Emerging and reemerging viral diseases can lead to devastating effects on human lives and at times also lead to economic crises. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic due to the novel coronavirus (nCoV), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which originated in Wuhan, China, has caused a global public health emergency. Still, the molecular mechanism of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, its clinical manifestations and pathogenesis is not completely understood. The global scientific community has intensified their efforts to understand the biology of SARS-CoV-2 to develop vaccines and therapeutic interventions to prevent the rapid spread of the virus and to control mortality and morbidity associated with COVID-19. To understand the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2, appropriate animal models that mimic the biology of human SARS-COV-2 infection is urgently needed. In this review, we outline animal models that have been used to study previous human coronaviruses (HCoVs), that includes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Importantly, we discuss which model is appropriate for SARS-CoV-2 as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.