Thermal stress in hot humid conditions limits cattle production. The objectives for this study were to estimate genetic parameters for hair characteristics and core body temperature under low and high temperature humidity index (THI) conditions. Hair samples were collected and measured for length and diameter. Core body temperature was measured as vaginal temperature every 15 min over a 5-d period using an iButton temperature measuring device implanted in a blank CIDR in 336 heifers from the University of Florida multibreed herd (ranging from 100% Angus to 100% Brahman). Restricted maximum likelihood procedures were used to estimate heritabilities from multiple bivariate animal models using the WOMBAT program. Estimates of heritability for hair diameter, undercoat length, topcoat length, body temperature under low THI conditions, and body temperature under high THI conditions were 0.50, 0.67, 0.42, 0.32, and 0.26, respectively. The genetic parameters estimated in this study indicate a large, exploitable genetic variance which can be selected upon to improve tolerance in cattle. Breed effects for differing compositions of Brahman and Angus were also estimated. As Brahman breed composition increased by 25% undercoat length, topcoat length, body temperature under low THI conditions, and body temperature under high THI conditions decreased by 1.32 mm, 2.94 mm, 0.11 degrees C, and 0.14 degrees C, respectively. Under both low and high THI conditions, cattle with 25% Brahman breed composition or greater maintained a significantly lower body temperature than the 100% Angus breed group. The incorporation of Brahman germplasm is recommended for herds that often experience heat stress conditions in order to increase resilience to heat stress.