Normal metabolic activity in ovarian follicles may result in oxidative stress and damage to oocytes. The aim of this study was to evaluate expression of the natural anti-oxidants paraoxonase (PON) 1, 2 and 3 in granulosa cells and PON1 activity in follicular fluid (FF) and plasma of dairy cows. For the first experiment, ovaries were collected from cows at slaughter, after which follicles were dissected and classified as oestrogen active (EAF) or atretic (ATF). Expression of PON1, PON2 and PON3 mRNA was evaluated in granulosa cells, and activity of PON1 was measured in FF. PON1 mRNA was undetectable in granulosa cells, PON2 mRNA expression was not different between follicle types, and PON3 mRNA tended to be higher in EAF (p = 0.11). The activity of PON1 in FF was higher (p = 0.01) for EAF (82.6 ± 8.0 kU/L) than ATF (53.9 ± 6.8 kU/L), as were high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and total cholesterol concentrations. In the second experiment, we aimed to compare plasma and FF PON1 activity in early lactation Holstein cows (n = 15) with pre-ovulatory EAF. Activity of PON1 was twofold higher (p < 0.0001) in plasma (122.5 ± 11.1 kU/L) than in FF (61.4 ± 5.2 kU/L). Plasma concentrations were also higher (p < 0.0001) for HDL, LDL and total cholesterol when compared to FF. In conclusion, FF concentrations of PON1, HDL, LDL and total cholesterol were higher in healthy oestrogen active bovine follicles than in atretic follicles. PON1 was not expressed by granulosa cells indicating that high PON1 activity in bovine FF is apparently derived by transfer from blood in association with HDL.