AMERICAN HIGHLAND CATTLE ASSOCIATION
Rev. July 18, 2023
I. Registration of FULLBLOOD BREEDING CATTLE. The
following rules shall govern eligibility for registration of fullblood Highland
animals in the AHCA Herdbook. Owners of an animal to be registered must be
members of the American Highland Cattle Association.
Fullblood shall mean Highland cattle of genotypic purity. It includes animals meeting the requirements for
registration of Section B of this article.
1) All DNA
typing must be done by a laboratory designated by AHCA and at a fee set by
must meet the following requirements to be eligible for entry into the AHCA
born in the US which are the progeny of animals registered in the Herdbook.
born in the US to a dam registered in the AHCA Herdbook but served naturally or
artificially in a foreign country, if proof is provided that the sire is
eligible for entry into the AHCA Herdbook.
which have been imported into the US and
a. are registered in the Canadian
HCS Herdbook or
b. are registered in the UK HCS
Herdbook proper with no ancestors registered in a grading-up appendix to the
Herdbook proper of the Highland Cattle Society since January 1, 1994. Additionally,
the animal and all its ancestors in a five generation pedigree must be properly
registered in the herdbook of their country of origin.
4) All bulls being registered must be DNA typed
prior to registration.
5) In the case
of animals two years of age or older, the breeder must provide satisfactory
proof of parentage to AHCA. This proof requires the DNA test of the individual
to be registered and its sire and dam.
Animals born in the US which are the result of artificial insemination,
provided that the AHCA rules for AI are followed and any imported semen meets
the requirements for animals as specified in paragraph 3) above and the bull
that is the source of the semen is registered in the AHCA Herdbook.
produced by the transfer of embryos or fertilized ova from cow to cow, provided
that the AHCA rules for embryo transplant are followed and any imported embryos
meet the requirements for animals as specified in sections I. B & D.
reserves the right to require parental verification by DNA typing of any
animal, regardless of its registration status, if its parentage should be in
doubt. Parental verification may require that all possible parents, as well as
the animal in dispute, be DNA typed and shall be at the breeder’s expense and
at a laboratory and at a fee designated by AHCA.
registered offspring resulting from matings wherein the dam was exposed to more
than one (1) sire over eight (8) months of age at the same time, whether by
natural or artificial mating; must be DNA typed for sire verification. Sire
verification requires that all possible sires, the animal in dispute and
potentially the dam, be DNA typed. Parental verification shall be done at the
breeder’s expense at a laboratory and at a fee designated by AHCA.
Cryptorchid (failure of one or both testicles to fully descend into the
scrotum) bulls may not be registered, shown or used as a sire for registered
11) Cloned animals
may not be registered.
12) Postmortem animals may not be registered.
the foregoing, the Board of Directors of AHCA may, in its discretion and by
exception, authorize the registration of an animal imported into the US from
any country if satisfactory proof is made of its fullblood status.
shall be restricted to cattle with these colors – black, brindle, red, dun,
silver, yellow, white and parti-color. Only parti-color females may be
registered, no bulls, and these animals must be DNA tested for parentage.
Additionally, parti-colored animals may not be shown at AHCA sanctioned shows.
E. AHCA may
reject any registration request that uses herd or animal names or markings it
deems confusing, over-lengthy or otherwise inappropriate. Markings i.e.
tattoos, must be the assigned tattoo of the farm or ranch of birth and the name
of the animal should not reflect a farm or ranch name other than the one of
birth of the animal.
F. This rule
shall have force and effect on the date of its approval by the Board on January
the rules and procedures listed above, the Board of Directors of AHCA may, in
its discretion and by exception, authorize the registration of an animal that
could not comply with the AHCA rules and procedures due to extenuating
circumstances, if satisfactory proof is made of the extenuating circumstances, and
of its pedigree and fullblood status.
H. When a bred
cow is transferred who has been exposed to multiple bulls at the same time, all
potential sires must be DNA typed at the seller’s expense prior to the transfer
being processed by AHCA. The resulting calf will need to be parent verified
through DNA typing to be registered.
I. All DNA
typing must be done by a laboratory designated by AHCA and at a fee set by
registered Highland cattle owners are required to follow AHCA’s updated Policies on Registrations &
Transfers. AHCA members and registered Highland cattle owners have a duty to
inform AHCA of issues that impact their ownership of registered Highland cattle
including divorce (threatened, pending or final), death or changes to corporate
entities which hold title. See updated
Policies on Registrations & Transfers.
requires signatures on transfer applications from all non-member owners who are
selling or transferring registered Highland cattle (i.e. John and Jane Doe
listed as owners so both need to sign since they are non-members).
II. REGISTRATION OF SOVEREIGN (CROSSBRED) BREEDING CATTLE
& STEERS. The following rules
shall govern eligibility for registration of Highland crossbred animals in the Sovereign
Registry. Owners of an animal to be registered must be members of the American
Highland Cattle Association.
Sovereign shall refer to a Highland crossbred animal which has no less than
one parent being registered with AHCA as either a fullblood Highland or Sovereign
and whose lineage is no more than 75% and no less than 25% Highland blood.
Additionally all animals must meet the requirements as specified in section I.
B 4-12, E, G-K.
B. Animals must additionally meet the
following requirements to be eligible for entry into the Sovereign Registry:
The non-Highland parent must be of Bos Taurus beef
breed origin (no dairy, Brahma or Zebu) and the breed type indicated on the
registration application (i.e. dam: AHCA registration #, sire: commercial Angus
or registered Angus or Shorthorn x Angus).
The animal must have a 205 day weaning weight of at
least 450#. Additional
performance data is encouraged.
Animals must be either polled, scurred
or properly dehorned and indicated as such on the registration
bulls being registered must be DNA typed and genetic
defect status on file prior to registration.
AI sires and donor dams
are required to have a DNA type and genetic defect status on file with AHCA.
All AI and ET calves
must be DNA typed prior to registration.
All DNA typing must be
done by a laboratory designated by and at a fee set by AHCA.
Registration fees are the same as the AHCA Herdbook.
It is important to note this is not a breeding up
program and the Sovereign Registry is
entirely separate from the AHCA Herdbook (fullblood registry). The registration
papers look different and state the animal is a crossbred.
III. REGISTRATION OF FULLBLOOD MARKET CATTLE (STEERS &
HEIFERS). The following rules shall
govern eligibility for registration of fullblood Highland market cattle for the
purpose of exhibition. Owners of an animal to be registered must be members of
the American Highland Cattle Association.
Fullblood market cattle shall mean Highland cattle, either steers or heifers, of
genotypic purity. It includes animals meeting the requirements for registration
of section B of this article.
B. Animals must meet the following
requirements to be eligible for registration as market cattle:
Animals born in the US which are progeny of animals
registered in the Herdbook.
Steers and market heifers are eligible for
Animals must meet
the requirements as specified in sections I. B 5, 8 & 9.
REGISTRATION OF CROSSBRED MARKET CATTLE
(STEERS & HEIFERS). The following rules shall govern the
eligibility for registration of crossbred Highland market cattle for the
purpose of exhibition. Owners of an animal to be registered must be members of
the American Highland Cattle Association.
A. Definition: Crossbred market cattle shall mean one
parent must be a registered Highland. It includes animals meeting the
requirements for registration of section B of this article.
must meet the following requirements to be eligible for registration as market
Animals with one parent registered in the AHCA Herdbook
and the other parent MUST be a beef breed type and the breed type indicated on
the application (i.e. dam: AHCA registration #, sire: commercial Angus or
registered Angus or Shorthorn x Angus).
Steers and market heifers are eligible.
Animals must meet the requirements as specified in
sections I. B 5, 8 & 9.
V. Affiliated Associations. The
American Highland Cattle Association encourages the formation of regional Highland
associations to promote the breed, facilitate marketing in local areas and
foster fellowship among Highland breeders. A state or regional group wishing to
form a local association and affiliate may do so by obtaining approval of
AHCA's Board, paying such fee as the Board shall require and by following these
will be required to hold membership in the American Highland Cattle Association
for the purpose of registering cattle.
Eligible persons wishing to join a regional association
who are not members of AHCA may do so as an associate member.
associate (non-voting) membership is intended for informational and fellowship
purposes only. It shall not qualify for board representation as stated in
Section V. C.
B. All registrations and transfers will be
handled through the AHCA.
C. A regional association may elect a
representative, who must be a member of both the regional association and AHCA in good standing, to serve on the AHCA Board of Directors. The regional director shall serve for a three year term for a maximum of two consecutive terms. The regional director's terms shall coincide with the AHCA director terms on a calendar year. The regional board shall notify AHCA in writing, and provide a copy of the membership minutes, of its elected representative.
D. The nine regional associations with the highest AHCA membership will have voting
rights on the Board. Other regional associations may have input in board
proceedings but no vote on board actions.
E. Regional associations must comply with
all AHCA rules, regulations, by-laws and rulings. In the event of a conflict,
the decisions of the AHCA Board shall prevail.
F. Failure to comply with these requirements
may result in the regional association being terminated by the AHCA Board if it
determines that doing so is in the best interest of its membership.
VI. Marking. All animals registered
shall first be properly marked, with markings described on the registry
application. Each owner shall have an AHCA-approved herd designation of 1, 2 or
3 letters, and these plus the year of birth (number of the year or the letter
equivalent assigned by AHCA) and the unique number of the animal shall be
tattooed in the ear(s). AHCA recommends this order of placement:
herd designation + unique number + year.
Examples: WY14K = animal
number 14 born on WY ranch in 2021
FE1421 = animal number 14 born on FE ranch in 2021
AHCA recommends placing the entire tattoo in the left ear.
A. If an
animal has a tattoo that has the correct digits but is partially unreadable,
that animal must be re-tattooed by the owner (either current or original) in a
different lobe of the ear. You must contact AHCA for registration paper
correction. If an animal is found to have been tattooed in the wrong ear, AHCA
must also be notified for a correction to be made on the registration paper.
B. If an animal has either no
tattoo or the incorrect tattoo, then the original owner (owner of the dam at
the time she calved) must notify AHCA in writing. At AHCA’s discretion, that
animal may be subject to DNA testing if the parentage is in doubt. Once the
animal’s pedigree is verified then the animal may be tattooed or re-tattooed
and the papers changed to reflect the proper tattoo. The current owner may be
the person to do the new tattoo. You must contact AHCA for registration paper
C. In the event the inspection
of a tattoo by a person authorized by AHCA reveals that a tattoo is illegible
or not in conformity with the registration, the animal shall be barred from
exhibition and/or sale and a written report made to the office of AHCA by such
representative for action to be taken as described as in A or B above.
to and continuation of membership shall be conditioned on prompt payment of
dues and other fees owing AHCA. AHCA reserves the right to reject membership
applications if the Board determines this to be in the best interest of the
B. Whenever it
is brought to the attention of the Board that a member has failed to comply
with the articles, by-laws or these rules, or has failed to pay sums due AHCA,
or has failed to follow recognized principles of good breeding practice, or has
submitted a false application for registration or transfer of animals or has in
any way acted in a manner injurious to the AHCA, its members or third persons,
the Board may require that member to respond to charges. If the member does so
and requests a hearing, the Board shall permit the member to appear at the next
board meeting or, alternatively, shall set a hearing before one or more persons
appointed by the President. At such meeting or hearing the Board or the hearing
member or members may hear and receive such information as they deem relevant.
If the Board concludes, after such meeting or after report of such hearing,
that the member has acted in such a manner as to justify Board sanctions, the
Board may suspend all or some portion of the member's membership privileges or
take such other action as it deems proper, including expulsion from membership.
A. All bulls which are the source of
semen for the purpose of artificial insemination must be DNA typed by a
laboratory and at a fee set by the Association. A record of their DNA types
must be filed with the Association before calves sired by such bulls shall be
eligible for registration.
B. Each straw of semen must be
identified and permanently labeled before freezing. Identity must include the
registered name and registration number of the bull for the resulting calves to
be eligible for registration.
C. Registration of calves produced by
artificial insemination: Animals resulting from artificial insemination are
eligible for registration in the Herdbook provided that:
1) the dam
and, except in the case of artificial insemination where the semen was imported
into the U.S. prior to the coming into force of this provision, the sire have
been registered in the Herdbook; and,
2) All AI calves must be DNA typed prior to registration.
Transplant. The following requirements shall apply to registration
of calves resulting from embryo transplant:
A. The sire must be DNA typed by a
laboratory and at a fee set by AHCA.
B. The embryo transplant donor dam must
be DNA typed by a laboratory and at a fee set by AHCA.
C. DNA typing of the recipient dam may
be required by the Association if the DNA typing analysis of the calf is
inconsistent. If the recipient dam is DNA typed and cannot be excluded as the
dam, the determination of eligibility for registration shall be made by the
Association after considering DNA typing data as well as other available
D. DNA typing of the embryo transplant
calf is required by the Association. It must be done by a laboratory designated
by AHCA and at a fee set by AHCA.
E. In the case of embryos collected
outside the United States, the genetic sire and dam must be eligible for
registration in the Herdbook as defined in I. B. 3 above.
F. The owner of record of the donor dam
at the time of conception must be identified as the breeder.
G. The owner of record of the donor dam
at the time of conception will be identified as the first owner, unless the
calf is the result of a purchased embryo or a pregnant recipient in which case
the owner of the embryo or pregnant recipient may be identified as the first
H. Registration of embryo transplant
offspring shall be made on the regular registration form at the regular
registration fee plus an additional fee as determined by the AHCA Board of
Directors. Each application must be accompanied by the "AHCA Certification
of Breeding and Embryo Transplant" executed by the embryo transplant firm.
I. Calves conceived after the death of
a donor cow shall be eligible for registration provided the owner of record of
the donor cow notifies the Association in writing of the date of death and the
number of embryos in storage. Providing the cow is DNA typed and this rule is
followed there is no time limit on the use of the embryos after death.
J. Registration certificates issued to
offspring of embryo transplants shall be so designated.
X. Dues. Dues shall be as determined
by the Board of Directors for annual memberships and for such other
categories as the Board may determine. Those with existing life memberships may be asked to make a
XI. National Shows and Sales. The Board
may from time to time designate a National Show and/or Sale. Rules for such
shows and sales shall be adopted by the Board. Roll of Excellence (ROE)
participants must follow the IAFE National Code of Show Ring Ethics.
AHCA makes no warranty whatsoever regarding the accuracy of the data
published in its Herdbook. Each person who seeks registration/transfer warrants
the accuracy of the information supplied to AHCA relating thereto. AHCA
expressly denies that it performs any independent research as to accuracy of
information supplied to it.
XIII. Obligations. No
person is authorized to incur obligations for AHCA, or extend any sums
belonging to AHCA, outside of the budget as adopted by and approved by the
Board or allowed by the current by-laws or unless the Board specifically authorizes such obligation or
expenditure. Amounts allocated to items within the budget of a program may,
however, be modified by the program chairman for that program, upon obtaining
approval from the Finance Committee, as long as the total program cost is not
XIV. MEMBERSHIP. To be a voting member of AHCA a person or entity must
comply with the following: be a member in good standing as earlier defined in VII B; own or have previously owned fullblood Highland cattle
registered with AHCA or be an AHCA life member; current in the payment of
annual dues; and for those seeking renewal, remain as a member in good
standing. Each membership has a single vote.
Membership may be held by individuals
or business entities. Individuals may hold ownership individually or with
others. Ownership with others may be joint ownership with or without the right
AHCA allows ownership of registered
Highland cattle by business entities, such as: partnerships, corporations (C or
S type) or limited liability companies. Such entities are required to provide
AHCA with minutes and/or officer certificates indicating which individuals are
authorized to act on behalf of the entity for purposes of the registration and
transfer of cattle or to conduct any other business with AHCA. Sample forms are
available online on the registration tab, printable forms.
Only members of AHCA may register
Highland cattle. Non-members may own and transfer registered cattle but
non-members may not register the offspring of registered cattle without
becoming a member of AHCA.
AHCA registers cattle in the same name
and form as the individual or entity holds its membership. For
instance, a business entity must be a member to register cattle on the books
and records of AHCA. In addition, individuals may be members directly in their own
name or indirectly through one or more business entities that own cattle.
Ownership by multiple entities or individuals may require separate and distinct
The transfer of ownership of cattle may
result in the need for an individual or an entity to apply for a new
membership. Parties changing the form of ownership must provide AHCA with
documentation concerning which, if any, party shall maintain the current membership
and herd letters (required for animal identification). Herd letters can be
re-issued with the consent of prior participants in the membership. (For
instance, in a divorce the parties should agree which party shall maintain the
original membership and herd letters and provide AHCA with proper documentation
of that agreement. The other party may establish a new membership with new herd
Any person(s) or
business entity joining or renewing membership in AHCA shall be deemed
to agree to dispute resolution in Adams County, Colorado. By becoming a member,
said member(s) agrees that any and all disputes by and between members of the
Association and the American Highland Cattle Association shall be first
submitted to mediation in Adams County, Colorado. In the event good faith
efforts to resolve the dispute in mediation fails, if pursued, litigation shall be subject to the State Courts of Colorado, Adams County, Colorado. All members shall agree that disputes between AHCA and its members shall be resolved by applying Colorado law.
The membership directory is intended as
a communications tool for our members, prospective owners and Highland
enthusiasts and should not be used for personal gain other than the marketing
of Highland cattle and products.