This research communication describes relationships between pre-weaning average daily gain (ADG) and dam parity with future productivity of dairy calves. Higher ADG before weaning has been shown to be related to greater milk production in the first lactation of Holstein calves fed milk replacer. However, data is limited on the relationship between pre-weaning ADG and first lactation performance of Holstein calves fed whole milk. Data of three hundred and thirty-two Holstein calves from 35 primiparous and 297 multiparous cows was investigated to evaluate the relationship between the dam parity and pre-weaning ADG with the first lactation performance. Results indicated that birth (P < 0·01), and weaning body weight (P < 0·001) were greater in calves born from multiparous cows. Neither 305 d milk production nor pre-weaning ADG differed significantly between calves born to primiparous or multiparous cows, although milk yield tended to be higher in the former and ADG higher in the latter. Correlations between 305 d milk yield and pre-weaning ADG, dam parity and birth body weight were low and non-significant, although there was a tendency for a positive correlation between ADG and milk yield.