This review focuses on current understanding of prenatal, prepubertal and post-pubertal development of the male reproductive system of cattle. The critical developmental events occur during the first 3 to 4 months of gestation and the first ~6 to 9 months after birth. The Wilms Tumor-1 and SRY proteins play critical roles in early development and differentiation of the fetal testis, which in turn drives gestational development of the entire male reproductive system. The hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis matures earlier in the bovine fetus than other domestic species with descent of the testes into the scrotum occurring around the 4th month of gestation. An array of congenital abnormalities affecting the reproductive system of bulls has been reported and most are considered to be heritable, although the mode of inheritance in most cases has not been fully defined. Early postnatal detection of most of these abnormalities is problematic as clinical signs are generally not expressed until after puberty. Development of genomic markers for these abnormalities would enable early culling of affected calves in seedstock herds. The postnatal early sustained increase in lutenising hormone secretion cues the rapid growth of the testes in the bull calf leading to the onset of puberty. There is good evidence that both genetic and environmental factors, in particular postnatal nutrition, control or influence development and maturation of the reproductive system. For example, in Bos taurus genotypes which have had sustained genetic selection pressure applied for fertility, and where young bulls are managed on a moderate to high plane of nutrition puberty typically occurs at 8 to 12 months of age. However, in many Bos indicus genotypes where there has been little selection pressure for fertility and where young bulls are reared on a low plane of nutrition, puberty typically occurs between 15 to 17 months. Our understanding of the control and expression of sexual behavior in bulls is limited, particularly in B. indicus genotypes.