Dysprosium is the most abundant of the heavier (yttrium group) lanthanide elements and is approximately as abundant as arsenic, hafnium and uranium.

The more important mineral sources of dysprosium include xenotime, gadolinite, euxenite, samarskite, fergusonite, blomstrandine, polycrase, loparite and yttroparisite. Xenotime occurs in Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Malaysia, Korea, Switzerland and USA. Gadolinite occurs in Norway, Sweden, Masagascar and USA. Euxenite is found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Madagascar, Norway and USA. Fergusonite is found in Greenland, Norway, Sweden and USA and samarskite in Madagascar, North Carolina and Ontario. Polycrase is found in Norway, Sweden and North and South Carolina. Loparite and yttroparisite are found in Russia.

Since it is processed commercially for uranium, thorium and yttrium, euxenite is a prime source of dysprosium. This element can also be obtained as a by-product in the processing of monazite.