Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of exon 8 of the GHR gene were detected in Chinese Holstein cows by polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). The results showed that exon 8 of the GHR gene digested by TasI could be divided into two kinds of alleles and three kinds of genotypes. The frequencies of allele A and T were 0.6339 and 0.3661, respectively. The frequencies of genotypes AA, AT and TT were 0.459, 0.350 and 0.191, respectively. Sequencing showed one single nucleotide mutation T→A at 4962 bp of the gene in genotype TT when compared with genotype AA, and this mutation resulted in an amino acid change of phenylalanine (TTT)→tyrosine (TAT). The result of χ2 testing indicated that the genotypic frequency of the GHR gene digested by TasI did not fit with Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium in this population (P<0.05). The least-square mean of the fat percentage of this population was higher for genotype TT than for genotype AA (P<0.05).