Genes encoding dextranolytic enzymes were isolated from Paenibacillus strains Dex40-8 and Dex50-2. Single, similar but non-identical dex1 genes were isolated from each strain, and a more divergent dex2 gene was isolated from strain Dex50-2. The protein deduced from the Dex40-8 dex1 gene sequence had 716 amino acids, with a predicted M-r of 80.8 kDa. The proteins deduced from the Dex50-2 dex1 and dex2 gene sequences had 905 and 596 amino acids, with predicted M-r of 100.1 kDa and 68.3 kDa, respectively. The deduced amino acid sequences of all three dextranolytic proteins had similarity to family 66 glycosyl hydrolases and were predicted to possess cleavable N-terminal signal peptides. Homology searches suggest that the Dex40-8 and Dex50-2 Dex1 proteins have one and two copies, respectively, of a carbohydrate-binding module similar to CBM_4_9 (pfam02018.11). The Dex50-2 Dex2 deduced amino acid sequence had highest sequence similarity to thermotolerant dextranases from thermophilic Paenibacillus strains, while the Dex40-8 and Dex50-2 Dex1 deduced protein sequences formed a distinct sequence clade among the family 66 proteins. Examination of seven Paenibacillus strains, using a polymerase chain reaction-based assay, indicated that multiple family 66 genes are common within this genus. The three recombinant proteins expressed in Escherichia coli possessed dextranolytic activity and were able to convert ethanol-insoluble blue dextran into an ethanol-soluble product, indicating they are endodextranases (EC 126.96.36.199). The reaction catalysed by each enzyme had a distinct temperature and pH dependence.