The flagellated parasite Giardia duodenalis is known as one of the most common causes of protozoal diarrhoea in both humans and animals worldwide. The aim of the present work was to perform the first study of G. duodenalis in rodents in the Canary Islands (Spain) and analyse the level of genetic variation and the potential zoonotic role of the isolates. Stool samples were collected from 284 wild rodents and Giardia cysts were detected by light microscopy. The overall prevalence of giardiasis was 25·4% and ranged from 19·4% in El Hierro to 34% in Gran Canaria. Positive samples were further characterized by PCR and nucleotide sequencing of the triose phosphate isomerase (TPI), β-giardin (BG) and glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) genes. Our study revealed assemblage G as the most frequent genotype and identified two rodent-infecting G. duodenalis haplotypes of this assemblage, HI and HII. Phylogenetic analysis supported the monophyly of haplotype HI, which we suggest to be considered as a novel G. duodenalis sub-assemblage GII, due to the high genetic distances among this sub-genotype and assemblage G. Furthermore, G. duodenalis assemblage B was detected in an inhabited area in La Palma, a fact that may pose a potential risk of G. duodenalis transmission from rodents to humans.