Heat-shock transcription factors (HSFs) play an important role in regulating heat stress response. The activation of heat-shock protein (HSP) genes is mediated by HSFs, which bind to promoters of HSP genes. In this research, two novel single nucleotide polymorphisms, T909C and G4693T, and their association with thermal tolerance were investigated in 951 Chinese Holstein cattle. Linkage disequilibrium and haplotype construction were analyzed using SHEsis software. Four haplotypes were constructed, and nine haplotype combinations were found. Potassium content in erythrocytes (PCE), decreased rate of milk production (R), rectal temperature (RT), and heat-tolerance coefficient (HTC) were selected for the thermotolerance index. Association analysis showed that thermal tolerance in Chinese Holstein cattle was significantly affected by T909C and G4693T. The PCE of cows with CC or TC genotype was lower than that of TT at the 909 position (p < 0.05). Cows with TT genotype had lower PCE (p < 0.01) and higher HTC (p < 0.05) at the 4693 position. Cows with H2H4 haplotype combination had lower PCE (p < 0.01), R (p < 0.05) and RT (p < 0.05) and higher HTC (p < 0.05) than those with H1H3 haplotype combination. Bioinformatic analysis predicted that the 4693 position was located in the microRNA-binding (bta-miR-484) region. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction demonstrated that 4693-T mutation caused the disruption of microRNA target binding, resulting in the relief of the transcriptional repression, which, in turn, resulted in increased expression. Thus, the HSF1 gene is useful in dairy cattle thermal tolerant breeding.