BAIRNSLEY  HIGHLANDS

THE AUSTRALIAN BREED STANDARD

The following is reproduced from the first Australian Highland Cattle Herd Book and was written by members of the Australian Highland Cattle Society in February, 1994. 

"TypeNeila Og of Bairnsley (4450)
The animal should be of good length, depth and elevation, with neck long enough to give the head a good lift. The head, horns, neck, body, hindquarters and legs should be in perfect balance. On the move the Highlander should show plenty of style, character and quality and look as if it is 'going places'.

Head
It should be proportionate to the body of the animal, and broad between the eyes, while short from the eyes to the point of the muzzle. The hair between the horns, known as the dossan, should be wide, long - reaching to the muzzle - and thick. The eyes should be bright and clear. The muzzle must be broad with large distending nostrils.

Strong under-jaw with teeth meeting the upper pad evenly, (not over or under shot).

The ears should be symmetrical and well formed. Any cropping of the ear is undesirable.

Horns
The horns in bulls should be strong, but not too heavy (heavy horns are undesirable), and come out of the head level, curving slightly forward. They should not emerge from the horn base at an upward angle. Above all, the head and horns of a bull must give the impression of strength and masculinity.

The horns of the cows take a number of different shapes, but in general must be slightly lighter than the bulls. Coming out of the head more or less horizontally, they should not curve downwards too much before rising, and fining down considerably about six inches from the tip and up to the end of the horn denoting femininity.

In the case of both cow and bull the horns should be symmetrical.

Neck
Should be of good length, allowing for natural lift to the head. A bull should show masculinity but this development should not be excessive at an early age. The throat and neck should be clean-cut without excess skin. The brisket should not be excessive or too fatty.

Body and Hindquarters
From the shoulder back, the top of the animal should be straight, with no hollows, and as wide as possible – particularly between the hooks, or hips, and should not be too hard, which indicates bone on which no flesh will develop. It should not be narrow over the heart, ie, behind the shoulders, nor should the shoulders be too prominent.

The body should be long and proportionately long from the hook to the tail end of the spine in relation to good length from shoulder to hook. It is important that there should be no sloping of the spine from the hooks back to the tail end of the spine, it should be level and the tail set in smoothly to the body, not creating a knob or lump.

On either side of the tail end of the spine are the plates, and these should be well filled out so that there is no hollow. There should be a good follow through from hooks to pins, the latter being well set up and wide. The animal must not be flat sided so the ribs need to be well sprung. The thighs should be well developed and be as full as possible.

Finally, when viewed from the rear, the body should not appear to be split up to any great height by the legs, and the hindquarters should appear fairly square. When viewed from the side, the body should appear rectangular.

Legs
The legs should be sturdy and straight with good bone and a good covering of hair, and the animal should be seen to be walking freely and easily, the legs not brushing against each other but set well outside the body.

The four legs should each be placed at a corner of the body, the front ones straight when seen from the front or side and well apart; the back ones straight when seen from the back, and equally as well apart as the front, but slightly hooked when seen from the side. If hooked too much it becomes a ‘sickle’ hock, which is most undesirable, as are all structural faults. When viewed from the side of the animal the back of the hock should be in line with the pin bone on the same side.

The legs should lead down into well-set and large even hoofs, and when on the move the hind feet should step into the tracks made by the front feet for perfect traction.

Hair Regan of Bairnsley (5521)
Highland cattle have two coats of hair. The outer coat is long and strong and is presumably meant by nature to keep the winter weather away from their skin. The undercoat is soft and fluffy to keep their bodies warm. This undercoat does not grow long to renew the outer coat, but each coat is separately renewed.

The Australian Highland Cattle Society’s official Highland coat colours range from black through brindle, dun, red, yellow and white. No colour is genetically dominant.

Sheath and Scrotum
Bulls’ sheaths should not be loose or pendulous. The scrotum should contain two testicles well let down of good and even size.

Udder
The udder on females should not be fleshy, coming well forward in line with the body and well up behind, with four teats placed well apart and of even moderate size."