Setting the Standards for True Type Holsteins

Updated: Jun 20



A factor of importance contributing to the growth and development of show ring cattle and the improvement of the breed type was the work of the Holstein-Friesian Association of America’s work toward giving a True Type of the Holstein Breed. In the early 1920s, the True Type Holstein-Friesian Cow and Bull model paintings were familiar to every breeder – which spread to the other breed associations, but they may not be as well known. Since the first Holstein-Friesian herds made their way to the Americas, there has been a need to ensure that the quality of the breed carries through its generations.


Setting the Standards for True Type Holstein Classification

With the show ring suffering from growing pains, one of the topics discussed in the columns of the Holstein-Friesian World was the topics discussed was the uniformity in judging work. This was the push needed to begin the actual classification process to even out the judging process. The popularity of this topic amongst the cattle community resulted in a conference called by the Board of the Holstein-Friesian Association of America, which was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 1922.


At the meeting, Fred Pabst, a director of The Holstein-Friesian Association of America, presided over the meeting, which consisted of approximately 40 other interested men and the Secretary of the organization, who suggested a set of official slides be prepared to show typical animals. Out of this meeting grew the idea of the painting depicting the True Type Cow and Bull. Pabst even suggested that clay models be prepared to show all dimensions of the animals, and a committee was formed.


The Committee on the True Type of the Breed

Those in attendance at the March 22 meeting voted to appoint members to The Committee of the True Type of the Breed, and official status was given to the Committee through appointment by the Executive Committee of The Holstein-Friesian Association of America. Those appointed included W.S. Moscrip (Chairman), R.E. Haeger, W.W. Stevens, H.H. Kildee, Axel Hansen, A.C. Oosterhuis, T.E. Elder, W.H. Standish, Fred Pabst (ex-officio), and the Secretary of the organization F.L. Houghton acted as Secretary of the Committee. Other volunteers participated with the Committee when called upon.


Each of the Committee’s members was tasked with finding photographs of the breed and selecting the feature that they considered to be a feature of conformation. A painter assembled these photographs, taking all of these ideal parts and creating a composite painting. A sculptor was also tasked with creating the models of the True Type Cow. From these models, cows would begin receiving a certification that consisted of the percentage of Holstein – by the end of 1957, over 300,000 animals had been officially classified with a score of 79.7%, with 80% being average for the breed.


Introducing the True Type Holstein



The appeal of the Holstein cow’s offering aided in the popularity of the animal. Based on an advertisement – Holsteins have “more of everything.” The flyer says that Holsteins are the leading breed of dairy cattle because they assure the dairyman more milk, more total fat, more veal value, and more resale value. Featuring the True Type Cow, the benefits included greater production, longer productive life, greater adaptability, huskier calves, and superior milk production. These are the same characteristics highly indicative of Holstein’s today.

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