Tan points on a Kelpie are also called “traditional tan” and belongs to one of four types of alleles from the A series. Tan points only appear on certain areas of the dog’s body. Often there are smaller spots above the eyes, on the side of the nose and sometimes up towards the cheeks, in front of the neck below the head, two triangular spots on the chest, on the legs and paws and on part of the tail.
The tan points is lighter than the rest of the coat and the colour ranges from a pale creme to a golden copper. Sometimes there are black markings on the tan coloured toes or paws, which is called pencilling. Occasionally tan points are missing on a tan coloured dog, especially from the face. These individuals likely have a melanistic mask (Em
). This gene masks these specific points. Melanistic mask belongs to e-locus, you can read more about under the color section cream
In order for tan points (at/at
) to appear in offspring, they need to receive one at
gene from the mother and one at
gene from the father. Tan points on both parents can only give tan marked puppies. Tan points may, however, occur on black, brown, fawn or smoke blue Kelpies.
Traditional tan points is the only confirmed known allele in the a series in the Kelpie today. Possibly an Ay
may occur in a Kelpie as there are individuals that appear to be saddle pattern or creeping tan. However, more studies and DNA tests are needed on Kelpies with this colour type to verify this.