HRT organised the Dora contest to select the Croatian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2003, held in Riga, Latvia on 24 May 2003. This was the 11th edition of Dora, held in Opatija. The national contest consisted of two televised semi-finals with 12 songs each held on 7 and 8 March 2003. The top six songs from each semi-final, as voted by the public through televote, passed through to the grand final held on 9 March. The initial 24 songs which competed in the semi-finals came from a public call for submissions from songwriters and composers.
The semi-finals of Dora 2003 were held on 7 and 8 March. From the 12 competing acts in each semifinal a public televote selected six to progress to the final. Televoting was assigned using a method similar to the one used in the Eurovision song contest - televotes were grouped into five geographical areas and each song received votes from each area, with the first-placed song receiving 12 points, second-placed 11 points and so on, up to the 12th-placed song which received 1 vote. In case of ties, the placement was to be determined according to the greater number of high-ranking votes won (e.g. the song which won more 12s, 11s, etc. was better-placed in the ranking).
Maja Šuput and the dance band Karma were the two semi-final winners, winning 56 and 57 votes respectively (out of the possible maximum of 60).
The final of Dora 2003 was held on 9 March, contested by the twelve semi-final qualifiers. The final was broadcast on HRT1. The order in which the songs were performed was determined by the number of votes won in the semi-finals, with the songs with the least votes performed first and the songs with the most votes performed last.