This study presents data on over 350,000 insured Swedish dogs up to 10 years of age contributing to over one million dog-years at risk (DYAR) during 1995–2000. A total of 43,172 dogs died or were euthanised and of these 72% had a claim with a diagnosis for the cause of death. The overall total mortality was 393 deaths per 10,000 DYAR. Mortality rates are calculated for the 10 most common breeds, 10 breeds with high mortality and a group including all other breeds, crudely and for general causes of death. Proportional mortality is presented for several classifications. Five general causes accounted for 62% of the deaths with a diagnosis (i.e. tumour (18%), trauma (17%), locomotor (13%), heart (8%) and neurological (6%)). Mortality rates for the five most common diagnoses within the general causes of death are presented. These detailed statistics on mortality can be used in breed-specific strategies as well as for general health promotion programs. Further details on survival and relative risk by breed and age are presented in the companion paper .