Due to their close proximity to the mammary gland tissue, the bacterial communities lining the teat apex of the udders from lactating cows influence udder health. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the amplified V3 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene was used as a culture-independent method to reveal the bacterial composition of 48 samples originating from the teat apices of twelve Friesian-Holstein dairy cows suffering from clinical mastitis in one quarter. The microbiota belonged to four bacterial phyla: the Actinobacteria (32% of all genera), the Bacteroidetes (1%), the Firmicutes (42%), and the Proteobacteria (25%), encompassing 17 bacterial genera. Some differences in occurrence of these genera were seen when comparing quarters that were non-infected (n=22), subclinically infected (n=14), or clinically infected (n=12). Besides commensal skin-associated bacteria, opportunistic pathogenic bacteria, and mastitis-causing pathogens were found as well. The species diversity varied considerably among the most prevalent bacterial genera. While Corynebacterium and Staphylococcus displayed a large diversity among the recovered sequences, indicating the possible presence of a variety of different species, only a single bacterial species (represented by one sequence) was obtained for the genera Aerococcus, Acinetobacter, and Psychrobacter. In conclusion, introducing culture-independent analysis of teat apical skin swabs in mastitis research revealed an unexpected wide bacterial diversity, with variations between quarters with a different clinical status. In addition to potential mastitis-causing pathogens, it exposed the yet poorly mapped presence of skin-associated and other bacteria residing in close proximity to the mammary gland tissue. PCR-DGGE may thus be considered as a useful tool for the entanglement of animal skin microbiota, in casu the teat apices of dairy cows.