Holstein Canada

Breakdown of Traits

Breakdown of Traits & Worksheets

Building Functional Conformation

The Canadian classification system has many linear traits and defective characteristics that are combined to calculate points in four scorecard sections; Mammary System, Feet & Legs, Dairy Strength and Rump. An overall conformation score is calculated based on the importance of each of the scorecard sections.

Several traits are objectively measured from defined reference points on the cow. The classifiers’ handheld computer adjusts the measurements according to the age at calving, days in milk and the hours of milk in the udder. This allows the computer to convert the adjusted measurement to a linear code from 1 to 9 that is an accurate representation of all traits independent of the age, stage or udder fullness at the time of appraisal.

Holstein breed formula:

Holstein breed formula

Mammary System (40%)

Ideal qualities:
  • Soft, high, wide and strongly attached, with good teat length and placement
  • Healthy udders that are resistant to breakdown
  • Easy to milk with effective milk letdown and milk-out
  • Capacious udders for high milk volumes
  • Ligament strength and udder attachment to keep udder free from contamination

Dairy Strength (20%)

Ideal qualities:
  • Well-sprung, open ribs with adequate width
  • Adequate capacity for the consumption of a high forage diet
  • Sustains proper body condition with high milk output
  • Healthier cow with room for vital organs to operate

Feet & Legs (28%)

Ideal qualities:
  • Widely placed legs, intermediate curvature, and a steep foot with a deep heel
  • Greater resistance to lameness and foot diseases
  • Straight-tracking locomotion with ample freedom of movement
  • Mobility to get to the feed bunk, milk parlour and for heat detection

Rump (12%)

Ideal qualities:
  • Well-sloped, wide and strongly anchored to back/vertebrae
  • Impacts position of reproductive tract to be held high within abdominal cavity
  • Improved fertility
  • Better calving ease & healthy recovery following calving