Dendritic cells (DCs) play a central role in balancing immune responses between tolerance induction and immune activation. Under steady state conditions DCs continuously sample antigens, leading to tolerance, whereas inflammatory conditions activate DCs, inducing immune activation. DCs express C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) for antigen capture and presentation, whereas Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are involved in pathogen recognition and DC activation. Recent data demonstrate that communication between TLRs and CLRs can affect the direction of immune responses. Several pathogens specifically target CLRs to subvert this communication to escape immune surveillance, either by inducing tolerance or skewing the protective immune responses.