The medical records of dogs receiving surgery for unilateral patellar ligament rupture between 1999 and 2012 at 12 multidisciplinary referral centres were reviewed. Forty-three cases were identified; 26 were traumatic in origin; almost one-third were iatrogenic, of which over three-quarters occurred as a complication following surgical stabilisation of patellar luxation. Treatment involved primary reapposition of the ligament (36 cases). The repair was protected by circumpatellar and/or transpatellar loop(s) of orthopaedic wire, nylon, polypropylene or polydioxanone suture (34 cases). Wire loops were more likely to require surgical removal compared with loops of other materials (P=0.0014). The stifle joint was immobilised postoperatively by the applications of a transarticular external skeletal fixator (taESF) in 17 cases and by external coaptation (EC) in 8 cases; in 18 cases, no postoperative joint immobilisation was provided. Complications specific to the method of immobilisation occurred in seven of the cases with taESF and six of the cases with EC. Revision surgery to address failure of repair was required in five cases. Outcome was classified as acceptable or good in over three-quarters of the cases (31/40) and poor in less than a quarter (9/40). These data highlight patellar ligament rupture as a complication of surgical stabilisation of patellar luxation.