The judge’s role at a dairy cattle show is to assess the animals presented in each class (age category) and to compare them with one another to determine which have the most desirable traits and breed character.
Experts in Holstein anatomy and conformation, judges base their evaluation on pre-established criteria to ensure uniform judging. They compare four main criteria that may influence a cow’s production as well as its reproductive capacity, longevity and functionality:
- Mammary system (overall, teats, fore udder, rear udder, median suspensory ligament, texture)
- General appearance (rump, stature, front end, hindquarters)
- Dairy strength (body capacity, dairy character, angularity)
- Feet and legs (view from behind, flexion, heel, bones)
Because a judge’s work is likely to be criticized, judges must base their assessments on facts, referring to the instruction they have received to provide reasons that explain their decisions and support their placings.