We previously showed that Staphylococcus aureus cells adhered mainly to an elongated cell type, present in cultures of bovine mammary gland cells. Moreover, we showed that this adhesion was mediated by binding to fibronectin. The same in vitro model was used here, to study adhesion of other important mastitis pathogens. Like the S. aureus strains, the Streptococcus dysgalactiae strains adhered mainly to elongated cells, which seemed to be mediated by fibronectin binding. In contrast, Streptococcus uberis strains adhered mainly to cubic cells. Since the cubic cells did not express fibronectin and S. uberis cells bound fibronectin less efficiently, the adhesion of S. uberis cells was independent of fibronectin binding. Streptococcus agalactiae strains adhered poorly to both cell types. The specificity and efficiency of adhesion of Escherichia coli strains was strongly strain dependent. None of the S. agalactiae and E. coli strains tested was able to bind fibronectin efficiently. The results suggest that the different mastitis pathogens have different target cell specificities and use different mechanisms to adhere to cells of the bovine mammary gland.