The acquisition of conditioned suppression of instrumental responding and responsivity to thermal stimulation were assessed in spontaneously hypertensive rats of the Okamoto-Aoki strain (SHRs), renal hypertensive rats of the Wistar-Kyoto strain (WKYs), and normotensive WKY rats. Spontaneously hypertensive rats showed significantly faster acquisition of conditioned suppression than age-matched WKY normotensive rats. This acquisition difference between SHRs and normotensive WKYs was maintained even following chronic preexposure to shock alone; a treatment that retarded normal acquisition of conditioned suppression. In contrast, renal hypertensive WKYs acquired conditioned suppression at the same rate as age-matched normotensive WKYs. Spontaneously hypertensive rats and renal hypertensive WKYs both showed significantly longer latencies than normotensive WKYs to respond to thermal stimulation using a hot-plate assay. These outcomes suggest that the relationship between blood pressure and the acquisition of conditioned suppression in SHRs is either pleiotrophic or a consequence of random fixation, and that acquisition of conditioned suppression may serve as a valuable marker variable of hypertension in the SHR. The dissociation between acquisition of conditioned suppression and responsivity to thermal stimulation suggests that different mechanisms may mediate nociceptive responses to shock and thermal stimulation in these models of hypertension. © 1981.