Stromal invasion is identified commonly in cutaneous malignancies; however, invasive patterns are defined inconsistently and their clinical relevance is uncertain. This study aimed to define objective, quantifiable histomorphological invasive patterns in low-grade canine mast cell tumours (MCTs) and grade I/II soft tissue sarcomas (STSs), and correlate invasive patterns with overall excisional status. Haematoxylin and eosin-stained glass slides prepared for routine histopathology of surgically-excised tumours from client-owned dogs were evaluated for invasion beyond their subgross edge, asymmetrical invasion, satellite lesions, lymphovascular invasion, perineurovascular growth, growth along fascial planes, intramuscular invasion and multicompartmental involvement. Digital histological tumour-free margins <1 mm in any direction were considered to represent an incomplete excision. Fifty-one dogs with 69 tumours (50 MCTs and 19 STSs) were included in the study. Invasion in both circumferential and deep directions was significantly greater in MCTs compared with STSs (exact 2-tailed P <0.0001 circumferential; P = 0.0095 deep). Within the MCT group, circumferential invasion was greater than deep invasion (P = 0.0076). Multivariate logistic regression analysis found two variables that were significantly associated with incomplete MCT excision: intraoperative grossly normal circumferential surgical margin size (odds ratio of 0.776, 95% confidence interval: 0.651-0.925) and asymmetry invasion index (odds ratio of 1.318, 95% confidence interval: 1.039-1.671). These data may help create evidence-based strategies for planning surgical resections of cutaneous malignancies. Presence of asymmetrical microscopical invasion might prompt pathologists to perform more comprehensive surgical margin evaluation.