In the current study, a total of 90 mammary neoplasms obtained from 55 female dogs were used to determine the accuracy of fine-needle aspiration cytology in the diagnosis of canine mammary tumours and to investigate the feasibility of this technique for the differentiation of simple tumours from complex or mixed tumours. Three aspirations were performed on each mammary gland mass using a 22-gauge needle attached to a 5-ml syringe before the mammary glands were surgically excised and submitted for histopathological examination. Twenty-five (27.7%) of 90 samples were classified as insufficient/inadequate for diagnosis. Of the remaining 65 samples, six (9.2%) were benign, 51 (78.5%) were malignant tumours and 8 (12.3%) were suspicious. Histopathological examination of the 90 specimens revealed five (5.6%) benign, 84 (93.3%) malignant and one (1.1%) non-neoplastic lesion. The diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of cytologic examination for diagnosing malignancy were 96.5%, 96.2% and 100%, respectively. However, when inadequate (n = 25) and suspicious (n = 8) samples were included, the diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity decreased to 63.3% and 60.7%, respectively, but no change was observed in the specificity. Furthermore, it was not possible to differentiate simple tumours from complex and mixed tumours because spindle cells were seen in both 28% of the simple tumours and 39.3% of the complex or mix tumours. In conclusion, we believe that fine-needle aspiration cytology of canine mammary tumours is a valuable diagnostic tool, although our results indicated lower accuracy when inadequate samples were taken into consideration.