Do We Still Breed the Right Colours?

characteristics are working together to make the ACD one-of-a-kind as
there is type, balance and confirmation, but also the colour is significantly
belonging to the Australian Cattle Dog that we should not treat it carelessly
in breeding.

Unfortunately we meanwhile see in many shows ACDs with wrong colours,
like chocolate, creeping tan,too light blue, black saddle and the red
speckled ACD often does not even earn this name anymore. We see very often
beige ones, black hairs mingling with fading reddish hairs or even red
mottled specimen, a colour which is not all standardlike.
Doris Duewel

with creeping tan
light in colour

standard, recognized by the ANKC, is the only measuring stick.

This is what it says:
The colour should be blue, blue-mottled
or blue speckled with or without other markings.
The permissible markings are black, blue or tan markings
on the head, evenly distributed for preference.
The forelegs tan midway up the
legs and extending up the front to breast and throat, with tan on jaws;

hindquarters tan on inside of hindlegs, and inside of thighs, showing
down the
front of the stifles and broadening out to the outside of the hindlegs
hock to toes. Tan undercoat is permissible on the body providing it does
show through the blue outer coat. Black markings on the body are not

blue colour



The colour should be of good even red speckle
all over, including

the undercoat, (neither white nor cream), with or without darker red markings
on the head. Even head markings are desirable. Red markings on the body
are permissible but not desirable.

correct red colour>

ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) published in Dezember 2009 extensions
to the standard.
Regarding the colour the ANKC states:

The Standard specifies quite clearly the colour requirement for the breed.
The basecolour in blue dogs is black.
The base colour in red speckle dogs is red.
Although white is not mentioned in the Standard, the ‘blue’
colour is produced by a
more or less even intermingling of black and white hairs in the outer
coat, giving the
impression of bluish colour. The more white hairs present, the lighter
the blue; the

fewer white hairs present, the darker the blue. If the white hairs are
so abundant that
the animal appears white, or the white hairs are so few that the animal
appearsblack, the colour is considered undesirable.
Blue or red speckle
is produced by small irregular groups of white hair distributed
more or less evenly through the outer coat. Red speckle is the only colour provided
for in the Standard for red dogs. Absence of speckle is undesirable as
are black hairs
showing through the coats of red dogs. The undercoat in red speckle dogs
must be red, not white or cream.
Blue mottle
is produced by irregular areas of white hair slightly larger than speckle,
distributed more or less evenly through the outer coat.
The allowable positions of tan markings in blue dogs are clearly stated
in the Standard.
Tan may vary in shade from a pale to a very deep rich colour. The richer
the tan the better.
As stated in the Standard, tan undercoat is permissible on the
body providing it does not show through the blue outer coat.
Most Australian Cattle Dogs have a white star or stripe on the forehead and these are
quite acceptable but, on the other hand, their absence should not be penalised.
The amount of white in the tail should be in balance with the body colouring.
A completely white tail is incorrect. Although body patches are undesirable,
an otherwise excellent specimen should not be penalised in favour of a
dog without body patches that is inferior in general conformation. Correct
colour is of secondary importance to type, balance and soundness of conformation.
Judges should always keep in mind the purpose for which the dog was bred.
However, there is some concern among breeders that body patches should
not become too large or prevalent in the breed.


If you are regarding your ACD to be colour faulty in the one or other
way, have him or her checked before mating. The Australian/FCI standard
points out very clearly how the colours should be.The description of coat
colour in the standard of the Australian Cattle Dog does not give the
breeder any freedom in neglecting it Some dogs have other colours than
a black nose.To use a miscoloured dog is neither accepted by the standard,
nor is the genepool forgiving that for an endless amount of years. Once
a wrong coat colour is (even hidden) in the gene pool, it will show as
soon as it meets another couple of the same faulty colour genes.Again
this is a colour fault. In the ACD the most common inherited miscolours
are chocolate and cream. How do we recognize a chocolate ACD? Everywhere
where the black colour is not black but dark brown, the ACD is a chocolate
representative. They can be found in all ACD breeding continents. It probably
finds its origin in cross-breeding with chocolate Kelpies, which is known,
that it has been done earlier.



coloured ACD

Their genetical
code is b/b for brown instead of B/B for black.

The standard says, the nose leather and the claws have to be black. In
a cream coloured ACD the nose leather is somehow dark, but not clearly
black and the claws are pale instead of black. It again has its origin
in the cross- breeding with another breeds in the foundation time of the
Unfortunately many judges overlook these standard faults in the ring.
Creme coloured ACDs were bred in all continents and spread their unwanted
colour so much, that we far too often see them in shows nowadays.They
are born in litters by two blue parents aswell as in red x blue breeding
Their genetical code is e/e, while the correct red colour is E/E.
In many countries we have nowadays a fairly high standard of excellent
specimen in both standardlike colours. There is no need in using these
mis-coloured dogs for breeding. If shown in the ring, they should not
be rated excellent, if they are not of outstanding conformation.

According to Noreen Clark’s investigations of miscoloured
ACDs. VetGen (USA) offers DNA tests that discriminate between the B- and
b-alleles and between the E- and e-alleles. Explanation can be found at
and available tests at:
VetGen (USA) offers DNA tests that discriminate between the B- and b-alleles
and between the E- and e-alleles.
Explanation can be found at:
and available tests at

© Doris Duewel, all rights reserved / webmaster : Doris

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