The Australian Kelpie is next to the border collie one of the two breeds working with the eye, although in Kelpie this feature is less expressed. This active, intelligent, endowed with a great passion for work shepherd is perfect for a variety of dog sports. Definitely not suitable for lazy people!
Kelpie was bred in Australia for herding and chasing sheep. Currently – mainly in the United States, but also in his homeland – is also used to work with cattle. This is the second breed after border collie, which during herding looks intensely at animals to put pressure on them.
Gifted with a large, even exuberant temperament, they need some occupation. Bored Kelpie can destroy the environment, bark and become unbearable. However, for someone who likes working with dogs, he is a fascinating companion, always ready to take on a new challenge. Dogs from the show line can be a bit calmer, but they also need a lot of occupation. They may have a weakened herding instinct, but they are perfect for agility or sports obedience.
Gentle Kelpies are not good for defense, although they bark when something disturbing happens. They treat strangers who are friendly or indifferent.
Kelpie from utility lines is above all an excellent shepherd dog, while regardless of the Kelpie line they are perfect for most dog sports.
Australian Kelpie. Training and education
Kelpies, as intelligent and willing to cooperate, learn quickly. Their owners emphasize that they are endowed with a large – for a sheepdog – a degree of independence, which is why they are considered more difficult to run than border collies.
In addition to energy and the need for work common to both races, Kelpie has greater independence. They often have their own ideas that do not necessarily go hand-in-hand with the owner’s intentions. This is for a reason – to find animals in the Australian bush, these dogs often have to work alone, making decisions on their own paws.
Who is this race for?
Kelpie is only suitable for an active person who will provide him with a lot of movement and activity. It is a good choice for a dog sports lover.
Australian Kelpie. Advantages and disadvantages
requires a lot of movement and activity
despite the willingness to cooperate, he can be stubborn and smart
bored can be a destroyer
very susceptible to training
suitable for dog sports
healthy and resilient
does not require complicated care
Health problems rarely affect Kelpie. Occasionally, there is hip dysplasia, problems with the patella or eye diseases, e.g. progressive retinal atrophy. Cerebellar abiotrophy, a genetic neurological disease, can also happen.
Kelpie has no particular nutritional requirements. It can be fed with ready-made food of good quality as well as with food prepared independently.
Haircare is straightforward – the dog should be combed more often during the molting period.
Kelpie have common ancestors with border collies – the so-called colleys or collies bred on the English-Scottish border as early as the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century such quadrupeds were brought to Australia and here they were crossed with other shepherd dogs, and maybe also with dingo. The Kelpie breed stabilized earlier than the border collie.
The name of the breed comes from the name of a black and tan working bitch, bought by Jack Gleeson around 1872, and bred by Australian Scottish George Robertson.
“Kelpie” literally means an evil aquatic creature from Celtic mythology who had the form of a horse and lured a man to a river or lake to drown and devour him. Her black and tan daughter also bore that name. She won the prestigious shepherd dog competition in 1879, and her children became famous. Initially, they talked about “Kelpie puppies”, and eventually they were simply called “Kelpie”.
As in many other breeds bred for work, the division into utility and exhibition lines was also distinguished in this breed. In practice, they are actually two separate breeds, because in Australia there are two organizations that register them. The Working Kelpie Council does not allow dogs registered in it to be exhibited, promoting breeding only for suitability for work.
In turn, ANKC – Australian Kennel Club – only registers kelpie from the show line. Also in Sweden there is a utility kelpie club that does not allow them to be exhibited. In the United States, a special club deals with a working kelpie, while the AKC has not yet recognized this race.
This division is a bit blurred in continental Europe, where some kelpies from utility lines were registered in national organizations – that’s why at the shows we can meet dogs from mixed lines or even purely utility lines. This may not delight supporters of breeding in clean lines, but it pleases fans of dog sports.
Working line Kelpies are slightly taller and have longer paws than show dogs. The construction of the latter is more stocky and compact. Utility Kelpies usually – though not always – have arson, while showcases are rare.
Australian Kelpie. Template
Australian Shepherd – Kelpie – Group I FCI, Section 1, Model No. 293
Character: very intelligent dog, full of energy, alert and fast-reacting; gentle strangers
Size: dogs 46-51 cm, bitches 43-48 cm
Weight: 14-21 kg
Coat: short, two-layered: straight, hard and close coat, short and thick undercoat; on the head and limbs, short hair, on the neck and torso slightly longer, forms a brush on the tail and trousers
Color: black, brown (chocolate), blue (gray) and isabel (lightened chocolate – color like in a Weimar pointer) – all colors can be with or without tan; there is also red ointment in various shades
Lifespan: 13-15 years
Vulnerability to training: very high – a dog willing to cooperate and dedicated to the guide, but also having his own opinion
And activity: high – needs a lot of daily movement and mental activity
Resistance/susceptibility to diseases: very resistant
The Kelpie bitch named Maggie was one of the oldest dogs in the world. She died in 2016 at the age of 30!