The prolactin receptor localized in rabbit mammary gland membranes has been identified by affinity labelling using covalent cross-linking agents such as a unique protein chain of approximately 32,000 daltons. After partial purification (5,000-fold) of these receptors from mammary gland homogenate, polyclonal antibodies, which specifically and completely inhibit prolactin binding in all organs and in all species studied, were raised. These antibodies possessed prolactin-like biological activity (casein synthesis) on rabbit mammary gland explants. Monoclonal antibodies specifically directed against the binding domain of the receptor were also obtained. These antibodies were more species-specific than the polyclonal antibodies. The most potent (M11O) possessed higher affinity than prolactin for the receptor and could be a very effective tool to elucidate the structure of the receptor and its immunological detection.