Three subspecies of Dendrolagus goodfellowi can be distinguished. The nominotypical form is known from two skins and a skull collected in south-eastern New Guinea. Dendrolagus g. buergersi (of which D. g. shawmayeri is here considered a synonym) is the best represented in museum collections, and is distributed along the Papua New Guinea Central Cordillera, from Wau in the east to Mount Bubiari in the west. Dendrolagus g. pulcherrimus n.subsp. is known from a complete spirit specimen, one skin and two skulls collected near Sibilanga in the North Coast Ranges. It is the most distinctive of the subspecies, readily distinguished from all other forms by the broad P3 with large posterobuccal cusp, orange shoulders, head and ear, pale yellow to white tail rings, white ear margins and pinkish limbs and face. Questioning of local hunters suggests that it is already extinct through most of its original range.