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The Kelpie's coat length and coat quality

The majority of Kelpies have a shorter, or smooth, type of coat. Probably because most kelpies are predominantly homozygous for a short coat. It means both alleles at the locus are the same. However, some Kelpies are heterozygous for coat length. They have a dominant allele for the short coat, but also a recessive allele for the longer coat. Therefore, occasionally a Kelpie may have a longer coat.

At the beginning of the breed's development, some long coated dogs were used which brought the gene for long coat into the breed. Since then, the recessive gene was inherited but hidden during many generations until dogs mated both carrying the same recessive gene.

From the breed standard

This is what the breed standard says about the type of coats Australian kelpie should have:
  • The coat is a double coat with a short dense undercoat.
  • The outer coat is close, each hair straight, hard and lying flat, so that it is rain-resisting.
  • Under the body, to behind the legs, the coat is longer and forms near the thigh a mild form of breeching.
  • On the head (including the inside of the ears), to the front of the legs and feet, the hair is short.
  • Along the neck it is longer and thicker forming a ruff.
  • The tail should be furnished with a good brush.
  • A coat either too long or too short is a fault. As an average, the hairs on the body should be from 2 to 3 cms in length.