This study investigated the correlation between KIT gene expression determined by immunohistochemistry and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and the rate of tumour recurrence and tumour-related deaths in dogs affected with mast cell tumour (MCT). Kaplan–Meier curves were constructed to compare tumour recurrence and tumour-related death between patients. The log-rank test was used to check for significant differences between curves. KIT-I, KIT-II and KIT-III staining patterns were observed in 9 (11.11%), 50 (61.73%) and 22 (27.16%) tumours, respectively. Tumour recurrence rates and tumour-related deaths were not associated with KIT staining patterns (P = 0278, P > 0.05), KIT (P = 0.289, P > 0.05) or KIT ligand (P = 0.106, P > 0.05) gene expression. Despite the lack of association between KIT staining pattern and patient survival time, the results suggest a correlation between aberrant KIT localization and increased proliferative activity of MCTs. RT-PCR seems to be a sensible method for quantitative detection of KIT gene expression in canine MCT, although expressions levels are not correlated with prognosis.