Chronic tendinopathy refers to a broad spectrum of pathological conditions in tendons and their insertion, with symptoms including activity-related chronic pain. To study the pathogenesis and management strategies of chronic tendinopathy, studies in animal models are essential. The different animal models in the literature present advantages and limitations, and there is no consensus regarding the criteria of a universal tendinopathy animal model. Based on the review of literature and the discussion in the International Symposium on Ligaments and Tendons-X, we concluded that established clinical, histopathological and functional characteristics of human tendinopathy were all important and relevant criteria to be met, if possible, by animal models. As tendinopathy is a progressive, multifactorial tendon disorder affecting different anatomical structures, it may not be realistic to expect a single animal model to study all aspects of tendinopathy. Staging of tendinopathy over time and clearer definition of tendinopathies in relation to severity and type would enable realistic targets with any animal model. The existing animal models can be used for answering specific questions (horses for courses) but should not be used to conclude the general aspects of tendinopathy neither in animals nor in human. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.