Conformation traits

Time to read: ca 2 min

Conformation traits for which breeding values are calculated are udder conformation, feet and legs conformation, rump angle, stature and body depth.

Photo of a Norwegian Red cow in winter
Norwegian Red is a moderate size and robust dairy cow, with great udder and feet&legs conformation. Photo: Elisabeth Theodorsson

The purpose of the conformation scoring is to form the basis for a breeding improvement of the cow's functionality and usability. Registrations from the Nordic Classification system are used as phenotypes in the breeding value calculations. The conformation scoring is done by breeding advisors. 

Udder conformation index (27% of TMI)

The goal is for the udder to be easy to milk and work well in automatic milking systems. The udder should not inhibit the animal from moving and it should not have a conformation that easily causes damage and affects the udder health.

The udder conformation index consists of nine traits viewed from the exterior of the cow.

These udder traits are weighted in such a way that a high score for udder index reflects a durable and functional udder. Udder conformation traits are scored by breeding advisors using a linear scale.

The udder trait definitions are harmonized with definitions for dairy cattle populations in other countries.

Traits Relative weight (%)
Udder depth 19.6
Front teat placement 13.2
Rear teat placement 15.3
Udder balance 6.6
Fore udder attachment 12.3
Rear udder width 3.0
Rear udder height 6.8
Udder cleft 13.9
Teat length 9.3


Feet and legs conformation index (3% of TMI)

The conformation traits registered are rear legs side view, rear legs rear view and foot angle.

Traits Relative weight (%)
Rear legs, side view Not included
Rear legs, rear view 50
Foot angle 50


Stature (Not included in TMI)

Stature is measured as rump height and stated in centimeters.

Body depth (Not included in TMI)

Body depth is measured as the length between the spine and the base of the posterior rib. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 9, where 1 is narrow and 9 is deep.

Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System

The Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System is run by the national dairy co-operative owned by Norwegian dairy farmers, TINE. It is certified by ICARs Certificate of Quality (International Committee for Animal Recording).

Data is collected from almost all dairy farmers in Norway, and from a whole range of sources.

Read more about the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System here