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The objective was to compare populations of antral and pre-antral ovarian follicles in Bos indicus and Bos indicus-taurus cows with high and low antral follicle counts. Nelore (Bos indicus, n = 20) and Nelore X Angus (1/2 Bos indicus-taurus, n = 20) cows were subjected to follicular aspiration without regard to the stage of their oestrous cycle (day of aspiration = D0) to remove all follicles ≥3 mm and induce growth of a new follicular wave. Ovaries were examined by ultrasonography on D4, D19, D34, D49 and D64, and antral follicles ≥3 mm were counted. Thereafter, cows were assigned to one of two groups: high or low antral follicular count (AFC, ≥30 and ≤15 antral follicles, respectively). After D64, ovaries were collected after slaughter and processed for histological evaluation. There was high repeatability in the numbers of antral follicles for all groups (range 0.77–0.96). The mean (±SD) numbers of antral follicles were 35 ± 9 (Bos indicus) and 38 ± 6 (Bos indicus-taurus) for the high AFC group and 10 ± 3 (Bos indicus) and 12 ± 2 (Bos indicus-taurus) follicles for the low AFC. The mean number of preantral follicles in the ovaries of Bos indicus-taurus cows with high AFC (116 226 ± 83 156 follicles) was greater (p < 0.05) than that of Bos indicus cows (63 032 ± 58 705 follicles) with high AFC. However, there was no significant correlation between numbers of antral and preantral follicles.