A study was conducted to evaluate the tissue response to a xenogeneic biomaterial when this material was used to repair an experimentally induced Achilles tendon defect in the dog. Twenty dogs had a 1.5 cm segmental defect of the Achilles tendon created surgically which was then reparired with acellular connective tissue derived from porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS). The animals were sacrificed at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, and 48 weeks and the neotendons examined for uniaxial longitudinal tensile strength, morphologic appearance, hydroxyproline (collagen) content, and disappearance of the originally implanted SIS material over time. The contralateral normal Achilles tendons served as controls as did four additional dogs that had a 1.5 cm segmental Achilles tendon defect created surgically without subsequent surgical repair with SIS. Results showed the SIS remodeled neotendons to be stronger than the musculotendinous origin or the boney insertion (>1000 N) by 12 weeks after surgery and to consist of organized collagen‐rich connective tissue similar to the contralateral normal tendons. The four dogs in which no SIS was implanted showed inferior strength at the comparable time points of 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks. Immunohistochemical studies suggest that the SIS biomaterial becomes degraded within the first eight weeks and serves as a temporary scaffold around which the body deposits appropriate and organized connective tissue. SIS is a promising biomaterial worthy of further investigation for orthopedic soft tissue applications. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.