The gene encoding glycoprotein 5 (ORF5) of 21 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) isolates from Spain and two European-type vaccines currently available in that country were analysed using RT-PCR and sequencing. Sequences were then compared with other European-type sequences available through GenBank. Results showed percentages of similarity to Lelystad virus (LV), which, in most cases, were below 90%. In contrast, two strains were very similar (>99%) to a PRRSV variant from the Czech Republic. Evolutionary trees showed three types of strains: one grouped old Spanish sequences; a second grouped isolates from this study together with two Czech variant strains; and the third comprised other GenBank sequences. Regarding the predicted protein sequences, some isolates from this study showed a low degree of similarity to LV (below 50%) and most of the strains examined had additional N-linked glycosylation sites compared to LV. These results provide evidence of the existence of variant PRRSV strains in Spain with characteristics that may be advantageous for immune evasion.