The anterior tooth development of cattle presented for slaughter - an analysis of age, sex and breed

Kevin J Whiting, Steven N Brown, William J Browne, Phillip J Hadley, Toby G Knowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In a cross-sectional study, data from records of cattle slaughtered over a 1-year period at a large abattoir in South West England were
analysed using an ordered category response model to investigate the inter-relationships between age, sex and breed on development
of the permanent anterior (PA) teeth. Using the model, transition points at which there was a 50% probability of membership of each
category of paired PA teeth were identified. Data from ,60 000 animals were initially analysed for age and sex effect. The age transition
was found to be ,23 months moving from zero to two teeth; 30 months for two to four teeth; 37 months for four to six teeth and
42 months for six to eight teeth. Males were found to develop, on average, ,22 days earlier than females across all stages. A reduced
data set of ,23 000 animals registered as pure-bred only was used to compare breed and type interactions and to investigate sex effects
within the sub-categories. Breeds were grouped into dairy and beef-type and beef breeds split into native and continental. It was found
that dairy-types moved through the transition points earlier than beef-types across all stages (interval varying between ,8 and 12 weeks)
and that collectively, native beef breeds moved through the transition points by up to 3 weeks earlier than the continental beef breeds.
Interestingly, in contrast to beef animals, dairy females matured before dairy males. However, the magnitude of the difference between
dairy females and males diminished at the later stages of development. Differences were found between breeds. Across the first three
stages, Ayrshires and Guernseys developed between 3 and 6 weeks later than Friesian/Holsteins and Simmental, Limousin and Blonde
Aquitaine 6 and 8 weeks later than Aberdeen Angus. Herefords, Charolais and South Devon developed later but by a smaller interval
and Red Devon and Galloway showed the largest individual effect with transition delayed by 8 to 12 weeks.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date3 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2013


  • cattle, dentition, age, anterior tooth development, growth


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