Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a slowly progressive lung disease that results in several complications, including cognitive dysfunction. Some evidences support that cognitive impairment is common and clinically important in COPD, but the exact mechanism is still unclear. It has been confirmed that chronic hypoxia-hypercapnia contributes a lot to the development in pathophysiology of COPD. Data from some pilot studies indicated that chronic hypoxia-hypercapnia influences cognitive functions both in patients and in animals, which includes some distinctive pattern of cognitive dysfunction in human being or impairment of spatial learning-memory in rat. Therefore, we propose that cognitive impairment is strongly related to combination of chronic hypoxia and hypercapnia, and chronic hypoxia-hypercapnia-induced animal models may mimic the cognitive dysfunction of COPD. Attempts to confirm this hypothesis may lead to new model of cognitive dysfunction in COPD.