In this prospective observational study rectal and vaginal temperature of 82 (26 primiparous, 56 multiparous) early post-partum healthy dairy cows that calved without intervention within 3 months and did not show clinical signs of infectious and metabolic diseases were continuously measured and evaluated for associations with plausible factors during the first 10 days in milk (DIM). During May, June and July mean (±SD) temperature humidity index (THI) was 60·1±5; 66·8±5·6 and 74·2±4·3, respectively. Environmental conditions had a negligible effect on body temperature (BT) during May (P<0·05). During June and July, however, the ambient temperature and THI influenced BT (P<0·05). Furthermore, plausible factors like parity, DIM, months and time of day had an effect on BT (P<0·05). Overall, primiparous cows demonstrated 0·2°C greater BT during the first 10 DIM than multiparous cows. The effect of parity, however, on BT varied between DIM according to month (P<0·001). During this 3-month study period all cows demonstrated BT rhythms; however, the amplitude of BT increased from May to July (0·3 to 0·7°C). A greater proportion of the vaginal temperature measurements exceeded a threshold tested (≥39·5°C) during July (46·8%) than in June (33·9%) and May (19·3%). Overall the percentage of BT values above a threshold of ≥39·5°C was lower during the period 6.00-10.00 compared with the remaining 20 h (P<0·05). Therefore this study concluded that the BT of healthy post-partum dairy cows during the period 1-10 DIM post partum is greater compared with the reference range of 38·6 to 39·5°C reported by others and is influenced by parity, DIM, time of day and THI. When the association between BT and THI increased the reliability of threshold levels of BT (≥39·5°C) decreased.