Explaining Australian Cobberdog Coat Colours

When an Australian Cobberdog puppy is a solid colour, many variables can affect what the adult coat will look like. When a pup keeps the same colour coat, this is known as “holding”. However, many Australian Cobberdogs don’t “hold” their original colour.  This means the coat fades or lightens to another colour. A lightening of the coat does not necessarily occur evenly all over the coat.

One of the things that impacts on this is the presence of the Progressive Greying gene which is called the G Locus. This means that if the dog has this gene that the dog will gradually fade in colour as they mature.  When a black, blue, or brown dog has the mutation in this gene, they gradually fade in colour as they grow.

Not all black, blue, or brown Australian Cobberdogs have this gene, but some do. It is a dominant mutation, if one of the parents was Progressively Greying, then there is 50% chance that the pups will have this as well. The change in colour usually starts at a 2-3 months of age and it is usually complete by the time the dog is mature.

Cafe coloured dogs are born dark brown and change to cafe around the age of 2 years.
Blue dogs are born black and change over by the age of 2 years.
Silver dogs are born black and change over by the age of 2 years.
Gold dogs are often born a dark shade that lightens by the age of 2 years.

It is sometimes difficult for a breeder to be able to be sure of what the adult colour will be like.
For example, a blue puppy could easily be misinterpreted as black.  If that puppy has parents with parti in the bloodline, as the coat clears during the first 2 years, other colours may appear and the once black looking puppy becomes a parti colour with a wide array of possible colours.

As the dog matures, sunlight, air pollution and environment with the natural aging process will also impact over time on the colour of the coat.
This is a gradual process and owners may not notice a difference in the richness, depth and shine of the coat until the process has been going on for a while and enough hairs have grown in faded or dulled to make a drastic difference.

Australian Cobberdog Breed Standard Colours

The colours below are the names of the colours on the pedigrees with a description of what each colour means.


White colour – may have pale lemon highlights. This is the lightest possible colour with pigment either black or brown.


Shades of white colour with a yellow tint of varying shades – this is from almost White to a pale gold colour with pigment either black or brown


The colour of varying shades of rich gold to the colour of the inside of a ripe apricot. Pigment either black or brown


A solid even rich colour from orange/chestnut red through to deep mahogany. Pigment either black or brown


The darkest colour – black with no other colour through the coat. Pigment must be black


Grey /pewter in colour to charcoal. Solid or uneven layering of colour through coat. Born Black and develop their colour over 1 to 3 years as a result of the greying gene. Pigment must be black  


Dark to medium Smokey blue/grey in colour.  Born black with blue/grey skin pigment   


Dark rich brown with brown pigment. Born very dark brown.


Milk chocolate to silver beige which develops over time. Pigment is brown.


Creamy beige chocolate born milk chocolate colour which will develop over time. Pigment is brown


A smoky lavender/chocolate colour that can have the appearance of pink/lilac. Born chocolate their colour will develop over their first few years. Pigment is brown

Parti [plus the secondary coat colour]

Coat is patched, usually two colours (such as black or chocolate) on a white background. Pigment is either black or brown.  White in the coat is at least 50%. If the coat colour is less than 50% white the dog will be described on the pedigree as the predominate colour “with “the other colour.

Phantom [with the coat colours ]

Coat markings which are in a secondary colour must be:

  • Above each eye, on the sides of the muzzle (also referred to as the side of the cheeks)
  • Across the dog’s chest
  • Down the legs
  • Under the tail
  • These dogs are born with their markings. This does not occur as the dog ages.   


Black tipped hairs on a back ground of any solid colour that has no designated pattern or location on the coat

Merle [plus the coat colour]

The merle gene creates mottled patches of different colours in a solid or piebald coat. The dogs can have blue or odd-coloured eyes, and their skin pigment can be affected. A standard merle coat has two characteristics: a diluted base colour and random patches of full pigmentation. Dilute merles have a milder coat dilution with no patches. Harlequin merles have a white background with large patches of full pigmentation. Cryptic Merles are dogs which have the Merle gene but where the pattern cannot be seen in the base coat. Merle-to-merle matings can result in double merle (MM) offspring that have ocular issues (including blindness and microphthalmia) and auditory defects (including deafness); this is possible even for merle-to-cryptic merle matings. The breeding of two dogs which have or which carry the Merle gene is prohibited.      

Primary coat colour [plus the secondary coat colour]

Any coat colour with more than one colour that does not fit in to other colour descriptions will be called the primary colour and the secondary colour, for example Black and white or brown and white