The Australian Kelpie is a well-known working dog in Australia and New Zealand, but the exact origins of the breed are a matter of debate – some sources report the dog was originally bred in Scotland, while others say the Kelpie was created in Australia by cross breeding domestic dogs with dingoes. Many Kelpies are bred for their herding abilities, and they are exported to other parts of the world to herd cattle, sheep, goats and other farm animals. However, because of their loyal, intelligent natures, they are also popular family pets.
Because they are working dogs, they do need to be exercised every day. Kelpies have huge reservoirs of energy and are tireless runners. If you need a friend to take on your daily run, your Kelpie will always be willing. They are tough, intelligent and very loyal. They are also eager to please and quite alert, so make good family pets. If raised with children, your Kelpie will be great with kids. However, given their energy levels, they aren’t the best dogs for busy families who don’t have the time to spend on exercise and training. If they get bored, Kelpies can become frustrated.
Given their intelligence and eager-to-please natures, they are easy to train, but their intelligence also means they can be independent – Kelpies have been known to ignore their owners to head off on their own to herd a group of children or run after another dog’s ball.
Kelpies have slim, compact bodies and strong limbs. The head is long and narrow and the chest is broad. They have a double coat consisting of a thick undercoat and weather-resistant outer coat. Kelpies are easy to groom and they should be brushed regularly as they shed a lot of hair. Give them a bath every month or so – more regular baths will strip the natural oils and dry out their skin.
Kelpies come in a range of colours including red and black – with or without tan markings – plus chocolate and blue. They should weigh between 15 and 20 kilos, and can live for up to 14 years.
While they are energetic dogs, Kelpies usually don’t require extra food, unless they are very busy working dogs. Like many dogs they can overeat, so be careful about overfeeding.