Use of the point-score system for breeding soundness examination in yearling Dorset, Hampshire and Suffolk rams

W. B. Ley, D. J. Sprecher, C. D. Thatcher, K. D. Pelzer, S. H. Umberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Performance tests were conducted on 583 purebred Dorset, Hampshire and Suffolk yearling rams at the Virginia Ram Test Station from 1986 to 1989. Birth dates at entry and weights (lbs) at entry and end-of-test were recorded for each ram. Entry and exit scrotal circumference (SC; cm) data were recorded for each year of the study. Breeding soundness examination (BSE) data at entry were obtained for only the last two years (1988-1989). The BSE followed the basic format recommended by the Society for Theriogenology. The number of seminal white blood cells per (100x) microscope field (WBC/LPF) were also recorded for each ram's ejaculate. Classification of rams into breeding groups (satisfactory, questionable and unsatisfactory) were made using a point-scale system based upon values obtained from SC, sperm motility and morphology assessments. Between-breed differences were noted for age at entry to the test station, weight per day of age, final weight at the end of the test period and average daily gain. Suffolk rams were younger in age (P≤0.01) than Dorset and Hampshire rams, but grew faster and heavier (P≤0.01). Between-breed differences were also noted for values within the point-score BSE system: Dorset ram sperm motility (P<0.05) and morphology scores (P<0.01) were higher than those for Suffolk rams. The number of Dorset, Hampshire and Suffolk rams classified as satisfactory, questionable or unsatisfactory potential breeders by the BSE method did not differ (P>0.05). Overall the percentage of rams classified as unsatisfactory, questionable and satisfactory was 11.8, 16.5 and 71.7, respectively. Rams with more than 10 WBC/LPF had significantly smaller SC at entry (P<0.01) than rams with less than 10 WBC/LPF. Most of the differences (75%) in BSE scores in this study were contributed by differences in semen quality (spermatozoal motility and morphology) not by differences in SC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-733
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • breed
  • breeding soundness
  • point-score
  • ram
  • scrotal circumference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of the point-score system for breeding soundness examination in yearling Dorset, Hampshire and Suffolk rams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this