To investigate the prevalence of types of meticillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in slaughter pigs in German abattoirs, nasal swabs were collected from a total of 1026 pigs in five abattoirs after stunning in the course of two studies, and examined for MRSA. Study 1 included four abattoirs; study 2 was carried out in one large abattoir. Isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility and characterised using spa-typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and typing of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome, SCCmec. Overall, MRSA was isolated from 70·8 per cent of 520 samples in study 1 and from 49·0 per cent of 506 samples in study 2. The proportion of positive samples varied substantially between the abattoirs in study 1. Most isolates belonged to spa-types t011 and t034 and SCCmec types III and V. MLST of selected isolates revealed that they were all MLST ST398. Besides β-lactams, 100 per cent of the isolates were resistant to tetracycline, 80·5 per cent were resistant to erythromycin and 80·7 per cent were resistant to clindamycin. Less than 5 per cent of the isolates were resistant to other antimicrobials.