A retrospective study of necropsy data for 2,002 dogs showed that the mean age at death of neutered dogs of both sexes exceeded that of intact dogs, but the differences were not significant. A wide variation in mean age at death of 56 breeds and cross breeds, 3.0 to 9.9 years, was found. This variation was not correlated with mean breed body weight. An attempt was made to explain the variability by finding diseases to which dogs of the short-lived breeds were particularly susceptible. This was not possible in general, since the samples of each breed were small and the total number of diseases from which they died so large. Dogs of long-lived breeds died of diseases appropriate to their age, particularly cancer, 39% of the sample. In the sample as a whole, cancer accounted for 20% of deaths at 5 years and increased to and remained between 40% and 50% from 10 to 16 years of age.