The linear type classification includes 21 traits (see pages with drawings and text), and additionally milking speed, temperament, and blind teats for daughter groups. The 21 traits are assessed on a scale from 1 to 9, where 1 and 9 express the biological extremes.
For example, a cow with a very deep udder will receive score 1 for Udder Depth, while a cow with a very high and well attached udder will get score 9.
An optimum value is determined for each trait in order to be able to assess a cow's classification in relation to the breeding goal. The optimum is the assessment/score given to a cow which fulfils the breeds breeding goal in a certain trait (see page with optimum). The traits have different optimum scores - some have one of the biological extremes as their optimum, while others have an intermediate optimum (the optimum for the trait lies between 1 and 9).
Udder Depth is an example for a trait with optimum 9 (for all breeds) - a high and well attached udder - i.e. one of the biological extremes.
Rear Leg Side View is a trait with an intermediate optimum. The optimum is 5 - a correctly angled hock - which corresponds to the biological midpoint between a straight and sickled rear leg.
The 56 defective characteristics are split up into the following categories: 19 for body, 11 for feet & legs, 20 for the mammary system, 4 for milking speed and 2 for blind teats (see page with defective characteristics). These are used in case the linear system does not adequately describe the conformation. All defective characteristics are scored on a scale from 1 to 2. Score 1 means that the cow in question clearly differs from the norm for the respective trait. Score 2 means that the relevant cow differs very much for the respective trait.