The Working Kelpie Council of Australia

Breed Society for the Australian Working Kelpie

Colour Range of the Working Kelpie
Coat Colours In The Kelpie
Some difficulty and/or delay may be experienced where an intending buyer stipulates a particular colour. The Kelpie was evolved from a mixture of imported Working Collies introduced into Australia in the 1800's. Of those, which form the actual foundation strain, five were black and tan, and one was black.

The latter, a dog called Moss, carried a blue grey colour factor and was the first to produce blue or slate coloured pups. Brutus and Jenny, themselves black and tan, were the first to produce red coloured pups; these appeared in a litter born shortly after the parents' arrival in Australia and were the result of a mating of the two dogs on the way out from England.

Example of Colours
The red colour is well known in the Working Collie family and was not the result of a Dingo mating here. Black is the dominant or strongest colour. The tan markings associated with all colours are believed to be controlled by another inherited factor. Blue is a mutation of the black or a lightening of black due to a dilution factor. Red is the Recessive Colour.

The showing of Kelpies at Bench or Breed Shows has encouraged a section of breeders to concentrate on the production of either all red or all black pups. Selection over a number of years for colour alone, in preference to selection for sheer natural ability, appears to have caused a loss of working ability in some strains.

To meet the overall requirements of the Pastoral Industry, the Working Kelpie Breeder has had to maintain a very high standard of natural working ability in his stock. To achieve this, ability has taken precedence over colour.

Today, most of the best working strains carry a variety of recognised colour factors, including those responsible for tan markings. Because a range of colours is often produced in a litter, the Breeder may not be able to supply a pup of a specified colour at short notice.

Because natural and efficient working ability is the prime concern of us all, may we respectfully suggest that you indicate only a preferred colour, rather than a definite one, when negotiating for a Kelpie pup or dog.