Coat and Colour

The coat is smooth, 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. A coat either too long or too short is a fault. As an average, the hairs on the body should be from 2.5 to 4 cms. (approx. 1-1 1/2 ins) in length.

The breed is required to work in all weather conditions therefore they must have adequate protection against the elements. The coat is a double coat with the outer coat approximately 1 – 1.5 inches in length, straight and the undercoat is softer and shorter to keep the dog warm in winter and cool in summer. The coat should be moderately hard to the touch and close knit. Curly or wavy coats are sometimes evident in older dogs, but should be penalised in a young dog. Also open coats with little undercoat are seen, this should also be penalised as it would lack the required weather resistance.

There is only one correct coat length as describes above but you do see the occasional close coat that has almost no undercoat. Also you sometimes come across a coat that has a longer outer coat that is soft, silky and open and tends to give the appearance of being standoffish with a soft woolly undercoat coming through the outer coat. This is also incorrect. Kaleski writes “The coat must be short, smooth and very dense, as the cattle dog has to work in all climates and all weathers. Like the Dingo, the coat consists of two – a loose outer one to turn the sun’s rays, and a short inner one, close and fine as a seal’s fur, to keep out cold and wet”.

Blue

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

The blue base colour in the Australian Cattle Dog is black. 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 appears black, the colour is considered undesirable

Blue speckle is produced by small, irregular groups of light hair clustered together in strips distributed more or less evenly through the coat against a dark background. The size of the speckle is, normally from slightly less than 2cm up to approx 2.5cm.

Blue mottle is fingertip sized dark spots usually from slightly less than 2cm up to approx 2.5cm against a light background.

Red Speckle

The colour should be of good even red speckle all over, including the undercoat, (neither white or 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.

Red speckle is produced by small, irregular groups of white hair clustered together in strips distributed more or less evenly through the coat against a red background. The size of the speckle is, normally from slightly less than 2cm up to approx 2.5cm.

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 nor cream. The undercoat in the blue coloured dogs may be black and or tan. If tan it should not show through the outer coat. In mottled dogs only, areas of white may possibly include a small amount of white undercoat hair.

The standard lays out quite clearly the colour requirements of this breed. The correct colour and markings are a good indication as to the purity of the breed. Although body patches are undesirable, an otherwise excellent specimen should not be penalised for a body patch

Black body patches
Kaleski standard of 1903 Qld Kennel Club version of 1906 reference to: Dark blue on back, sometimes with black saddle and black spot on tail butt.

Both colours produce body patches. Currently the wording and interpretation allows for red patches on the body of red coloured dogs to be more acceptable than black patches on the body of blue coloured dogs.

Nose and toenails black regardless of colour
Liver, chocolate, unpigmented nose colour, flesh, pink coloured toenails in either blue or red dogs are incorrect and must be penalised.

The “Bentley Star”

A group of white hairs on the forehead (ranging from a few hairs to a large spot) in both colours commonly known as the “Bentley Star” is a characteristic of the breed. White, ringed and/or patching on the tail seen in both red and blue dogs is a breed characteristic and just as acceptable as self coloured tails.

Black/Blue muzzle and/or blue overlay on body in red dogs
The colour must clearly be either red or blue and not a mixture of both.

Kaleski writes “Colour, for two reasons: (1) That true blue colour ( neither light nor dark) is the most invisible colour possible particularly at night; hence a dog of this colour is not easily seen by cattle or horses, and thus has the least chance of being kicked. (20 the markings and colours as indicated stand for purity of breeding. In every strain of blue cattle dog there is some peculiarity, and it shows in the colour as well as in the shape, so that an expert can tell by looking at any blue dog how he has been bred. Some breeds have objectionable traits in their strains (Bull Terrier cross etc) and the colour helps as a guide to pedigree. If the dog shows more black than specified, he is probably a Barb Cross and hence timid and unreliable. If he is whitey-blue in colour he shows Dalmatian cross and is very likely to be kicked or gored, especially at night as stock can watch him much better; also he is more liable to go blind and deaf”.

Faults:

Cream or white undercoat.

Any colour other than black on nose and toenails.
Creeping Tan. Tan on the legs of blue dogs should not extend onto the shoulders and/or the hips. On the face, the tan should not engulf the eye circumference and creep onto the ears.
Red undercoat appearing through blue outer coat.

Black/Blue muzzle and/or extensive blue overlay on body in red dogs