Knowledge of phage-host interactions at a fundamental level is central to the design of rational strategies for the development of phage-resistant strains that may be applied in industrial settings. Phages infecting lactic acid bacteria, in particular Lactococcus lactis and Streptococcus thermophilus, negatively impact on dairy fermentation processes with serious economic implications. In recent years a wealth of information on structural protein assembly and topology has become available relating to phages infecting Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Lactococcus lactis, which act as models for structural analyses of dairy phages. In this review, we explore the role of model tailed phages, such as T4 and SPP1, in advancing our knowledge regarding interactions between dairy phages and their hosts. Furthermore, the potential of currently investigated dairy phages to in turn serve as model systems for this particular group of phages is discussed.