• Performance testing is mandatory for all registered Charolais breeders.

  • Performance testing data is a requirement for registration of all animals. After 1 January 1998 all bulls presented on National Auctions had to be performance tested.

  • Animals born before 1 January 1998 are not liable to the stipulations or requirements of performance testing for registration or maintenance of registration as specified in the breeding policy.

  • Show judging standards were reformed, making performance testing data part of the criteria and therefore not relying only on subjective visual judgement alone.

  • Selection of A.I. and stud bulls is done using complete data on breeding values, growth ability, easy calving of the female progeny and growth efficiency.

  • A system whereby bull mothers are identified for the breeding of sires was implemented, so every successive generation of sires could be selected from the best mothers of the previous generation. This is known as the Stud bull-Mother Qualification System.

  • Economically important traits must be improved and/or kept. Traits of importance are amongst others, walking ability, adaptability to veldt conditions, milk production, libido, easy calving, temperament, growth ability, feed utilization and carcass characteristics.

  • Emphasis is placed on the economical effectiveness of the race as a whole and especially on the cowherd under typical South African veld conditions.

  • Provision is made for the mandatory de-registration of animals that does not meet the minimum reproductive or production standard requirements.

Mandatory Measurable Traits

  • Heifer weight - at weaning and within 3 days after calving (optional but recommended).

  • Birth weight of calves.

  • Weight at one year and again at 18 months.

  • Shoulder height and body length.



Reproduction Traits

1.1.1 Minimum Standards For Number Of Calves

Cows not conforming to these standards are automatically culled.

1.1.2 Age First Calf (AFC)

Maximum AFC is 39 months. Females that had not yet calved at 39 months are automatically culled.

1.1.3 Cow\Calf Weight Index At Birth No Higher Than 9.

For the time being this measurement is optional but is strongly recommended as selection norm.

2. Production Traits

2.1 100 day calf weight.

This is optional but is strongly recommended as norm for milk production.

2.2 Phase A: Weaning Indexes

Bull calves: Minimum 90*
Heifer calves: Minimum 90*

Calves not conforming to the minimum index cannot be registered.

2.3 Phase B: 1 Year And\Or 18 Month Indexes *

Heifers: minimum 90 maximum 130

Heifers with an index of 130 or higher may only be approved if they are functionally efficient with a feminine appearance.

One of these measurements is compulsory for registration and the breeder must decide which one. Both measurements should however be taken in order to calculate breeding values in respect of breeding animals.

3. Conformation Traits

The Norms in respect f conformation traits are contained in the inspection policy and the standards of excellence. For the purpose of registration animals must conform to these standards. The following deviations are strongly discriminated against: too large, excessively muscled, poorly muscled, seriously late maturing or too small.

Selection Criteria For Bulls

The selection of bulls rest on Phases A, B, C and D. Phase B is compulsory for all bulls. For AI. Bulls Phase C (FCR) or an intensive Phase D (Kleiber index) is compulsory. For commercial bulls an extensive Phase D test is recommended although Phase B data will suffice. BLUP estimated breeding values are very useful.

1.1 Minimum Standards

ADG/ADC indexes of at least 90 for Phase A, B, C and D. Minimum indexes of 90 are required for feed conversion (Phase C) and Kleiber indexes (Phase D).

1.2 Conformation And Maturing Class

The norms in respect of conformation traits are contained in the inspection policy and standards of excellence. For purposes of registration animals must conform to such standards.

1.3 Reproduction Traits

Scrotal circumference measured in relation to body weight and\or age.
Any morphological deviations are considered disqualifications. Bulls younger than 12 months are measured irrespective of whether they conform in terms of weight. The following minimum standards are applicable in respect of bulls between 12 and 36 months.

Refer to minimum breed standards

1.4 Sheath size and shape

Discriminate against\disqualify for excessive size or abnormality.

Traits To Be Measured By Breeders For The Purpose Of Performance Testing:

2.1 Cow Weight

a) At weaning of calf
b) Within three days after calving*

Optional for the time being, but highly recommended

2.2 Birth Weight Of Calves

2.3 Weight At 1 Year And 18 Months


The aim and objective of any judges' policy is to accomplish conformity with regards to evaluation and standards. The interpretation and application of specific guidelines by the judges must consequently be applied to benefit the race, the animal and the exhibitor.The emphasis must be placed on important economical characteristics, which is founded upon functional efficiency, structural correctness, race- and sex-trueness.

Accordingly, emphasis is placed on the following aspects:


Discrimination against animals displaying any black pigmentation on toe- claws, eyelids, vulva, udder, under the tail, in the ears and nose-mirror, or any deviations from the normal.

Weak sheaths

A Sheath that is not attached to the body neatly, which is floppy and overly long, with an accompanied big opening and a foreskin that constantly hangs out, in other words, a pendulous-sheath or exaggerated low-hanging sheath with a big opening or preputium.


A cow or bull is too big if its size encumbers his/her functional efficiency. Too big and flat animals are unacceptable.

Structional Correctness

Structional correctness is directly related to economic production and an animal's adaptability and therefore merits careful and regular screening and evaluation. The approach of the Charolais Cattle Breeders Society is in accordance with economical production. These characteristics are defined as follows:

Desired Characteristics

  • Broad, strong and wide mouth with wide under-jaw and teeth that locks well against the pillow of the top-jaw.

  • Shoulders that are connected well and gives the animal a free and comfortable gait with the front legs.

  • Sturdy, strong back and lumbar area. Must not be excessively hollow or skew.

  • Long and well-placed ribs for sufficient capacity and salutation.

  • Rump with good length- to ischium. Not too flat due to thurls placed too high.

  • Good width between ischium.

  • Good width between thurls.

  • Strong, dry and sturdy heels with no deviation towards sickle or erectness.

  • Sturdy strong knuckle joints that do not display too upright, stiff or spongy.

  • Claws of sufficient size, compactness, well grounded and deep with an even floor.

  • Front-legs straight with no inclination towards an X-type frame or excessively turned out front claws. Uneven abrasion of the inner claw is usually evidence of structural weakness in the shoulder or front legs.

  • The structure of the legs is of great importance to the Charolais-breed. Animals must have the ability to move freely and easily. Uneven movement of the heels, upright heels, sickle heels, loose knuckle joints and stiff knuckle joints are characteristics that must be guarded against, as it does not contribute to efficient movement.

  • Above-mentioned deviations can lead to serious economic repercussions, especially where the animals must produce under extensive conditions. In such cases the genitalia must be well developed and the testicles must be of even size with no indication of underdevelopment or any other deviations.

  • The female animal's genitalia must be of sufficient size with no signs of underdevelopment or any other deviations.

  • The udder of the female animal must appear as well developed with the quarters of even size, firmly attached at the front, side and back. Malformed teats must be guarded against.

The typical Charolais should therefore be a medium sized animal and must exhibit signs of high fertility and production ability. The animal must possess sufficient muscling, length and width of body, as well as structural correctness.

Undesired Characteristics

  • Weak attachment of front quarter and mesosoma

  • Weak back and loins

  • Too coarse a bone structure

  • Upright heels

  • Knuckle joints too stiff and steep

  • X-frame legs

  • Outward turned front claws, with short knuckle joints as well as inward turned front claws.



Charolais Society
   051 410 0953
  P.O. Box 1225, Bloemfontein, 9300