A Norwegian Canine Cancer Registry, covering four of 19 counties, has been operative since March 1990. Until the end of April 1994 about 6,000 tumours have been registered, more than 50% of these being manifestly or potentially malignant. Among 14 selected breeds the relative risk ratio for all tumours varies with factor 35 from boxer to dunker, the boxer having the highest tumour risk. The percentage distribution of specified tumour types also varies greatly between breeds, mammary cancer constituting 59% of all neoplasms in the dachshund, but only 4% in the Bernese mountain dog. Because of the genetic diversity between breeds the dog is a suitable species for differentiation between genetically determined predisposition and environmental influences in the etiology of cancer. Epidemiological surveillance of cancer morbidity in dogs may be a useful instrument for tracing carcinogens, even in the surroundings of man.