Characterization and biological roles of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) isotypes are well known in monogastrics, but not in ruminants. However, a wealth of information has accumulated in little more than a decade on ruminant PPARs including isotype tissue distribution, response to synthetic and natural agonists, gene targets, and factors affecting their expression. Functional characterization demonstrated that, as in monogastrics, the PPAR isotypes control expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism, anti-inflammatory response, development, and growth. Contrary to mouse, however, the PPARγ gene network appears to controls milk fat synthesis in lactating ruminants. As in monogastrics, PPAR isotypes in ruminants are activated by long-chain fatty acids, therefore, making them ideal candidates for fine-tuning metabolism in this species via nutrients. In this regard, using information accumulated in ruminants and monogastrics, we propose a model of PPAR isotype-driven biological functions encompassing key tissues during the peripartal period in dairy cattle.