Plethysmograph measurement of respiratory phenotypes provides a highly sensitive means to study nicotine response in experimental model animals. We measured average respiratory frequency, tidal volume, minute volume and inspiratory time in C3H/HeJ and C57BL/6J mice subcutaneously administered 0.35 and 0.70 mg/kg nicotine. Both mouse strains showed significantly altered respiratory and locomotion phenotypes relative to saline-injected controls when administered the higher dose, but only C57BL/6J responded to the lower nicotine dose. Respiratory and locomotion phenotypes rarely differed significantly by sex. To investigate whether the strain-specific differences in nicotine sensitivity were related to differences in clearance, we followed up by measuring nicotine clearance in C3H/HeJ and C57BL/6J mice (0.35 mg/kg subcutaneous) and found sex differences in both strains, but no difference between strains.