There are many types of colitis models in animals that researchers use to elucidate the mechanism of action of human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These models are also used to test novel therapeutics and therapeutic treatment regimens. Here, we will review the characteristics of the mdr1a -/- model of spontaneous colitis that we believe make this model an important part of the IBD researcher's toolbox. We will also share new data that will reinforce the fact that this model is relevant in the study of IBD. Mdr1a -/- mice lack the murine multiple drug resistance gene for P-glycoprotein 170 that is normally expressed in multiple tissues including intestinal epithelial cells. These mice spontaneously develop a form of colitis at around 12 wk of age. The fact that the complexity of this model mirrors the complexity of disease in humans, as well as recent literature that links MDR1 polymorphisms in humans to Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, makes this an appropriate animal model to study.