ABSTRACT The objective was to group and characterize Zebu cattle carcasses according to sex. Data from 15,002 carcasses of cattle raised in the semiarid region of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, were used. The carcass characteristics analyzed were weight, conformation, subcutaneous fat, number of permanent incisor teeth (PIT), and sex (uncastrated males, castrated males, females (up to six PIT), and cows (eight PIT)). Cluster analysis was applied to establish the relationship between sex and carcass characteristics. Four clusters were identified according to sex, and 60% of the total variance in the data set is explained by the clusters. Uncastrated males appear together in a single group (Cluster 1), which demonstrates homogeneity in their carcass characteristics. The heaviest group was Cluster 1. The castrated males appear in three groups, some of them (33.58%) grouped with the majority of cows (92.85%), which indicates that these carcasses did not achieve the quality required by the industry. Another part of the castrated males (41.84%) presented characteristics required by the industry. The females appear in all clusters. Except for uncastrated males and cows, the effect of sex (castrated males and females) on the carcass characteristics of Zebu cattle from the semiarid region of the Minas Gerais does not assure similar characteristics. Therefore, the improvement of carcass quality, using castration as the central grading criterion, should be reviewed not to overemphasize this item.