Many genetically modified mouse strains are now available on a C57BL/6 (H-2b) background, a strain that is relatively resistant to collagen-induced arthritis. To facilitate the molecular understanding of autoimmune arthritis, we characterised the induction of arthritis in C57BL/6 mice and then validated the disease as a relevant pre-clinical model for rheumatoid arthritis. C57BL/6 mice were immunised with type II collagen using different protocols, and arthritis incidence, severity, and response to commonly used anti-arthritic drugs were assessed and compared with DBA/1 mice. We confirmed that C57BL/6 mice are susceptible to arthritis induced by immunisation with chicken type II collagen and develop strong and sustained T-cell responses to type II collagen. Arthritis was milder in C57BL/6 mice than DBA/1 mice and more closely resembled rheumatoid arthritis in its response to therapeutic intervention. Our findings show that C57BL/6 mice are susceptible to collagen-induced arthritis, providing a valuable model for assessing the role of specific genes involved in the induction and/or maintenance of arthritis and for evaluating the efficacy of novel drugs, particularly those targeted at T cells.