Animal models are extremely useful tools in defining pathogenesis and treatment of human disease. Creating adequate animal models of complex neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia represents a particularly difficult challenge. In the case of schizophrenia, little is certain regarding the etiology or pathophysiology of the human disease. In addition, many symptoms of the disorder are difficult to measure directly in rodents. These challenges have not daunted neuroscientists who are capitalizing on even subtle overlaps between this uniquely human disorder and rodent behavior. In this perspective, we detail the features of ideal animal models of schizophrenia, the potential utility of such models, and the rodent behaviors used to model certain aspects of schizophrenia. The development of such models will provide critical tools to understand the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and novel insights into therapeutic approaches to this complex disorder. © 2006 Society of Biological Psychiatry.