The C-terminal domains of yeast structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins were previously shown to bind double-stranded DNA, which generated the idea of the antiparallel SMC heterodimer, such as the SMC1/3 dimer, bridging two DNA molecules. Analysis of bovine SMC1 and SMC3 protein domains now reveals that not only the C-terminal domains, but also the coiled-coil region, binds DNA, while the N terminus is inactive. Duplex DNA and DNA molecules with secondary structures are highly preferred substrates for both the C-terminal and coiled-coil domains. Contrasting other cruciform DNA-binding proteins like HMG1, the SMC3 C-terminal and coiled-coil domains do not bend DNA, but rather prevent bending in ring closure assays. Phosphatase, exonuclease, and ligase assays showed that neither domain renders DNA ends inaccessible for other enzymes. These observations allow modifications of models for SMC-DNA interactions.