Diabetes mellitus occurs spontaneously in dogs, which is believed to have an autoimmune component and to be a model of human latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). Some dog breeds (e.g. Samoyed) are particularly predisposed, whereas others (e.g. Boxer) are highly resistant. With the completion of the Dog Genome Assembly, comparative genomic studies of complex diseases in dogs, including diabetes, could provide an important investigative approach into such disorders. Type 1 diabetes in humans is strongly associated with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II polymorphisms. We have investigated whether canine dog leucocyte antigen (DLA) class II haplotypes are associated with diabetes. DNA from 460 cases and 1047 controls were genotyped for DLA-DRB1, DLA-DQA1 and DLA-DQB1 using sequence-based typing. Three DLA haplotypes, DRB1*009/DQA1*001/DQB1*008, DRB1*015/DQA1*0061/DQB1*023 and DRB1*002/DQA1*009/DQB1*001, were found at significantly increased frequency in cases with diabetes compared with controls. One DLA-DQ haplotype, DQA1*004/DQB1*013, was significantly reduced in cases with diabetes. Further analysis showed that DQA1 alleles carrying arginine at codon 55 of DQA1 were increased in dogs with diabetes. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a comparative study of MHC and diabetes in a non-rodent species. Since no laboratory model of LADA exists and dogs and humans share similar environments, further research into canine diabetes is warranted.