Dendritic cells are crucial in pathogen recognition and induction of specific immune responses to eliminate pathogens from the infected host. Host recognition of invading microorganisms relies on evolutionarily conserved, germline-encoded pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) that are expressed by DCs. The best-characterized PRR family comprises the Toll-like receptors (TLRs) that recognize bacteria or viruses. In addition to TLRs, intracellular Nod-like receptors and the membrane-associated C-type lectins (CLRs) function as PRRs. Many of these innate receptors also have an important function in natural host homeostatic responses, such as the maintenance of gut homeostasis. Clearly, more indications are hinting at a fine-tuning of immune responses by a concerted action of these PRRs on the recognition of pathogen components and the consequent signalling events that are created. It is becoming increasingly clear that these PRRs can initiate specific signalling events that modulate the production of inflammatory cytokines, phagocytosis, intracellular routing of antigen, release of oxidative species and DC maturation and the subsequent development of adaptive immunity. Notably, members within one family of PRRs can trigger opposite signalling features, indicating that the ultimate outcome of pathogen-induced immune responses depends on the pathogen signature and the collective PRRs involved.