One hundred and seven bovine isolates of penicillin and tetracycline resistant Staphylococcus aureus, recovered from 25 different dairy herds in various parts of Norway, were characterized using antimicrobial susceptibility testing, multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, ribotyping, plasmid analysis and serotyping of capsular polysaccharide. Forty-one isolates from one particular herd, 37 isolates from 5 herds that used a common pasture and milking parlour in summer and 21 isolates from 12 herds in 8 different counties belonged to the same strain. The remaining 8 isolates, which originated from herds in 5 different counties, were assigned to 6 different strains. Seven out of these 8 isolates had the same plasmid restriction profile. In conclusion, penicillin and tetracycline resistant S. aureus occurring in dairy herds in Norway mainly seems to represent one particular strain that has achieved widespread distribution or belong to one of several different strains carrying identical plasmids.