Foot and Leg Scoring
The AGA Foot and Leg Scoring Rubric provides breeders with a resource to accurately describe the variation that exists in their herds. Allowing breeders to better select and evaluate the traits of: Foot Angle, Claw Shape, and Rear Leg Side View. Breeders who desire to improve foot and leg quality can use the scoring system and guidelines to annually evaluate their herd.
Foot and Leg Traits
Hoof Angle– Hoof angle is measured as the degree of angularity from the toe and the base of the foot to the base of the coronary band and hair line. Heel depth plays a significant role in hoof angle. A score on the low end of the scale represents an extremely straight and rigid pastern and hoof, where a score on the high end represents an extremely shallow heel and long claw, which is commonly associated with weak pasterns.
Claw Shape- Claw shape is described by the relative size and curvature of the claws/toes on an individual foot, where the distance between claws serves to indicate the level of divergence. A score on the low end of the scale represents an extremely open and divergent claw set, where a score on the high end represents an extreme scissor or corkscrew claw with noticeable curling of one or both claws.
Hock Set- Hock Set is described as the degree of angularity from the stifle to the hock and down to the pastern. A score on the low end of the scale represents an extremely straight and post legged animal with little to no angle or set to the hock. A score on the high end of the scale represents an extreme amount of set or angle to the hock and the animal is sickle hocked.
Animals are to be evaluated while they are standing still, allowing a clear and unobstructed view of the animal’s feet and legs. To ensure an accurate observation is recorded, animals should be on dry, hard, and level ground. Animals should not be evaluated in a chute or restraint that compromises the natural weight distribution of the animal.
At yearling age, bulls and heifers should have their scores collected with all animals in the contemporary group being evaluated. Mature cows and bulls can be evaluated annually when mature weights, mature heights, or body condition scores are collected. The contemporary group for foot and leg score is a group of yearling animals of the same sex, similar age, and have been raised in the same management group.
All three measurements use a scoring range from 1-9 with a score of 5 considered ideal. Scores 4 and 6 show slight variation from ideal but are considered acceptable. Scores 3 and 7 show greater variation from ideal and less acceptable for seedstock operations. Scores 2 and 8 should be considered as possible cull animals. Scores 1 and 9 are definite cull animals.
Download the Foot and Leg Scoring Rubric
Though not required, scores recorded per the suggested measurements can voluntarily be sent to the AGA to contribute to ongoing research.
Download the Foot and Leg Scoring Form (Excel)
Download the Foot and Leg Scoring Form (PDF)