The classical sib pair method uses the expected and observed HLA (human leukocyte antigen) haplotype sharing distribution in sib pairs, who are affected with an HLA associated disease, to make inferences about the inheritance of the disease. In this paper we present the expected HLA haplotype sharing distributions in affected sib trios, and sib pairs, from families with three or more affected sibs. The underlying model for both distributions, as for the classical sib pair method, is that disease predisposition is determined by a single allele at an HLA-linked locus. The sib trio tests of hypotheses (additive and recessive), and disease parameter estimates (additive, recessive and intermediate), can be compared with those obtained from the classical sib pair analysis. In addition, the sib trio data allow parameter estimation for a general disease model to be made, if the data fall within the bounds of the expectation. This study forms the basis of later investigations which show that haplotype sharing of affected sib trios for two susceptibility alleles (negative complementation) model, which appears appropriate for insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), moves outside the bound of the single susceptibility expectations outlined here, whereas haplotype sharing values for sib pairs are bound by the single susceptibility allele expectations. Available Caucasian IDDM data have been analysed. The results support genetic heterogeneity of IDDM.