Heat production was measured in newborn Angus-, Brahman-, and Tuli-sired calves born to Angus (n = 20) and Brahman (n = 26) dams, before (thermoneutral metabolic rate, TMR) and after norepinephrine (NE) infusion (peak metabolic rate, PMR), to assess genotypic effects on nonshivering thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. Calves were fed pooled colostrum, fitted with jugular catheters, and placed in a temperature-controlled (37 degrees C) water immersion system. Heat production, determined by indirect calorimetry, and tympanic temperature were measured continuously in calves from approximately 3 to 6 h of age. Blood samples were collected at birth and at 0, 5, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120 min relative to NE infusion (35 micrograms.min-1.kg BW-1 for 4 min), and plasma was analyzed for metabolites (glucose, NEFA, and urea nitrogen [PUN]) and hormones (cortisol, triiodothyronine [T3] and thyroxine [T4]). Weight-specific TMR (cal.min-1.kg-1) was not affected by breed of sire or dam, although weight-specific PMR (cal.min-1.kg-1) was lower (P < .01) in Brahman-sired calves than in Angus- or Tuli-sired calves and was lower (P < .001) in calves born to Brahman rather than Angus dams. The reduction in weight-specific PMR due to the maternal Brahman influence was sire-breed dependent, and the reduction was largest (P < .01) for Tuli-sired (34.3%), intermediate (P < .05) for Brahman-sired (15.1%), and lowest (P > .25) for Angus-sired calves (4.1%). The PMR:TMR ratio was 1.80 and 2.21 +/- .06 in calves born to Brahman and Angus dams, respectively. Peak tympanic temperature was .6 degree C lower (P < .01) in calves born to Brahman rather than Angus dams. At birth, plasma NEFA concentrations were higher (P < .001) and glucose tended (P = .13) to be higher in calves born to Brahman rather than Angus dams. Cortisol, T3, and T4 concentrations at birth were higher in calves born to Brahman dams than in those born to Angus dams. These results suggest that calves born to Brahman dams may have less thermogenically active brown adipose tissue than calves born to Angus dams, which may contribute to the relative cold intolerance of calves with Bos indicus inheritance.