Other names: Kelpie
Motivated, energetic, focused, devoted and independent? That’s the Australian Kelpie for you. A breed with seemingly endless stamina, they were originally bred to herd livestock day-in-day-out and are independent thinkers at heart.
As a pet, they’re loyal, devoted and friendly in the right home. Without frequent exercise, thorough training and lots of mental stimulation, the Kelpie can be challenging and destructive.
They’re known to bond strongly to one member of the family, so if you’re looking for a loyal, loving companion for one (active) person specifically, the Australian Kelpie might be the perfect choice.
Key facts about the Australian Kelpie
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Playful Intelligent
Origins and history
The hot, dusty outback climate takes a tough working dog - and that’s exactly what the Australian Kelpie was bred for! This hardy dog can cope well in all sorts of conditions and, therefore, has been used as a working dog in Australia for hundreds of years. However, no one is completely sure how this breed was created, though it’s thought to be related to the Collie.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Australian Kelpie
Female : Between 17 and 19 in
Male : Between 18 and 20 in
Female : Between 24 and 33 lb
Male : Between 29 and 49 lb
The Kelpie’s coat comes in:
- Black with tan markings
- Light to dark blue
- Light to dark blue with tan markings
- Various shades of red
- Various shades of tan
Type of coat
Their coat is medium length.
The Australian Kelpie’s double coat is short, straight, harsh-textured, and waterproof. The thick undercoat provides plenty of protection against wind, rain and cold temperatures.
The eyes range from shades of gold to deep brown, depending on the coat colour.
This medium-sized breed has a compact yet muscular body, which is longer than it is tall. The legs are clearly powerful and muscled for their size. The head is narrow with a rounded skull, while the tail is set low and is medium in length. They’re easily recognisable by their pointy, prominent ears and expressive, alert, almond-shaped eyes. Overall, this breed has an athletic, durable and rather charming appearance.
Good to know
The first ever recorded Kelpie is believed to be a female black-and-tan puppy, whose records date back to 1860.
This breed is loyal, affectionate and loving. The catch? This affection is normally directed towards one person. While they’ll be generally friendly and warm towards the whole family, they’ll definitely have an obvious favourite. This makes them a fantastic companion dog to a single person, but may trigger jealousy within a family with teenagers or children.
The Australian Kelpie is full of energy - which they love to burn with lots of play-time! Anything which keeps this breed occupied is a sure winner, so be ready to play lots of sports and games and provide plenty of toys.
When all of the Australian Kelpie’s needs are met, they can be a perfectly relaxed and chilled-out pooch. However, if left to their own devices for too long without exercise or company, they won’t just hang out quietly - they’re likely to become hyper and cause damage around the house.
You can’t find a much more intelligent dog than the Kelpie. They’re super switched on and learn things at an incredible speed. While this is a good trait overall, it does mean they’re more than capable of manipulating situations and tend to pick up bad habits. On top of this, their intelligence means they become bored easily and constantly need something to focus on or play with.
You have to remember that the Kelpie was bred as a working dog and as such, holds a high prey drive and herding instinct. They’ll try to herd anything - whether that’s a cat or a group of kids! A strong recall and heel can solve this problem, though.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This breed can be rather wary of unfamiliar faces and in the right circumstances, will become very protective of their owner and property. Socialization is particularly important for the Kelpie - otherwise, bringing anyone new into the home may prove difficult.
The Australian Kelpie has a mind of their own - and they’re not afraid to use it! This is a truly independent breed - they love a challenge and need constant mental stimulation.
Behaviour of the Australian Kelpie
You’d think that this highly independent breed would be fine left on their own - but that’s just not the case! If left on their own for too long - especially if they’re kept indoors - the Kelpie is likely to suffer from separation anxiety and extreme boredom. They form extremely strong ties to one special person and crave that person’s company.
Easy to train / obedience
It is a dog easy to educate, thanks to his great attention and his taste for learning.
This dog doesn't bark much.