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Australian Kelpie

Picture of Australian Kelpie



Australians can be very proud of the Australian Kelpie. As it is one of Australia's truly national dogs. Its origins however, stem from Scotland, where a number of collie-types (collie is Scottish for sheepdog) contributed to the development of the breed as we know it today.  During Australia's migrant boom in the 1800s, demand grew for a dog suited to work with the developing Merino sheep population and this resulted in the importation of many herding dogs from the homelands of new migrants, particularly the United Kingdom. Many breeds were brought to Australia, but those most suited to the harsh conditions were soon recognized and crossed to produce the Australian Kelpie as we know it today.  



As the Kelpies are a very loyal breed, they are regarded as a 'one man dog' and are hardworking and tireless with an air of intelligence which is apparent to anyone who sees them in action. They possess this instinctive desire to work amongst sheep and untrained dogs can be seen naturally mimicking the actions of the more experienced dogs.



Height:  43-51cm  (17-20in)

Weight:  11-20kg  (24-45lb)

Group: Working Dogs

The two distinct types of the Kelpie breed are the original Working Kelpie and the more recent class of 'Bench KelpieĀ’ which is more often seen as a pet rather than a working dog. Unlike the Bench Kelpie, the working dog is not bred for colour and even though the black and tan is regarded as the truest colour of the Working Kelpie breed, it may also appear in red, blue or fawn, with or without tan.  The double coat is short and dense with a thick undercoat covered by a hard, rain-resistant outer coat and the Working Kelpie's coat is coarser than the bench type.



As these dogs are average shedders, grooming them is so easy that an occasional combing and brushing is all that will be required.  It is recommended that you bath these dogs only when necessary; otherwise the natural oils in the weather-resistant coat will be removed resulting in dry and flaky skin.


Life Expectancy

12-15 Years


Health Concerns

The Kelpie is renowned for being a very sound breed, with no inherited health problems and if fed correctly and not allowed to become overweight, this dog will not need to visit the vet often.



These dogs are just workaholics and can quite easily run 50 to 60 kilometers per day without a problem. They need space, lots of space to run around in to keep them happy and well exercised because if they are unable to  express their normal active behavior they will be prone to develop behavioral problems, which will ultimately make keeping them that much more difficult. Obedience training is essential and if you choose to keep a Working Kelpie as a pet, that very same animal may become a high maintenance dog.

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Working Dogs: This group  includes more breeds than any other. These dogs were bred to do a variety of work from guarding, herding, pulling sleds and rescue for example. A few in this group include Border Collie, Boxer and Great Dane to mention a few.



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