Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) have become the most common bovine mastitis isolate in many countries and could therefore be described as emerging mastitis pathogens. The prevalence of CNS mastitis is higher in primiparous cows than in older cows. CNS are not as pathogenic as the other principal mastitis pathogens and infection mostly remains subclinical. However, CNS can cause persistent infections, which result in increased milk somatic cell count (SCC) and decreased milk quality. CNS infection can damage udder tissue and lead to decreased milk production. Staphylococcus simulans and Staphylococcus chromogenes are currently the predominant CNS species in bovine mastitis. S. chromogenes is the major CNS species affecting nulliparous and primiparous cows whereas S. simulans has been isolated more frequently from older cows. Multiparous cows generally become infected with CNS during later lactation whereas primiparous cows develop infection before or shortly after calving. CNS mastitis is not a therapeutic problem as cure rates after antimicrobial treatment are usually high. Based on current knowledge, it is difficult to determine whether CNS species behave as contagious or environmental pathogens. Control measures against contagious mastitis pathogens, such as post-milking teat disinfection, reduce CNS infections in the herd. Phenotypic methods for identification of CNS are not sufficiently reliable, and molecular methods may soon replace them. Knowledge of the CNS species involved in bovine mastitis is limited. The dairy industry would benefit from more research on the epidemiology of CNS mastitis and more reliable methods for species identification.