The purpose of this retrospective study was to describe the biological behaviour of canine mandibular osteosarcoma (OSA) and to examine factors for their impact on metastasis-free interval (MFI) and survival time (ST). Records from dogs treated with mandibulectomy for OSA (1999–2007) were reviewed. Archived tumour samples were evaluated for mitotic index (MI) and tumour grade. Fifty dogs were included, 21 received chemotherapy. Twenty-nine dogs (58%) developed metastatic disease. The median MFI was 627 days, and median ST was 525 days. In univariate analysis MI > 40 was prognostic for decreased MFI and ST. Grade also influenced MFI and ST, with 5/21 (24%) dogs with grade II/III tumours metastasis-free at one year versus 16/22 (72%) dogs with grade I tumours (P = 0.002); and 5/21 (24%) dogs with grade II/III tumours alive versus 17/22 (77%) dogs with grade I tumours (P = 0.001). In multivariate analysis, histological grade and adjuvant chemotherapy were prognostic for MFI and ST.