​What is a breeding plan?
by Tazara McClanaghan & Naomi De Ruiter

As many know the Miniature Jersey is a relatively new breed created by crossing standard Jerseys with smaller cattle breeds, such as Dexters and Lowlines.

Many Canadian breeders have either imported Miniature Jersey breeding stock from the US or crossed standard Jerseys with Dexter, Lowline, or Miniature Jersey bulls to 'downsize' their genetics.

Our goal at the Canadian Miniature Jersey Association is to see the Miniature Jersey breed continue to grow and develop in Canada, so we prepared a breeding plan with progressive requirements to help guide breeders in the process of downsizing their standard Jerseys.

There are five steps to the breeding plan: base animal > F1 cross > F2 cross > F3 cross > F4 cross > full mini.

The only breeds accepted by the CMJA as Base animals are standard Jersey, Dexter, and Lowline.
When we breed two base animals, the calf will be an F1 cross. For an F1 animal to qualify for registration within the Association, they must remain under 46" when measured to the top of the hip at maturity (3+ years of age) but not be shorter than 36" (cows) or 38" (bulls).

When bred with a full mini Miniature Jersey bull, the F1's offspring will be an F2 cross. By now, we should see an obvious Jersey influence in appearance: a mealy-white muzzle, dished face, black hooves, and a switch that is black, white, or a mixture of the two.

At the F3 level, we no longer want to see solid black or brindled animals and no pink eye pigment or noses.

The final step in the breeding plan is the F4 cross. These animals must be easily recognized as Miniature Jersey by appearance. Miniature cows must be under 44", and mid-size miniature cows must be under 46" when measured to the top of the hip at 3+ years of age.

Both males and females can be registered at any F-step, however, males must meet ALL breed requirements at each level.
Calves may be registered no more than one level higher than the lowest-scoring parent. Here are some examples:
  • If a Dexter, Lowline, or standard Jersey cow (a base animal) is bred with an F4 Miniature Jersey bull, the offspring will be registered as an F1.
  • If an F3 Miniature Jersey cow is bred with a Dexter bull (a base animal), the calf can be registered no higher than an F1.
  • If F1 and F4 Miniature Jerseys are mated, the resulting offspring can be registered as an F2.
  • If two F2's are bred together, the calf would be registered as an F3.
In addition, animals must meet the following progressive requirements to be registered within the Canadian Miniature Jersey Association:
  1. Animals registered as an F1 cross must be under 46" and above 36" when measured to the top of the hip at 3 years of age.
  2. In addition to meeting the F1 height requirements, animals registered as an F2 cross must also have a dished face with a mealy muzzle, black hooves, a black or white switch, and an obvious Jersey appearance.
  3. An animal registered as an F3 cross must meet all previous requirements, and also exhibit a black nose and black pigment around the eyes, with no brindle or black animals allowed (dark mulberry is permitted).
  4. When registered as an F4 cross, animals must have a small, smooth dairy frame that is easily recognized as a Miniature Jersey. Cows must be under 46" and above 36" when measured to the top of the hip at 3 years of age, while bulls must be under 46" and above 38".
Animals registered as Full minis must meet all breed requirements, which are outlined on the Breed Requirements page

So what happens when a calf is born that doesn't meet the progressive breed requirements? For example, let's say we breed an F2 cow with an F4 Miniature Jersey bull, but the calf is born with a pink nose or eye pigment. This disqualifies it from being registered as an F3, but it could still be registered one step down as an F2.

Or let's say a calf from two F4 parents is born, but measures taller than 46" to the top of the hip when height verified at 3 years of age. The animal would no longer qualify for registration as a full mini but would be registered as a base animal instead.
Canadian Miniature Jersey Association
Box 565
Spirit River, AB
T0H 3G0