Over the past decade, computer‐aided diagnosis is rapidly growing due to the availability of patient data, sophisticated image acquisition tools and advancement in image processing and machine learning algorithms. Meningiomas are the tumors of brain and spinal cord. They account for 20% of all the brain tumors. Meningioma subtype classification involves the classification of benign meningioma into four major subtypes: meningothelial, fibroblastic, transitional, and psammomatous. Under the microscope, the histology images of these four subtypes show a variety of textural and structural characteristics. High intraclass and low interclass variabilities in meningioma subtypes make it an extremely complex classification problem. A number of techniques have been proposed for meningioma subtype classification with varying performances on different subtypes. Most of these techniques employed wavelet packet transforms for textural features extraction and analysis of meningioma histology images. In this article, a hybrid classification technique based on texture and shape characteristics is proposed for the classification of meningioma subtypes. Meningothelial and fibroblastic subtypes are classified on the basis of nuclei shapes while grey‐level co‐occurrence matrix textural features are used to train a multilayer perceptron for the classification of transitional and psammomatous subtypes. On the whole, average classification accuracy of 92.50% is achieved through the proposed hybrid classifier; which to the best of our knowledge is the highest. Microsc. Res. Tech. 77:862–873, 2014 . ? 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.