A brown Kelpie is defined as either chocolate or red, depending on the shade of the coat’s colour. The intensity in the colour varies according to the genetics, but how the intensity is inherited is not yet known. We do know, however, that it is a hereditary aspect of the coat colour. The brown gene can come in shades from a dark cocoa to a light almost orange colour.
There are different views among breeders on how to determine whether a Kelpie is brown or red. Some compare the colour on the dog’s nose with a cocoa bean. If the nose is lighter than the bean, the dog is called red, otherwise it is chocolate brown. There are a number of dogs registered as chocolate but appear to be red, and vice versa. However, all these dogs are genetically brown (b/b).