Rotator cuff tears are the most common musculoskeletal injury occurring in the shoulder. Current surgical repair fails to heal in 20% to 95% of patients, depending on age, size of the tear, smoking, time of repair, tendon quality, muscle quality, healing response, and surgical treatments. These problems are worsened by the limited healing potential of injured tendons attributed to the presence of degenerative changes and relatively poor vascularity of the cuff tendons. Development of new techniques to treat rotator cuff tears requires testing in animal models to assess safety and efficacy before clinical testing. Hence, it is important to evaluate appropriate animal models for rotator cuff research with degeneration of tendons, muscular atrophy, and fatty infiltration similar to humans. This report reviews current clinical treatments and preclinical approaches for rotator cuff tear repair. The review will focus on current clinical surgical treatments, new repair strategies under clinical and preclinical development, and will also describe different animal models available for rotator cuff research. These findings and future directions for rotator cuff tear repair will be discussed.