In this study we quantified maternal behavior in genetic epileptic rats with deficiencies in the DA system known to be involved in maternal behavior in order to assess whether these rats have disturbances in maternal care. Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) rats, a genetic model for generalized absence epilepsy and Wistar rats were compared. Maternal behavior parameters and activity scores were quantified from post-natal day (PND) 4-6 in an open field in the presence of pups. WAG/Rij rats had less approaches to the pups and higher latencies of approaching them compared to Wistar, while locomotion showed a different pattern over days. This confirms the hypothesis that animals with absence epilepsy show more poor maternal behavior and that these effects cannot be solely attributed to differences in locomotor activity. It is proposed that the reduction in maternal care is attributed to low activity in the mesolimbic DA system.