Cholestasis is a frequent clinical condition initiating or complicating chronic liver diseases, particularly cholangiopathies, where the biliary epithelium is the primary target of the pathogenetic sequence. Until a few decades ago, understanding of cholestasis relied mostly on the experimental model of bile duct ligation in rodents. However, a simple model of biliary obstruction cannot reproduce the complex mechanisms and networks leading to cholestasis in cholangiopathies. These networks are underpinned by an intricate dysregulation of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic signals involving besides cholangiocytes, multiple cell elements of both innate and adaptive immunity. Therefore, in the last years, a wide range of animal models of biliary injury have been developed, mostly in mice, following three main approaches, chemical induction, immunization and genetic manipulation. In this review, we will give an update of the animal models of the two main cholangiopathies, primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cholangitis, which have provided us with the most relevant insights into the pathogenesis of these still controversial diseases.