Mammary tumours represent the most common neoplastic disease of the female dog, and the incidence in female dogs is much higher than in women. Whereas the influence of sexual steroids on breast cancer (BC) development in dogs has been studied, very little is known about the role of prolactin (PRL). New studies show that until recently, the importance of PRL in human BC development and progression has been highly underestimated. PRL plays a role in promoting benign as well as malignant neoplastic cell growth in BC in vitro and in vivo. Sporadic publications proposed a tumour promotor role in the dog. The goal of this review is to summarize our knowledge about PRL and human BC as well as canine mammary tumourigenesis, and propose future research in this area.