© 2020 The Author(s). Background: The trading of individual animal genotype information often involves only the exchange of the called genotypes and not necessarily the additional information required to effectively call structural variants. The main aim here was to determine if it is possible to impute copy number variants (CNVs) using the flanking single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) haplotype structure in cattle. While this objective was achieved using high-density genotype panels (i.e., 713,162 SNPs), a secondary objective investigated the concordance of CNVs called with this high-density genotype panel compared to CNVs called from a medium-density panel (i.e., 45,677 SNPs in the present study). This is the first study to compare CNVs called from high-density and medium-density SNP genotypes from the same animals. High (and medium-density) genotypes were available on 991 Holstein-Friesian, 1015 Charolais, and 1394 Limousin bulls. The concordance between CNVs called from the medium-density and high-density genotypes were calculated separately for each animal. A subset of CNVs which were called from the high-density genotypes was selected for imputation. Imputation was carried out separately for each breed using a set of high-density SNPs flanking the midpoint of each CNV. A CNV was deemed to be imputed correctly when the called copy number matched the imputed copy number. Results: For 97.0% of CNVs called from the high-density genotypes, the corresponding genomic position on the medium-density of the animal did not contain a called CNV. The average accuracy of imputation for CNV deletions was 0.281, with a standard deviation of 0.286. The average accuracy of imputation of the CNV normal state, i.e. the absence of a CNV, was 0.982 with a standard deviation of 0.022. Two CNV duplications were imputed in the Charolais, a single CNV duplication in the Limousins, and a single CNV duplication in the Holstein-Friesians; in all cases the CNV duplications were incorrectly imputed. Conclusion: The vast majority of CNVs called from the high-density genotypes were not detected using the medium-density genotypes. Furthermore, CNVs cannot be accurately predicted from flanking SNP haplotypes, at least based on the imputation algorithms routinely used in cattle, and using the SNPs currently available on the high-density genotype panel.