Color possibilities include black, and red, each with or without out tan; and fawn, chocolate and blue (gray) from dark to light. Minimal white markings like a spot, strip or a blaze are sometimes present as are white stockings.
17-20 inches (43-51 cm.)
25-45 pounds (11-20 kg.)
17-20 inches (43-51 cm.)
25-45 pounds (11-20 kg.)
This dog is NOT suited for life in an apartment. They are working dogs and need plenty of open space to run. The working Kelpies LIVE to work and need to have a job to do. With the kind of coats they have - all-weather and quite adaptable - they can live in hot and cold climates. They are happiest outdoors with adequate shelter.
The Australian Kelpie has a compact body with well-developed limbs. Slightly longer than he is tall, he has a broad chest and firm hindquarters.
The head is long and narrow. The medium length tail is low set. The short, compact feet have well arched toes. The double coat consists of a short and dense undercoat and a hard, straight and weather-repellent outer coat.
The Working Kelpie (as opposed the the Show Keltie) comes in three coat types, smooth, short and rough. Many Kelpies have a white blaze on the chest, a few have white points. Kelpies used to have a double coat at one time, likely due to environmental factors. Agouti (The Agouti protein causes a banding effect on the hair) is not unusual, and initially looks like a double coat.
Ears are usually widely spaced and pricked, but it seems at least 20% have one or both ears flopped. The ears run to a fine point and are strong at the base. The Kelpie's tail often follows the coat type and varies between smooth and bushy.
Kelpie eyes should be widely spaced medium sized and almond shaped. Eye color should be tawny-gold to brown, harmonizing with coat color. For lighter colored dogs, a hazel eye is apparent as are the matching tan markings above the eye.
The skull is slightly rounded and broad between the ears with the forehead curving very slightly towards a pronounced stop. The foreface is very finely chiseled. The muzzle tapers towards the nose and is rather elegant compared to the skull. The teeth need to be strong and evenly spaced - with a scissors bite.
The outer coat is moderately short, flat, straight and weather resistant with a dense undercoat. Head, ears, feet and leg hair should be short. The coat is longer at the neck, showing a fair amount of ruff. There's a mild breeching, and the hair on the tail is sufficient to form a brush.
The Australian Kelpie (known since 1870) has a really interesting background. Many believe the Kelpie, because of its distinctive face and eyes, is the result of a Dingo crossed with a Border Collie. The Dingo is thought to be the ancestor of all dog breeds - the base stock. The name Kelpie actually comes from the water kelpie in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Kidnapped.
Their actual origin is that they were developed from English North Country Collies of the Rutherford strain. Working dogs, they were imported to Australia in the late 19th century. Currently there are roughly 100,000 Kelpies in service in Australia. They have no limitations and can work reindeer, poultry, goats and cattle. Outstanding in obedience competitions.
This breed has actually been separated into two groups: the Show Kelpie and the Working Kelpie. The Show Kelpie is seen at conformation shows and has almost no herding instict. Working Kelpies are bred for their herding instincts.
The Australian Kelpie is one of the most popular working dogs, as well as one of the most successful. They go until they drop and literally live to work, not work to live. They seem to borrow a page out of the Border Collie's book when it comes to Type A personalities. Very independent thinkers, they loathe boredom and need to have constant stimulation to keep their busy minds engaged.
These are highly devoted one-man dogs with a total goal focus of working, and do not make good indoor pets. They are bred to live outside and thrive on being where they can see different things and do different things.
They are easy to train and they are noted for their keener attitudes - ready to respond instantly to any signal given by their master, even from a long distance. Kelpies, like Border Collies, will attempt to herd other dogs, pets and animals whether they want to be herded or not. They also use a similar technique in herding to the Border Collie's "eye", but nip instead.
They are noted to be able to turn thousands of sheep from the pasture to the pen to the truck. A real sight to behold. What is even more amazing it to watch them walk across a herd of sheep by running across the flock on their backs. Never one to waste time, they take the shortest route to solve herding problems.
The Australian Kelpie is outstanding with children if they are raised with them from puppyhood. The Kelpie is an excellent watchdog and can even be trained as a seeing-eye dog. Although not aggressive, the Kelpie will protect his family and their possessions when needed, no matter what the risk is to himself.
Kelpies are generally a quite hardy breed, but do have some medical conditions to be aware of:
patellar luxation - or trick knee, a condition where the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal location.
The Australian Kelpie is very easy to groom. In fact you can get by with an infrequent combing and brushing. Bathe only when necessary as otherwise it will remove the natural oils in the weather-resistant coat and dry out the skin. This breed is an average shedder.
Since this is an outdoor working dog, and is usually around livestock, you will want to make certain you check them for injuries incurred while working. Cuts, scrapes, bruises and things of that nature. Check for barbed wire cuts or glass and small rocks embedded in their paws. Since they work with livestock, check their teeth on a regular basis for any loose, cracked, chipped or missing teeth due to injury.
Also make certain to check for any wild life that likes to make its home in the fur of passing dogs - whether this is ticks, fleas or other burrowing animals. Even though these dogs are always on the run, pay attention to the length of the toenails.
The Australian Kelpie is a working dog that demands a great deal of exercise, preferably with some kind of job to do. Their energy levels are extremely high!! They are workaholics and will run until they drop!! It is a bit of an understatement to say these dogs actually do best with an athlete's training schedule - daily exercise, and lots of it and intense. These are busy minded and busy bodied dogs with extreme intelligence. If left idle they can become bored and very destructive.
As an additional part of the Kelpie's exercise routine, make sure to stimulate the mind. These dogs excel at problem solving and thrive on being able to do things.
Due to their intelligence, the Kelpie is easy to train, however they tend to use their own initiative. Meaning, they would be less compliant than some other breeds. To have a well trained Kelpie there needs to be a good relationship with their owner and they need to respect that owner.
These dogs think and their ability to solve complex problems is phenomenal. The working Kelpie mostly uses his own initiative and works well in unsupervised conditions. The Kelpie may not wait for a command to act but tries to anticipate what is needed - and usually succeeds in getting it right.
Keep things interesting while you are training. This breed learns fast but can be easily bored. Firm but fair training methods are best. You, not your Kelpie are the Alpha dog - the pack leader. In your home, you are the dog's pack and if you don't set yourself up to be the Alpha dog (leader) your dog will take the role over himself. Anyone can be a pack leader. It is done without being big and mean and scary. It is an attitude, an air of authority. That is what you build upon for mutual respect and communication. First though, your dog must learn you have the power to handle him, and that handling will not lead to any harm. Your dog must come to trust you completely.