Nucleotide sequences of field strains of foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) contribute to our understanding of the distribution and evolution of viral lineages that circulate in different regions of the world. This paper outlines a practical reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and sequencing strategy that can be used to generate RNA sequences encoding the VP1 (1D) region of FMDV. The protocol contains a panel of PCR and sequencing primers that can be selected to characterise genetically diverse isolates representing all seven FMDV serotypes. A list of sequences is also described, comprising prototype sequences for all proposed FMDV topotypes, in order to provide a framework for phylogenetic analysis. The technical details and prototype sequences provided in this paper can be employed by FMD Reference Laboratories and others in an approach to harmonise the molecular epidemiology of FMDV.