Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) stimulates endothelial cell proliferation and has a pivotal role in tumour angiogenesis. The expression of VEGF and its receptors VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 was examined immunohistochemically in 43 specimens of canine lymphoma and in six normal lymph nodes. Western blotting and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were performed to detect VEGF protein and mRNA, respectively. VEGF protein was expressed by 60% of the tumours with diffuse cytoplasmic labelling of the neoplastic cells. Endothelial cells, macrophages and plasma cells were also immunolabelled. VEGFR-1 was expressed by variable numbers of neoplastic cells in 54% of lymphoma specimens. VEGFR-1 was also expressed by macrophages, plasma cells, reticulum cells, and vascular endothelial cells. Macrophages and lymphocytes in germinal centres of normal lymph nodes were also immunoreactive with anti-VEGF and VEGFR-1. Most tumours did not express VEGFR-2 but in 7% of sections there was focal labelling of neoplastic and endothelial cells, with a cytoplasmic and perinuclear pattern. The observed variability in expression of VEGF and its receptors probably relates to the fact that lymphoma is a heterogeneous lymphoproliferative tumour. Individual differences in VEGF and VEGFR expression must be taken into account when VEGF and VEGFR-targeted approaches for anti-angiogenic therapy are considered in dogs.