The pathophysiological similarities shared by many forms of human and canine disease, combined with the sophisticated genomic resources now available for the dog, have placed 'man's best friend' in a position of high visibility as a model system for a variety of biomedical concerns, including cancer. The importance of nonrandom cytogenetic abnormalities in human leukemia and lymphoma was recognized over 40 years ago, but the mechanisms of genome reorganization remain incompletely understood. The development of molecular cytogenetics, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technology, has played a significant role in our understanding of cancer biology by providing a means for 'interrogating' tumor cells for a variety of gross genetic changes in the form of either numerical or structural chromosome aberrations. Here, we have identified cytogenetic abnormalities in naturally occurring canine hematopoietic tumors that are evolutionarily conserved compared with those that are considered characteristic of the corresponding human condition. These data suggest that humans and dogs share an ancestrally retained pathogenetic basis for cancer and that cytogenetic evaluation of canine tumors may provide greater insight into the biology of tumorigenesis.