In the late 19th century Clan MacLeod Societies were founded in both Edinburgh and Glasgow in common with many other Highland Clan and Area Associations. The Clan MacLeod Society stems from the Society formed in Edinburgh and inaugurated in 1891. The family of the MacLeod Chiefs of Dunvegan were closely associated with the Society and both Sir Reginald MacLeod of MacLeod, later 27th Chief, and Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod, later 28th Chief, were Presidents of the Society.

With the founding of the Glengarry Society (Canada) in 1936 and the London Branch (England) in 1937, the Clan MacLeod Society became the parent society of what had become a world-wide organisation. There are other Clan MacLeod Societies in Australia, Canada, France, England, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States of America. The original Clan MacLeod Society became the Clan MacLeod Society of Scotland. All ten Societies are linked in the Associated Clan MacLeod Societies (ACMS).

The Society first published the Clan MacLeod Magazine in 1935 and a series of Clan Genealogies, which are now published by ACMS. The Magazine now goes out twice a year and, in its 70th year, in 2005 published its 100th issue.

The Society celebrated its centenary in 1991 with a series of events in both Edinburgh and Glasgow and commemorated the event with designing and producing the Clan MacLeod Centenary Tartan.

In 2016 the Society celebrated its 125th anniversary with a weekend of events in Perth. As well as a tour of local MacLeod-linked sites, there was a ceilidh and a dinner.