The identification and assessment of myocardial failure in canine idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is achieved using a variety of two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiographic techniques. More recently, the availability of tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) has raised the potential for development of new ways of more accurately identifying a disease phenotype. Nevertheless, TDI has not been universally adapted to veterinary clinical cardiology primarily because of the lack of information on its utility in diagnosis. We assessed the application of timing of left heart base descent using TDI in the identification of differences between DCM and normal dogs. The times from the onset of the QRS complex on a simultaneously recorded electrocardiograph to the onset (Q-S'), peak (Q-peak S'), and end (Q-end S') of the systolic velocity peak were measured in the interventricular septum (IVS) and the left ventricular free wall. The duration of S' was also calculated. The Q-S' (FW), Q-end S' (FW), and duration S' (FW) were correlated with ejection fraction in the diseased group (P <0.05). In addition, Q-S', Q-peak S', Q-end S', and the peak S' velocity were prolonged in the diseased dogs at both the free wall and in the IVS (P <0.01). The duration of S' was unaffected by disease status. These findings provide insight into the electromechanical uncoupling that occurs in canine DCM and identifies new TDI parameters that can be added to the range of Doppler and echocardiographic parameters used for detecting myocardial failure in the dog.