Vaccinated animals in groups 1 to 3 had no detectable PCV2 viremia after challenge. At 21 DPC the lymph nodes in the nonvaccinated pigs were larger (P <0.05) than those of vaccinated pigs. The PCV2 genomic copy loads in lymph nodes were reduced (P <0.0001) in vaccinated pigs. Moderate amounts of PCV2 antigen were detected in most lymphoid tissues of nonvaccinated pigs but in only 1 of 36 vaccinated pigs. Mild-to-severe lymphoid depletion and histiocytic replacement were detected in lymphoid tissues in the majority of nonvaccinated group 4 pigs but in only a few vaccinated group 1 to 3 pigs. The data from this study indicated that when given intramuscularly in pigs, the attenuated chimeric PCV1-2 live virus, as well as the chimeric PCV1-2 infectious DNA clone, induces protective immunity against PCV2 infection and could potentially serve as an effective vaccine.