A compulsory eradication programme for bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV1) was implemented in the Netherlands in 1998. At the start of the programme, about 25% of the dairy herds were certified BHV1-free. Simulation models have played an important role in the decision-making process associated with BHV1 eradication. Our objective in this study was to improve understanding of model behaviour (as part of internal validation) regarding loss by herds of the BHV1-free certificate. Using a Cox proportional hazards model, the association between farm characteristics and the risk of certificate loss during simulation was quantified. The overall fraction of herds experiencing certificate loss amongst initially certified during simulation was 3.0% in 6.5 years. Factors that increased risk for earlier certificate loss in the final multivariable Cox model were higher 'yearly number of cattle purchased', 'farm density within a 1 km radius' and 'cattle density within a 1 km radius'. Qualitative behaviour of risk factors we found agreed with observations in field studies.