Type Classification Service

The Type Classification programme records economically important conformation traits that influence a cow's ability to withstand modern production and management practices.

Why Classify

The service offers its users two key advantages:

  1. It provides an independent assessment of every cow in the herd.
  2. It provides a final score for the your heifers and cows, which can substantially increase their value.

The system is appropriate to every type of farming system and currently evaluates over 100,000 animals every year.

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

Classification fees (pdf)



Linear assessment involves the measurement of 24 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 Angularity Temperament
Udder Texture Rear Leg Side View Body Depth Rump Width   Milking Speed
Central Ligament Rear Leg Rear View Chest Width Loin Strength   Condition Score
Fore Udder Attachment Bone quality Height at Front End Thurl Position    
Front Teat Placement Locomotion        
Rear Udder Height          
Rear Udder Width          
Teat Length          
Teat Position          
Udder Tilt          


To see the precise description of each trait classified for dairy cows refer to the Type Classification Guide and the Holstein Virtual Cow.




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 89 points
2nd Calver 89 points
3rd Calver 93 points
4rd Calver + 97 points



The NBDC Classification Team assess 18 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 Beef Shorthorn
British Friesian Dexter
Brown Swiss Gloucester
Dairy Shorthorn Irish Moiled
Guernsey Island Longhorn
Guernsey UK Simmentals
Holstein South Devons
Jersey Island Welsh Black
Jersey UK  

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:


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

  • Jackie Clark
  • +44 (0) 1923 695208
  • jackieclark@nbdc.uk
  • NBDC, Speir House, Stafford Park 1, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 3BD