Dairy Type Classification Service

Type Classification provides an independent assessment of cows in your herd reviewing the strengths and weaknesses to enhance longevity, health and welfare. It provides an overall classification score for your heifers and cows, which can substantially increase their value.

NBDC Dairy Cattle Type Classification Guide. 

The NBDC Type Classification Scheme currently evaluates over 130,000 dairy and beef animals every year. The NBDC classifiers operate an internationally recognised appraisal system which is used by the AI industry in the British Isles to provide reliable type proofs. 

View the Beef Type Classification website page.


Linear assessment involves the measurement of 27 individual traits on a scale of 1-9, describing the degree of the trait rather than its desirability. The traits are as follows:

Mammary (40%) Feet & Legs (30%) Dairy Capacity (10%) Rump (10%) Dairy Character (10%) Management
Udder Depth Foot Angle Stature Rump Angle Ribs Structure Temperament
Udder Texture Rear Leg Side View Body Depth Rump Width   Milking Speed
Udder Support Rear Leg Rear View Chest Width Loin Strength   Condition Score
Fore Udder Attachment Bone quality Height at Front End Thurl Position    
Front Teat Placement Front Feet Orientation        
Rear Udder Height Locomotion        
Rear Udder Width          
Front Teat Length          
Rear Teat Length          
Rear Teat Placement          
Teat Position Side          
Udder Tilt          


To see a description of each trait classified for dairy cows, refer to the Holstein Virtual Cow and download the NBDC Dairy Cattle Type Classification Guide.



Classification involves the appraisal of an animals in comparison to the ideal. An overall score and grade are awarded, according to the following scale:

Final Linear Score Final Grade
90-97 Excellent (EX)
85-89 Very Good (VG)
80-84 Good Plus (GP)
75-79 Good (G)
65-74 Fair (F)
50-64  Poor (P)

A similar score and grade are awarded to each of the five areas of the cow – mammary, feet & legs, dairy capacity, rump and dairy character. Then the final score is calculated from the individual score of these five assessments.



The maximum Final Score attributed to an animal depend on its number of calving:

Parity Final Score
1st Calver 88 points
2nd Calver 89 points
3rd Calver 93 points
4rd Calver + 97 points



The NBDC Classification Team assess 20 breeds of cattle across the UK and Channel Islands. The below table shows all the breeds currently participating in the Type Classification Scheme. If you are interested in classifying you herd please use the contact numbers at the bottom of the page. 

Dairy Breeds Beef Breeds
Ayrshire Aberdeen Angus
British Friesian Beef Shorthorn
Brown Swiss British White
Dairy Shorthorn Dexter
Guernsey Island Longhorn
Guernsey UK Gloucester
Holstein Hereford
Jersey Island Irish Moiled
Jersey UK Red Ruby Devon
Montbeliarde Simmentals
  South Devons
  Welsh Black

There are several forms of the service, one to suit each breed – Ayrshire, British Friesian, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey and Shorthorn. In each case, the service offers the potential to substantially increase the value of your herd and for some, opens up services such as:

ClassAct (Currently in development)

The Classifier does not require you to:

  • Wash or clip the animals
  • Lead them on a halter
  • Show them full of milk

What do I receive after the classification?

  • An official classification score for each animal inspected, endorsed by the classifier on all relevant registration certificates.
  • Full assessment report on each animal together with a choice of three individual mating recommendations are provided.
  • You decide the type of cows you want to breed. ‘WebMate’ locates the sire best suited to your needs.
  • ‘WebMate’ will also provide the best mating for semen you have already purchased.
  • The chance to re-run the matings at your convenience or after each official proof release directly from the NBDC website using your latest information via a PIN protected login.

NBDC classifiers operate an internationally recognised appraisal system which is used by the AI industry in the British Isles to provide reliable type proofs.

NBDC Type Classification Fees

 If you would like to book a classification, please contact:

  • Jackie Clark
  • +44 (0) 1923 695208
  • jackieclark@nbdc.uk
  • NBDC, Scope House, Hortonwood 33, Telford, Shropshire TF1 7EX