Mast cell tumors are among the most commonly seen tumors of the skin in dogs and are more highly aggressive than mast cell tumors of other species. Some breeds display a markedly higher incidence of mast cell tumor development than others and appear to have some genetic predisposition. Recently, mutations have been found in canine mast cell tumor tissues and cell lines within the juxtamembrane domain of the protooncogene c-KIT In previous studies utilizing a small number of cases, no association between the presence of a mutation and the breed of dog or grade of the tumor could be identified. An expanded study with a larger sample set was performed to explore this possibility. The juxtamembrane domain of c-KIT was amplified using the polymerase chain reaction from genomic DNA preparations of 88 paraffin-embedded mast cell tumors from selected breeds. Mutations, consisting of duplications and deletions, were found in 12 of the tumors. A significant association was found between the presence of a mutation and a higher grade of tumor but not between breed and grade or between breed and the presence of a mutation.