Angus Australia


Collecting a Hair Sample

Hair is the most common form of sample used when submitting DNA to Angus Australia, and is Angus Australia’s preferred sample type.

It is important to note that the DNA is not contained in the hair shaft itself, but rather in the follicle or root bulb. It is vital that the root bulb is present in the hair sample as this is the part of the sample from which the DNA will be extracted.

Tail hair sampling is the most widely used method of the DNA sampling techniques due to the need

for minimal restraint of the animal and the simple non-invasive nature of the technique. Hair has several advantages over other types of DNA samples including a lower cost of sample collection and easier long term storage of samples at room temperature.

It is recommended that animals are at least 60 days of age (2 months) before hair samples are collected  as the hair follicles are small and still developing.

Tail Hair Sampling

To collect tail hairs for DNA testing;

1. Arrange sample collection kits and the DNA Test Request form available from Angus Australia.

2. Write on the card the registered animals ID


3. Identify a pencil thick clump of clean, dry hair from the switch of the tail.

4. In a single motion pull against the grain of the tail to remove the tail hair, ensuring follicles are present on the hair removed.

5. Attach the hair to the card with the sticker provided. Ensuring all edges are sealed and the follicles are in contact with the adhesive sticker.


6. Using scissors cut the excess hair off, ensuring no hair hangs over the edge of the card.

7. Store in a cool, dry place before sending to Angus Australia with the DNA test request form.

If sending a large number of samples it is important to order or group them, to aid in the quality control processes undertaken at Angus Australia prior to shipping to the lab.


  • Check the identification of the animal and record the full Angus Australia ident on the front of the collection card (Zoetis), or on the sticker provided (Neogen Australasia).
  • Pull a minimum of 40 hair follicles from the switch (i.e. thick brush) of the animal’s tail making sure the follicles are still attached. Make sure that at least 40 hairs are supplied so that sufficient hair is provided to enable future DNA tests to be conducted for the animal.
  • Take care during the collection process to prevent cross-contamination of samples. If necessary, wash hands between the collection of each hair sample to ensure that hands are clean.
  • Ensure that the Angus Australia DNA Test Request form is completed. If you haven’t previously completed a member’s test agreement form, please also submit one.

  • If a hair sample is being provided and multiple DNA testing is required (such as testing for parent verification and genetic condition status), it may be advisable to collect two hair samples to ensure that adequate DNA is available.
  • Pestivirus testing requires one full sample. This sample must be pulled fresh (within three weeks) of testing. • Ensure the DNA sample collected is dry and free from any foreign matter (dirt, faeces and plant material). If necessary, the hair can be brushed prior to collection to remove the foreign matter.
  • Place samples and completed paperwork in a sturdy postage bag or box. Consider sending samples by registered mail.

The impact of dirt, manure or even water on the quality of your DNA sample is so significant that if a clean and dry sample cannot be taken then sampling should be postponed or measures put in place to resolve the issue.

Insufficient hair follicles

Follicles cut off

The following are real examples of some of the samples which have failed the quality control or DNA extraction process due to contamination.


Insufficient hair follicles / not tail hair

Wet and dirty