The incidence of atopic dermatitis was estimated to be 1·7 cases per 1000 dog-years at risk in a population of insured Swedish dogs whose insurance claims for the period 1995 to 2002 were examined. Several factors were found to increase the risk of having a recorded claim, including living in a city or in central or southern Sweden, being born in the autumn, and belonging to a high-risk breed. Bull terriers had the highest risk, with 21 cases per 1000 dog-years at risk, and several other breeds including boxers and West Highland white terriers also had an above average risk. There was no difference in the incidence between the sexes. There was a slight increase in the incidence during the period. In a subset of the data that consisted only of dogs from 15 high-risk breeds, the overall survival appeared to be lower for the dogs that had had an insurance claim for the disease.