This study examined the impact of cow body condition on the quality of bovine preimplantation embryos. The embryos (n = 107) were flushed from dairy cows and classified according to a five-point scale body condition score (BCS2 n = 17; BCS3 n = 31; BCS4 n = 11) on the 7th day after insemination and then analyzed for development, dead cell index (DCI), cell number and actin cytoskeleton quality. The highest embryo recovery rate (P < 0.05) was recorded in the BCS3 group and the lowest in the BCS4 group. More transferable (morula, blastocyst) embryos were obtained from the BCS4 cows (79%), compared with the BCS2 (64%) or BCS3 (63%) animals. However, cell numbers were higher in the BCS2 and BCS3 groups (P < 0.05) compared with the BCS4 embryos. Conversely, the DCI was lowest in the BCS2 (3.88%; P < 0.05) and highest in the BCS4 (6.56%) embryos. The proportion of embryos with the best actin quality (grade I) was higher in the BCS2 and BCS3 cows compared with the BCS4 group. Almost 25% of all embryos showed fragmented morphology and a higher DCI (5.65%) than normal morulas (1.76%). More fragmented embryos were revealed in the BCS2 (28.6%) and BCS4 (31.25%) groups, and less (19.15%) in the BCS3 group. The cell numbers in such embryos were lower in the BCS4 (22.57) than in the BCS2 (46.25) or BCS3 (42.4) groups. In conclusion, the body condition of dairy cows affects the quality of preimplantation embryos. A BCS over 3.0 resulted in a higher incidence of poor (fragmented) embryos.