© 2018 British Small Animal Veterinary Association Dilated cardiomyopathy is the second most common cardiac disease in dogs and causes considerable morbidity and mortality. Primary dilated cardiomyopathy is suspected to be familial, and genetic loci have been associated with the disease in a number of breeds. Because it is an adult-onset disease, usually with late onset, testing breeding dogs and bitches before breeding for a genetic mutation that could lead to dilated cardiomyopathy would be helpful to prevent disease. There is growing evidence that the genetic basis may be multigenic rather than monogenic in the majority of studied breeds. This review article describes the known genetic aspects of canine dilated cardiomyopathy and the implications of genetic tests on heart testing and the future of veterinary cardiology.