In canine and human atopic patients, the intracutaneous injection of offending allergens is followed by the development of both immediate and late-phase reactions. The present study was performed to expand on the characterization and dynamics of inflammatory cell subsets during IgE-mediated late-phase reactions in canine skin. Three normal dogs and three Dermatophagoides farinae-allergic dogs were selected for this experiment. All dogs were challenged intradermally with mite allergen, purified anticanine IgE antibodies (positive control) or phosphate-buffered saline (negative control). Skin biopsies were obtained before and 6, 12 and 24 h post-injection. Sections were stained with metachromatic and eosinophil-specific histological stains. Additionally, we used an immunohistochemical method with antibodies specific for canine leukocyte antigens. This study confirmed the occurrence of a late-phase reaction in atopic skin following allergen challenge, and in normal and atopic canine skin after intradermal injection of IgE-specific antibodies. Whereas early emigrating dermal cells were composed chiefly of neutrophil and activated eosinophil granulocytes, there was an influx of αβ T-lymphocytes and dermal dendritic cells in later stages of the late-phase reactions. Because IgE-mediated late-phase reactions resemble spontaneous atopic canine skin lesions, both at macroscopic and microscopic levels, we propose the use of similar challenges to study the anti-inflammatory effects of anti-allergic drugs in a pre-clinical setting.