Although many still believe the Kelpie is a Dingo crossed with
the Border Collie, more accurate documentation reveals the breed's
development from English North Country Collies of the Rutherford
strain. These hardy British working herders, like many sheepdogs,
were imported to Australia during the latter half of the 19th century.
Today nearly 100,000 Kelpies are employed on that continent. Despite
their relatively small size, Kelpies are without limitations, capable
of working cattle, goats, poultry and reindeer. They will excel
in competitive obedience. The name "Kelpie" comes from
the water kelpie mentioned by Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish
writer, in the novel Kidnapped. This breed has been known since
The Australian Kelpie has a compact body and well-developed limbs.
Slightly longer than he is tall, the Kelpie has a broad chest and
firm hind quarters that contribute to his flexible, energized appearance.
The head is long and narrow. The medium length tail is low set.
The short, compact feet have well arched toes. The double coat consists
of a short and dense undercoat and a hard, straight and weather-repellent
outer coat. Colour possibilities include black and red, each with
or without tan; and fawn, chocolate and blue. The majority of Kelpie
owners seem to be more interested in the breed's working ability
then their appearance.
The Australian Kelpie is a compact, robust, enthusiastic, and tireless
working dog who excels at herding. In Australia the Kelpie is a
popular and successful working dog. Kelpies are devoted one-man
dogs but are far too work-oriented and energetic for a couch dog
or in-active existence. Their easy trainability and keenness on
the job make them a fundamental component of the Australian work
force. They are ready to respond immediately to any signal given
by their master, even from a great distance.
They are good with children when they are raised with them from
puppy hood and/or are properly socialized. Kelpies will try to herd
other dogs, pets and animals whether they want to be herded or not.
This workaholic will work until it drops. They are independent and
work for themselves rather than for pleasing a handler. In their
native country of Australia, Kelpies work all day even in intense
heat, covering 1,000 to 4,000-plus acres. The breed uses "eye"
similar to the Border Collies on the tractable stock, but utilizes
its nipping ability to turn more stubborn cattle. Kelpies can muster
thousands of sheep from pasture to pen to truck. When a flock of
sheep is packed tightly together the Kelpie will look for the shortest
way to the other side, which is usually in a straight line.
This very clever dog will jump on the back of the nearest sheep
and run lightly across the flock to reach the other side. They make
excellent watchdogs and can also be trained as seeing-eye dogs.
The Australian Kelpie is not an aggressive dog, but he can be protective
when needed, and will guard his family and their belongings when
necessary, regardless of the risk to himself. With the deep intelligence
in which this breed exhibits, comes a high dominance level. Meek
owners will not do well with this breed. They need an owner who
knows how to display calm but firm authority over the dog at all
times. With the right type of owner and the proper amount of daily
physical and mental exercise this breed can excel. Problems can
and will arise with meek owners, and/or owners who do not provide
the proper amount and type of exercise. This breed does best with
a job to do. If you do not have time to extensively work with and
exercise your dog, or do not fully understand the dogs natural instints
and their need to have leadership, this is not the breed for you
Height: 43-51 cm.
Weight: 11-20 kg.
Beware of Progressive Retinal Atrophy - retinal degeneration causing
partial to total blindness.
The Australian Kelpie is not suited to live in a small dwelling
or flat. They are working dogs that need plenty of open space to
run and will be happiest with a job to do. Their all-weather coat
allows them to live where it is hot as well as where it is cold.
They will be content to live outdoors with adequate shelter.
The Australian Kelpie is a working dog that demands a great deal
of exercise, preferably with some kind of job to do. Their energy
levels are extremely high and they will run until they drop. They
need to be taken on long daily walks in open country side. The Australian
Kelpie makes an excellent jogging companion. Do not allow this dog
to walk ahead of you when he is on the lead. He must be made to
walk to heal to re-enforce that his owner is the alpha pack leader.
Around 10-14 years
This breed is easy to groom. An occasional combing and brushing
is all that it needs. Bathe only when necessary as it will remove
the natural oils in the weather-resistant coat and dry out the skin.
This breed has an average moult.