In cardiovascular research, the rat has been the main model of choice for decades. Experimental procedures were developed to generate cardiovascular disease states in this species, such as systemic and pulmonary hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy and failure, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Furthermore, rats have been bred, which spontaneously develop such diseases. They became extremely valuable models to understand the genetics of these diseases, since powerful genomic tools are now available for the rat. One of these tools is transgenic technology, which has allowed the creation of even more disease models in the rat. This review summarizes the experimental, genetic, and transgenic rat models for cardiovascular diseases.