Background: Genetic determinism of cranial morphology in the mouse is still largely unknown, despite the localization of putative QTLs and the identification of genes associated with Mendelian skull malformations. To approach the dissection of this multigenic control, we have used a set of interspecific recombinant congenic strains (IRCS) produced between C57BL/6 and mice of the distant species Mus spretus (SEG/Pas). Each strain has inherited 1.3% of its genome from SEG/Pas under the form of few, small-sized, chromosomal segments. Results: The shape of the nasal bone was studied using outline analysis combined with Fourier descriptors, and differential features were identified between IRCS BcG-66H and C57BL/6. An F2 cross between BcG-66H and C57BL/6 revealed that, out of the three SEG/Pas-derived chromosomal regions present in BcG-66H, two were involved. Segments on chromosomes 1 (~32 Mb) and 18 (~13 Mb) showed additive effect on nasal bone shape. The three chromosomal regions present in BcG-66H were isolated in congenic strains to study their individual effect. Epistatic interactions were assessed in bicongenic strains. Conclusions: Our results show that, besides a strong individual effect, the QTL on chromosome 1 interacts with genes on chromosomes 13 and 18. This study demonstrates that nasal bone shape is under complex genetic control but can be efficiently dissected in the mouse using appropriate genetic tools and shape descriptors.