The Australian Kelpie was originally bred to herd livestock independently in the hot Australian climate. The breed has retained the characteristics needed for this purpose to this day and is still used as a herding dog in Australia and the United States.
The Australian Kelpie is happiest when he has a job to do and he is easy to train. Therefore, he is great for dog sports or tracking and rescue tasks.
If you are interested in an Australian Kelpie, you should take into account that these dogs have a lot of energy and a high need for exercise. Even though they can perform tasks independently, they need a lot of human affection and guidance.
The Australian Kelpie is considered one of the best sheepdogs in the world due to its intelligence and eagerness to work. In the FCI classification, it is assigned to Group 1 Herding and Drifting Dogs (excluding Swiss Mountain Dogs), Section 1 Sheepdogs.
The Australian Kelpie is extremely alert, eager and highly intelligent. It has a mild, yielding disposition and an almost inexhaustible energy. Its strong loyalty and devotion to duty make it a faithful companion.
Origin And Breed History
In the vast tracts of land in the states of New South Wales and Victoria in Australia, the number of sheep decreased dramatically in the 18th century. Therefore, reliable dogs were needed to keep the animals in large areas.
The dogs had to work under very difficult conditions. As with so many breeds, the origin of the Australian Kelpie is disputed. However, there is no doubt that it is a crossbreed of dogs imported from Scotland in the 18th century Collies is involved.
These dogs were black and brown, long haired and medium sized. They were crossed with other breeds and probably even wild dingoes were among them.
The bred breed was hardy, able to withstand the harsh climate of the continent and work practically continuously. Ranchers valued them for their intelligence and ability to act independently.
The first dog named “Kelpie” was purchased in 1872 by a man named Jack Gleeson from a Scotsman named George Robertson. He named him Kelpie after a shape-shifting water spirit from Celtic mythology.
These creatures can appear horse or human. The only myterious thing about the Australian Kelpie, however, is whether it really has dingo blood. The breed has been crossed with many other dog breeds.
The Australian Kelpie was later exported to other countries around the world, especially the United States. There he adapted very easily to the climate, terrain and variety of livestock.
In the meantime, the Australian Kelpie is found all over the world and is still frequently used as a herding dog. The special thing about it is that the Australian Kelpie likes to walk over the backs of the animals while working.
Appearance Of The Australian Kelpie
The medium-sized Australian Kelpie has a compact body that is slightly longer than it is tall. A broad chest and firm hindquarters contribute to its flexible, energetic appearance. The head is long and narrow, somewhat reminiscent of a fox with the pointed ears.
The eyes are almond shaped and the fangs are clearly marked. The bushy tail hangs down in a slight curve. The short, compact feet have well arched toes.
The Australian Kelpie’s short hair and short, dense undercoat protect him from extreme temperatures and are waterproof thanks to the hard, flat lying surface coat. Today, the Australian Kelpie is mostly bred with a solid color coat.
Character And Temperament
The Australian Kelpie is a highly intelligent dog that requires loving leadership, consistent training and plenty of daily exercise. One task at which the Australian Kelpie excels is as a watchdog.
He has an alert nature and wants to let you know about anyone or anything unusual, so he likes to bark at times. The Australian Kelpie herds livestock by nipping at the animals’ heels.
If there is no herd of animals to supervise, this behavior can be transferred to children or other pets. For that reason, it is important to give the Australian Kelpie challenging and interesting chores or games that will provide the exercise and mental stimulation it needs.
An Australian Kelpie can be a search and rescue dog, scent hound, assistance dog, or therapy dog, and he is great at dog sports. A few long daily walks, jogs or hikes will also help satisfy his need for activity.
It takes a lot of time and effort to keep him occupied to his satisfaction. Early socialization is critical to prevent the Australian Kelpie from becoming overly suspicious or fearful of anything new.
Buy your Kelpie puppy from a breeder who raises puppies indoors and ensures that he is exposed to many different household sights and sounds, as well as people. An Australian Kelpie that is meant to be a family friend needs a lot of socialization.
Husbandry And Diet
Continue socializing your Australian Kelpie throughout his life by taking him to dog school, visiting friends and neighbors, and going on outings. Although he loves the outdoors, the Australian Kelpie is by no means a backyard dog; he must live indoors.
He was bred to work with people. Without physical and mental stimulation, the Australian Kelpie becomes bored. He becomes hyperactive and can develop obsessive, destructive behaviors. Because of his high intelligence, he learns quickly and is a master escape artist who is also great over and under fences.
The Australian Kelpie does well on a high quality dog food, whether commercially produced or home prepared as directed by a veterinarian. The diet should be appropriate for the age of the dog.
Sometimes the Australian Kelpie can be prone to obesity. Therefore, you should pay attention to your pet’s weight and calorie consumption. Treats can be an important tool in training, but giving too much can cause obesity.
Consult your veterinarian if you have questions about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean and fresh water should be available at all times.
Education And Care
The Australian Kelpie’s natural instincts can make it difficult to live with small children or other pets. It tends to nip at its heels to round up its “herd.”
Their distrust of strangers can also make things difficult when children have young friends. However, all of these tendencies can be kept under control and redirected to constructive behaviors with the right education.
It is helpful to start training early in life. If you plan to add an Australian Kelpie to your family, you should be ready and able to provide him with the training he needs.
The Australian Kelpie has low to moderate grooming needs. Brush the dog’s coat once or twice a week to remove dead hair and keep shedding to a minimum.
The Australian Kelpie sheds more than usual in the spring, so he may need additional brushing during this time. His nails are usually filed naturally as he walks, although they should be checked for damage and trimmed as needed.
Teeth should be brushed regularly and ears should be checked for signs of debris, parasites or infections and kept clean. Bathe the Australian Kelpie as needed.
Health And Typical Diseases
The health of the Australian Kelpie is generally very good. The breed may be genetically predisposed to a few diseases that owners should watch out for.
These include cryptorchidism (only one testicle), hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, collie eye anomaly, and cerebellar abiotrophy. Cerebellar abiotrophy is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement.
These conditions are fairly uncommon, but it is important to be vigilant. Regular visits to the veterinarian should definitely be made.
Do not buy a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written proof that the parents are clear of health problems affecting the breed.
Life Expectancy Of The Australian Kelpie
The Australian Kelpie is a very healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 12-15 years.
Buying Australian Kelpie Dog Breed
Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right dog. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will be happy to provide proof that they have done all the necessary health certifications.
This will eliminate health problems as much as possible. Never, ever, buy a puppy from a pet store, from an internet site that offers many breeds, or from an internet site that ships dogs with no questions asked.
If you buy a puppy from these sources, you are supporting the cruelty of puppy mills, and you will probably get a sick, unsocialized, and hard to keep animal.
You may consider purchasing an adult dog from a shelter or animal rescue. The Australian Kelpie puppy needs a lot of attention and training and health problems sometimes occur after maturity.
You can avoid these problems by adopting an adult Australian Kelpie.
You should not underestimate the stamina and endurance of the Australian Kelpie. This breed is not suitable for people who cannot invest time and effort in training, socializing and exercising the dog.
The Australian Kelpie loves to work and perform tasks. A bored or ignored Australian Kelpie can be a difficult and destructive pet.
For this reason, we do not recommend this breed for people looking to acquire a dog for the first time. The Australian Kelpie is a fairly rare dog. If the opportunity arises to get one, you should really consider it.