Homodimer formation activates all nitric-oxide synthases (NOSs). It involves the interaction between two oxygenase domains (NOSoxy) that each bind heme and (6R)-tetrahydrobiopterin (H4B) and catalyze NO synthesis from L-Arg. Here we compared three NOSoxy isozymes regarding dimer strength, interface composition, and the ability of L-Arg and H4B to stabilize the dimer, promote its formation, and protect it from proteolysis. Urea dissociation studies indicated that the relative dimer strengths were NOSIIIoxy > NOSIoxy > NOSIIoxy (endothelial NOSoxy (eNOSoxy) > neuronal NOSOXY (nNOSoxy) > inducible NOSoxy (iNOSoxy)). Dimer strengths of the full-length NOSs had the same rank order as judged by their urea-induced loss of NO synthesis activity. NOSoxy dimers containing L-Arg plus H4B exhibited the greatest resistance to urea-induced dissociation followed by those containing either molecule and then by those containing neither. Analysis of crystallographic structures of eNOSoxy and iNOSoxy dimers showed more intersubunit contacts and buried surface area in the dimer interface of eNOSoxy than iNOSoxy, thus revealing a potential basis for their different stabilities. L-Arg plus H4B promoted dimerization of urea-generated iNOSoxy and nNOSoxy monomers, which otherwise was minimal in their absence, and also protected both dimers against trypsin proteolysis. In these respects, L-Arg alone was more effective than H4B alone for nNOSoxy, whereas for iNOSoxy the converse was true. The eNOSoxy dimer was insensitive to proteolysis under all conditions. Our results indicate that the three NOS isozymes, despite their general structural similarity, differ markedly in their strengths, interfaces, and in how L-Arg and H4B influence their formation and stability. These distinguishing features may provide a basis for selective control and likely help to regulate each NOS in its particular biologic milieu.