Getting Started

It's called a fold of Highland cattle because, in the olden days in winter the cattle were brought together at night in open shelters made of stone called folds to protect them from the weather and wolves.

Who to contact

Contact the Highland Cattle Society for information on Breeders' Clubs and established breeders in your area. Arrange to visit them - you will be welcome - and study their management systems carefully.

The Society has a network of expert Field Officer available on request for practical advice and assistance and Highland Cattle Sales are held throughout the year.

Contact the society and your local vet for advice on a suitable cattle health program.


Assess the suitability of the land you intend to use. Know the acreage and the quality of the grazing - is it good grass land or rough hill pasture - and whether there is adequate shelter and a good water supply. The acreage and the quality of the land will determine how many cattle you can keep and also how much winter feeding you will require. It is vital that you have a holding number from your national department of agriculture. It is mandatory to register the birth of all calves with British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) within 28 days.


It is important you have access to suitable handling facilities - if in doubt please contact a society field officer.

List of Breeders

A list of active breeders can be found in the Breeders Journal.  The information is provided by members. Any person requiring up-to-date information should contact the breeder direct.

Breeders outwith the UK

There is a section in the Highland Cattle Herd Book for the benefit of those members resident outwith United Kingdom. They can register their pedigree Highland Cattle in the normal way but will have to bear the full cost of any fieldsman's inspections required.

Buying Highland Cattle

Cattle purchased at official Society sales are automatically transferred to purchasers who are members and pedigree certificates are issued. It is the vendor's responsibility to transfer animals bought privately using the Society's transfer system.

Official Society show sales are held at Oban, Argyll in February and October and in Chelford in April.

Sale catalogues are available on request from the office and available to download from the website. Sales of Highland Cattle are held elsewhere on occasion: at Stirling, Dingwall, Melton Mowbray, Rugby, Worcester but these are not under the auspices of the Highland Cattle Society.

a) Society Auctions

There are advantages to buying at society auctions, i.e. the selection of cattle of all ages on offer, cows with calves, cows and heifers in calf, young heifers (one and two years old and heifer calves). Young heifers are particularly suitable for first time buyers with little or no experience.

The majority of cattle sold at Society auctions will come from established folds where the cattle on offer should be halter trained and easy to handle.

The Show prior to the sale gives the purchaser an unrivalled opportunity to assess all the stock on offer and determine its suitability. Try to watch the show in the company of an experienced breeder or fieldsman and ask their opinion on the judge's selections. After the show is over, make a list of the cattle you consider most suitable for your purpose and ask the owners anything you might want to know about the cattle they have for sale.

The auctioneers will be able to advise you on the availability of transport.

If you are intending to purchase register with the auction company prior to the start of the sale.

b) Private Sales

You will find many breeders willing to sell cattle privately. Cattle are also advertised on the Society website.

It is best to start with a small number of quality cattle and gain experience as your cattle numbers grow.

Remember: never be afraid to ask for advice or seek the opinion of an experienced breeder or field officer.