Is my Jersey purebred?

Are you concerned about making sure your Jersey is purebred and/or to breed her to purebred Jersey bulls? AJCA has done an excellent job updating the rules of registration. Look out for a few key things ({1} and JX and BBR) to ensure the best bloodline selections!

WHAT HAPPENED? The American Jersey Cattle Association recently updated and changed programs denoting registration status of Jersey cattle in the United States. You can read more about that program here: AJCA Pedigree Recording & Registy Status

WHAT YOU NEED: To find out the status of a particular Jersey animal, you will need either a registration paper, bull proof, or other document showing certain information as described below.

WHERE TO FIND IT: An extended pedigree can be found by searching the AJCA database (for AJCA members only, access to all registered Jerseys: InfoJersey) or Canadian Dairy Network (Access to sire/dam information of AI bulls – Animal Query). Bull proofs can be easily found by searching online or viewing through semen companies such as Semex, Select Sires, etc.


View of CDN website – note some bulls have the correct number but some older animals were not updated when the new system was implemented, so InfoJersey or current bull proofs from AI companies are the sources of more accurate information.

If you want to have 100% Jersey genetics, watch for these things in the pedigree of the Jersey in question (and ancestors as many generations back as you can go!):

1) Avoid animals with a number after their name, it looks like this:


and will be a 1 through a 6. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are not considered registered.

Example of a bull listed as a Jersey bull on an Active AI list from a semen company that has a number behind his name. Unfortunately, there are many bulls like this in AI currently and they are not clearly marked whether or not they are cross-bred unless you know what to look for. Note here: this bull has a # after his name AND JX before his name, indicating “Jersey Cross”

Numbers 4, 5, and 6 are considered registered (but may or may not be purebred. Could be a case of a Jersey that was unregistered, or a crossbred, which leads to the next things to watch out for: BBR & JX.)

“The gold-bordered Certificate of Identification is issued to animals recorded at generation Counts 1, 2 and 3. Generation Count 4, 5 and 6 animals are issued the green-bordered Certificate of Registration.”                    – from AJCA ID Summary

2) Avoid animals with a BBR or ancestors of that animal with a BBR under 100.

BBR is Breed Base Representation and is a marker of genetics – 100 basically means 100% Jersey genetics. Genotyping is not a perfect process, but having animals listed as 100 gives good assurance the animal is purebred.

rosita pedigree
View of online pedigree through InfoJersey – note circles. Red=BBR, Green – JH1/2 status of sire

3) Avoid animals with a UR in the name or JX prefix before the registered name:

UR = unregistered, which is seen fairly often in very old pedigrees – such as in the case of a cow being bred to a really old sire, you may find that a few generations back there are some or many UR or unknown sire/dams in the genetics. In old genetics, this is often because Jerseys were unregistered and someone wanted to register their cows, so they had to start somewhere. In modern cases, this can be the same issue – a previously unregistered Jersey or group of Jerseys that the owner wants to build value on so they start at ground zero and begin the registration process with their cows. Read the AJCA pamphlet for further detail.

JX indicates “Jersey Cross” meaning the animal has known non-Jersey genetics in their pedigree. Avoid JX at all cost, whereas UR is less of an issue as the parentage may all still be purebred.

Things to note: Jx  & BBR 74  & JH1C  & {2}

4) Avoid genetic abnormalities by limiting or eliminating “carrier” status of animals if possible. The Jersey cow has relatively few genetic issues within the breed (praise God!) but there are a few to be aware of. Note if an animal is considered a carrier, this does not mean they will necessarily ever show signs of the problems. If your animal is a carrier, you can easily avoid problems in the offspring by limiting your sire selection to only non-carriers (either animals with no noted status or noted as “free” of this trait).

Older abnormalities such as LL (Limber Legs) or RVC (Rectovaginal
Constriction) that are very rare to see (unless older genetics are used by breeding to a certain few early AI sires from the 50’s or 60’s. Most were weeded out quickly.)

Newer abnormalities to watch out for: JH1 and JH2 (Jersey Halotype) – Jersey sires will be noted as either JH1 and JH2 C or F – C=carrier, F=free

Avoid Jerseys with sires that are JH1C and/or JH2C. If the sire of your Jersey cow is a carrier, just be sure to breed your cow to non-carriers (aka: “free”).

In Conclusion:


  1. Numbers at end of name that look like this: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} indicating unregistered or non-Jersey parentage
  2. BBR under 100 (esp. if under 90) indicating non-Jersey-breed genetics
  3. Registration name that includes UR or JX to indicate unregistered or jersey cross
  4. positive carrier status for LL, RVC, JH1C or JH2C (JH1F and JH2F are good, they are “Free” and not carriers)

If this has totally overwhelmed you and you just want to pick out a good Jersey bull to breed your cow(s) to (as of Sept 2017), here are some suggestions: 🙂


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