Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder whose aetiology is not yet fully understood. In the past ten years, the discovery of genes linked to hereditary forms of the disease has impelled the development of animal models. These should lead to the identification of novel pathways that provide insight into the functionality of the proteins involved and the pathogenesis of the sporadic forms of the disease. In particular, loss-of-function mutations in the parkin and PINK1 (phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-induced kinase 1) genes account for most of the cases of familial autosomal recessive parkinsonism. Both parkin and PINK1 knockout rodent models are now available, which display an overall mild phenotype consisting of a mitochondrial dysfunction together with changes in dopamine metabolism and oxidative stress. However, up till now these models fail to reproduce the main hallmarks of Parkinson's disease: the dopaminergic cell loss in the substantia nigra and the presence of cytoplasmic inclusions, named Lewy bodies, in the remaining dopaminergic neurons. We here review the most important knockout and knockdown rodent models generated so far for these two recessive Parkinson's disease-causing genes. We critically feature their main characteristics and their impact on the research field, and propose some future directions for the study and modelling of the loss of function of parkin and PINK1 in rodents.