Genetics are an important factor in the development of human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); however, there is very little information available regarding the role of genetics in canine IBD. The purpose of this study was to gather information about which canine breeds in the south-eastern UK are at a high risk for developing IBD. Determination of such breeds may help further genetic research in this complex disease. The computer medical records at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, Royal Veterinary College dating from August 1, 2003 to December 31, 2009 were retrospectively searched for cases diagnosed with IBD. Five hundred and forty-six dogs with IBD were identified, representing 86 different breeds. The comparison group consisted of all dogs from these same 86 breeds without IBD admitted to the hospital during the same period that amounted to 27,463 dogs. The breeds at significantly higher risk of developing IBD compared with mixed-breed dogs consisted of weimaraner (odds ratio [OR]=3.6797, 95 per cent confidence interval [CI]=2.0167 to 6.7141, P<0.0001), rottweiler (OR=2.9697, 95 per cent CI=1.7569 to 5.0196, P<0.0001), German shepherd dog (GSD) (OR=2.4101, 95 per cent CI=1.5826 to 3.36705, P<0.0001), border collie (OR=1.9936, 95 per cent CI=1.1655 to 3.4101, P=0.0118) and boxer (OR=1.6961, 95 per cent CI=1.0441 to 2.755, P=0.0328). This study demonstrates for the first time canine breeds in the south-eastern UK that are highly susceptible to developing IBD. Identification of such breeds may allow for a more focused investigation of genetic mutations associated with canine IBD.