The human small heat shock proteins (HSPBs) form a family of molecular chaperones comprising ten members (HSPB1-HSPB10), whose functions span from protein quality control to cytoskeletal dynamics and cell death control. Mutations in HSPBs can lead to human disease and particularly point mutations in HSPB1 and HSPB8 are known to lead to peripheral neuropathies. Recently, a missense mutation (R7S) in yet another member of this family, HSPB3, was found to cause an axonal motor neuropathy (distal hereditary motor neuropathy type 2C, dHMN2C). Until now, HSPB3 protein localization and function in motoneurons (MNs) have not yet been characterized. Therefore, we studied the endogenous HSPB3 protein distribution in the spinal cords of chicken and mouse embryos and in the postnatal nervous system (central and peripheral) of chicken, mouse and human. We further investigated the impact of wild-type and mutated HSPB3 on MN cell death via overexpressing these genes in ovo in an avian model of MN degeneration, the limb-bud removal. Altogether, our findings represent a first step for a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to dHMN2C.