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Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpie is an active, friendly and enthusiastic working dog. These medium sized dogs are quite popular as sheepdogs in Australia due to their ability to work sheep, goats, cattle, poultry, reindeer etc under variable and harsh conditions in Australia.

Apart from herding, these agile dogs are also good at competitive obedience, agility and tracking. When trained properly, they also make good police dogs, guide dogs and therapy dogs.

The breed, also known as Barb, Kelpie or Australian Sheepdog is believed to have descended from the Collies of Northern England.

The breed was then imported to Australia. However, some believe that Australian Kelpie dog breed was developed by the cross breeding of Dingoand Border Collie. The breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Physical Appearance

Australian Kelpie dog breed is characterized by a compact, robust body and well developed limbs. Body is slightly longer than it is tall. The dogs used for show purposes are shorter and heaver than the ones used as working dogs.

Head is long and narrow. Eyes are set wide apart. They are almond shaped and dark in color. They tend to have natural prick ears. Tail is low set and moderate in length. As these dogs are mostly used as working dogs, there is no specific breed standard for these dogs.

Color: These dogs come in a variety of colors such as red, tan, black, chestnut, smoky blue, black and tan, red and tan, black and chestnut, chocolate and blue etc.
Height: Average height of these dogs and bitches is 17 to 20 inches.
Weight: The ideal weight of both male as well as female Australian Kelpies ranges between 25 to 45 pounds.

Health Problems

These dogs are relatively healthy but may be susceptible to health issues like Hip Dysplasia, Luxating Patella, Cerebellar Abiotrophy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) etc.
Life Expectancy: The average Australian Kelpie life span is about 10 to 14 years.
Litter Size: 4 to 7 puppies

Grooming Requirements

The dog is characterized by a double coat consisting of harsh, straight, weather resistant outer coat and soft, dense under coat. The short and average shedding hair coat is easy to care for and needs to be brushed and combed occasionally, preferably twice a week.

Bathe the dog only when necessary so as to retain the weather resistant texture. Other Australian Kelpie grooming responsibilities include regularly trimming toenails, checking and cleaning ears, brushing teeth and so on.


Australian Kelpie temperament is loyal, alert, friendly, responsive, energetic, intelligent and protective but not aggressive. These dogs are good with kidsand get along well with other pets in the house.

They may try to herd other household pets because of their strong herding instincts. Although these dogs are rarely affectionate, they leave no stones unturned to please their owners with their inexhaustible energy and extreme devotion.

However, they can become independent and strong willed at times. Therefore, Australian Kelpie puppies should be trained and socialized right from the beginning to avoid problem behaviors. These smart and trainable dogs respond well to firm and consistent training rather than harsh training.

Do not leave your beloved Australian Kelpie alone for long durations otherwise the dog may develop symptoms of separation anxiety.

These dogs make outstanding family companions and vigilant watchdogs. They are best matched with active and assertive yet gentle dog owners who understand canine instincts.

Key Points

These active and energetic working dogs do best when engaged in a job requiring adequate mental and physical stimulation.

Otherwise, they tend to become bored and engage in destructive behaviors. They need a lot of exercise on a regular basis and do well when taken for long daily walks or jogs.

They can withstand hot as well as cold climates. These one-person dogs can also stay outdoors, provided there is shelter for them. Australian Kelpie dogs are usually considered more suitable for rural settings rather than apartment dwelling as they need plenty of room to play and work.