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What is an Australian Kelpie?
The Australian Kelpie can best be described as Loyal, Alert, Intelligent. Although it is one of Australia’s truly national dogs, its origins stem from Scotland, where a number of collie-types contributed to the development of the breed as we know it today. It is also rumored that wild Dingo may have also been introduced into the mix.
During the 1800s, demand grew for a dog suited to work with sheepherding, 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. The end result was a herding dog, intensely loyal and devoted to duty.
Pros and Cons
Appearance and Size
Group: Working Dogs
Height: 17 – 20 inches
Weight: 24 – 45 pounds
It should be noted that there are two distinct types of the Kelpie. These are the original Working Kelpie and the more recent class of ‘Bench Kelpie’ which is more often seen as a pet rather than a working dog. Unlike the Bench Kelpie, the working dog is not bred for color and even though the black and tan is regarded as the truest color 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.
The Australian Kelpie is an agile and highly active dog, capable of untiring work. He is extremely intelligent, alert, and eager with seemingly unlimited energy. Since Kelpies are a very loyal breed, they are regarded as a ‘one man dog’ and are hardworking and tireless in their instinctive desire to work amongst sheep. Untrained dogs can be seen naturally mimicking the actions of the more experienced dogs.
Australian Kelpies must have outlets, both to vent their energy and do mentally stimulating things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored, which usually results in barking and obsessive, destructive behavior. Australian Kelpies are very versatile working dogs, and independent thinkers. They are capable of learning a lot, but require a confident leader to set them straight.
Australian Kelpies are rather standoffish by nature, and need extensive socialization to people, and exposure to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution could lead to shyness or suspicion.
The Australian Kelpie has a double coat with a short, dense undercoat. Since these dogs are average shedders, an occasional combing and brushing is all that’s required. It is recommended that you bath these dogs only when necessary, else the natural oils in the weather-resistant coat will be removed resulting in dry and flaky skin. Otherwise, the Kelpie is a relatively low-maintenance breed.
The Kelpie is renowned for being a very sound breed, with no inherited health problems. Just make sure to provide proper nutrition for your Kelpie, and not let it get overweight.
The Australian Kelpie typically lives around 12-15 Years
5 Fun Facts about Australian Kelpie
Australian Kelpies need a lot of exercise to be at their happiest, else will be prone to develop behavioral problems. In addition to having lots of space to run around, the Kelpie requires a good jog or long workout combined with mental exercises. Kelpies are simply not suited to apartment living. Obedience lessons and exercise should be done daily. Obedience training is essential, especially if you choose to keep a working Kelpie as a pet. That very same animal may become a high maintenance dog. Kelpies are workaholics and prefer to have a job to do. If not, they will try to herd other dogs, pets, even children.