Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the behavioral characteristics of WAG/Rij rats, a genetic model for absence epilepsy. Materials and methods: The performance of WAG/Rij rats in passive avoidance, Morris-water maze and open-field tests were compared with the Wistar rats (control group). Results: Passive avoidance and rota-rod performance did not differ between the two groups. WAG/Rij rats exhibited longer escape latencies on the first day of training in Morris water-maze, however, this difference disappeared with further training and during the probe day (without the platform). WAG/Rij rats exhibited increased locomotor activity in the open-field test. Discussion: Results are discussed with respect to known behavioral and cognitive deficits that characterize patients with absence epilepsy.