For a reliable analysis of BOLD fMRI data, a suitable model of the hemodynamic response is essential. Therefore, an accurate model of the BOLD response of small animals is required in preclinical studies. Commonly used analysis tools like SPM or BrainVoyager have implemented HRFs optimized for humans by default. Since the BOLD responses of rats proceed faster than those of humans, we have determined a generic rat HRF based on 98 BOLD measurements of 35 rats which can be used for statistical parametric mapping. Statistical analysis of rat data showed a significantly improved detection performance using this rat HRF.