The genetic variations of the 5′-upstream region and the second intron of the porcine H-FABP gene were investigated by polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) in 256 pigs, including Duroc, Large White, Landrace, Neijiang, Rongchang, Bamei pig, Hanjiang Black, Hanzhong White, and wild pigs. The effect of the H-FABP gene on intramuscular fat (IMF) content was analysed by the least square method. Results showed a HinfI-RFLP in these eight pig breeds and wild pigs, among which Large White, Bamei pig, Hanjiang Black, Hanzhong White and wild pigs presented low polymorphism, while the other breeds had intermediate polymorphism. There were no HaeIII or MspI-RFLPs in the four Chinese local pig breeds tested, but Duroc, Landrace, Large White, Hanzhong White and wild pig displayed polymorphism. Landrace, Large White and wild pigs had low levels of HaeIII- and MspI-RFLP, while the others had intermediate polymorphism. H-FABP genotypes significantly affected IMF content (P<0.05). IMF content according to H-FABP genotypes were HH>Hh>hh, DD<Dd<dd, AA<Aa<aa. The genetic effect values were 3.95 (HH), 3.48 (Hh), 3.23 (hh), 2.33 (DD), 2.55 (Dd), 2.97 (dd), 2.34 (AA), 2.76 (Aa) and 3.01 (aa). Results suggest that porcine meat quality may be improved by increasing the frequency of genotype aa-dd-HH in pig breeds.