Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease in humans and dogs with comparable clinical features. Comparative studies of immunological events in the pathogenesis of AD may contribute to understanding of the disease in dogs and to development and evaluation of immunomodulatory strategies of relevance to both species.Both allergen-specific as well as non-specific mechanisms contribute to the disease development. AD skin lesions are proposed to be initiated by activation of allergen-specific Th2-type cells, potentially influenced by local cutaneous factors. In the chronic stage of skin lesions reactivity may change into a Th1-type, e.g. driven by eosinophil derived IL-12. Analyses of these processes in course of time were performed in both spontaneous as well as in experimentally induced lesions (i.e. atopy patch test (APT) lesions). In the present paper, the immunological events as reported for human and canine AD are summarized and compared.