Tan markings on a Kelpie are also called “traditional tan” and belongs to one of four types of alleles from the A series, agouti. Tan markings 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 marking 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 markings are missing, especially from the face, on a tan coloured dog. These individuals likely have a melanistic mask
), and this gene masks these tan markings.
Alleles from the A series in the Kelpie, known so far:
at/at = traditional tan
In a litter of tan marked puppies, both Kelpie parents need to carry at least one tan gene. Two tan marked Kelpies can only pass on tan marked puppies. Tan markings can appear in black, brown, fawn or smoke blue Kelpies.