In humans, anxiety disorders are often accompanied by an overactive autonomic nervous system, reflected in increased body temperature (BT) and heart rate (HR). In rodents, comparable effects are found after exposure to stress. These autonomic parameters can give important information on stress and anxiety responses in mice. In the present experiments, stress reactivity of three frequently used mouse strains [129 Sv/Ev, Swiss Webster (SW) and C57 BL/6] was assessed using their autonomic stress responses. BT, HR and activity were telemetrically measured. Undisturbed circadian rhythms already showed clear differences between the mouse strains. Hereafter, autonomic responses to stressors with increasing intensity were measured. Strain differences were found in magnitude and duration of the stress responses, especially after high-intensity stressors. Generally, C57BL/6 mice showed the largest autonomic response, SW the lowest and the 129Sv/Ev the intermediate response. Interestingly, the observed ranking in autonomic stress response does not match the behavioral stress responsivity of these strains. Finally, sensitivity to the anxiolytic diazepam (0, 1, 2, 4 and 8 mg/kg) was tested using the stress-induced hyperthermia paradigm. Pharmacological sensitivity to diazepam differed between the strains with the 129Sv/Ev being most sensitive. These studies show that simultaneous measurement of behavioral and autonomic parameters under stressful conditions contributes considerably to a better interpretation of anxiety and stress levels in mice.