Osteosarcoma (OS) originates from bone-forming mesenchymal cells and represents one of the primary bone tumours. It is the most common primary bone tumour in dogs and man. The characterization of an appropriate natural disease animal model to study human OS is essential to elucidate the pathogenesis of the disease. This study aimed to validate canine OS as a model for the human disease by evaluating immunohistochemically the expression of markers known to be important in human OS. The immunohistochemical panel included vimentin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), desmin, S100, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4). Immunohistochemistry was conducted on formalin-fixed, paraffin wax-embedded tissue sections from 59 dogs with confirmed primary OS. Vimentin, ALP, Runx2 and BMP4 were highly expressed by all tumours, while desmin, S100 and NSE were expressed variably. The findings were similar to those described previously for human OS and suggest that canine OS may represent a useful model for the study of the human disease.