The first known equations governing vibrations of preloaded, shear-deformable circular arches are derived according to a variational principle for dynamic problems concerning an elastic body under equilibrium initial stresses. The equations are three partial differential equations with variable coefficients. The governing equations are solved for arches statically preloaded with a uniformly distributed vertical loading, by obtaining a static, closed-form solution and an analytical dynamic solution from series solutions and dynamic stiffness matrices. Convergence to accurate results is obtained by increasing the number of elements or by increasing both the number of terms in the series solution and the number of terms in the Taylor expansion of the variable coefficients. Graphs of non-dimensional frequencies and buckling loads are presented for preloaded clamped arches. They clarify the effects of opening angle and thickness-to-radius ratio on vibration frequencies and buckling loads. The effects of static deformations on vibration frequencies are also investigated. This work also compares the results obtained from the proposed governing equations with those obtained from the classical theory neglecting shear deformation.