Tips for Buying

People buy Highland cattle for many reasons, but at the end of the day you must be happy with what you buy. Often the size of your purse or the size of your paddock will determine what you can look for, or how impatient you are to have ‘the real thing”. So take some time over your decision so that you can sit back and enjoy what you buy. Do your homework beforehand to avoid possible disappointments later.

If you don't know much about the breed, or cattle in general, then ask the advice from someone that does or refer to your Regional Councillor.

Look around before you buy so that you are certain in your own mind what you want, whether the animals are a good example of that particular “Grade“, and whether you are paying a fair price. The cattle for sale page is a good place to look at what is on offer at the time. Don’t buy anything unless you really like it.

Ask to see a Pedigree and Registration Certificate. To be recognised by the NZHCS all cattle born in NZ must be registered in the NZHCS Herdbook.

The Breeder must register their own animals and arrange for the Transfer of ownership. If the animal is not already registered and you want an animal that is registered with the Society then think carefully before buying. Check with the Society to see if it would be eligible for registration and get a written guarantee from the Breeder stating that they will register the animal. Again you can check the registration of an animal online in the Online Herdbook.

Bulls must be assessed by 3 Society Inspectors after the age of 12 months before they are eligible for registration. If you are looking at purchasing a bull then ask to see the Assessment and Registration. If you buy an unregistered bull then you take the risk of it being ineligible for registration.

Check the tattoo/AHB tag number to make sure that it matches the Registration papers. If the animal carries no tattoo or metal AHB Secondary tag with its own unique identification then it is not recognised by the Society.

What the different grades might look like

Grade C (1st cross or 1 generation by reg.sire) animals don't necessarily show much Highland breeding but their progeny usually starts to show the Highland characteristics. They often follow the colours and sometimes the characteristics of the base breed. Females only. No new registrations after 1st June 2002.

Grade B (2nd cross by reg.sires) animals are starting to get the shaggy coats and throw very Highland looking calves. Be wary if they are still showing the characteristics of the base breed eg a white head of a Hereford, the roan colour of a Shorthorn, or being polled. This may mean that this is a strong trait and may be hard to breed out. Females only.

Grade A (3rd cross by reg.sires) animals can look as good as the real thing and their heifer calves (no bulls) can be registered as Purebreds.

Sometimes a Grade A can be an animal that has more than the 3 generations but has been down-graded because it has a broken pedigree or it shows some non-Highland characteristics.

Purebreds (4th cross or more). Any of their offspring, heifers or bulls, may be registered with the Society. Purebreds will also be identified by the amount of purity starting with a ‘P1’ and then going upwards.

Australia and New Zealand are the only 2 Societies that recognise a graded-up system and Purebred cattle.

Fullblood animals should be able to link directly back to only Highland cattle on both sides of the family. They have no other breed of cattle in their backgrounds. These cattle are identified by an ‘F’ in the Register.

For information on the Society's System for Grading Cattle - Click Here