Breed, age, coat colour, month and temperature humidity index (THI) influence on body weight (W), body condition score (BCS), thermophysiological variables (rectal temperature (Tr), skin temperature (Tsk)) and hair length was studied in Nguni (n = 19) and Boran (n = 16). As a result of this study, breed influenced W, BCS and Tsk on the neck and belly (P < 0.05). The BCS and W of Nguni cows were higher than the Boran cows. Hair length of both breeds increased from February to August. The THI influenced thermophysiological variables (P < 0.05). Increased Tr for both breeds was recorded in February and April, respectively (P < 0.05). Month influenced Tsk and June recorded lower values (P < 0.05). Younger cows (3–8 years) had lower weight and high Tr and Tsk (P < 0.05). Nguni cows had high neck and thurl temperatures in June while Boran cows had the highest in August (P < 0.05). Red, dun and white-black Boran cows had increased BCS. Nguni cows with red, fawn and white cows had high BCS. Fawn-coloured Nguni cows and white-brown Boran cows had the more weight than cows with other colours compared in the study. White-red Nguni and Boran cows recorded the highest Tr. For Nguni cows, neck and belly temperatures were significantly (P < 0.001) correlated to thurl temperature. Boran cows had significant (P < 0.001) correlations for THI and neck, belly and thurl temperatures. The current study found that Nguni cows were more adapted to the prevailing bioclimatic changes. However, Boran cows have the potential of performing well under heat stress conditions over time.