Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) signaling plays important roles in brain development. Fgf3 and Fgf8 are crucial for the formation of the forebrain and hindbrain. Fgf8 is also required for the midbrain to form. Here, we identified zebrafish Fgf19 and examined its roles in brain development by knocking down Fgf19 function. We found that Fgf19 expressed in the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain was involved in cell proliferation and cell survival during embryonic brain development. Fgf19 was also essential for development of the ventral telencephalon and diencephalon. Regional specification is linked to cell type specification. Fgf19 was also essential for the specification of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons and oligodendrocytes generated in the ventral telencephalon and diencephalon. The cross talk between Fgf and Hh signaling is critical for brain development. In the forebrain, Fgf19 expression was down-regulated on inhibition of Hh but not of Fgf3/Fgf8, and overexpression of Fgf19 rescued partially the phenotype on inhibition of Hh. The present findings indicate that Fgf19 signaling is crucial for forebrain development by interacting with Hh and provide new insights into the roles of Fgf signaling in brain development.