The Australian Kelpie has existed since the early 19th century when the wool industry in Australia was flourishing. People needed tough dogs to maintain the sheep and withstand the harsh environment, so they used the Kelpie. They were brought to North America in the midst of the last century and quickly acclimatized to the atmosphere as well as the food. Mostly used by farmers to carry out farming activities is a reason why they are not considered traditional pets. They have been recognized by the United Kennel Club and the North American Kelpie Society which oversees their protection and supervision.
- In his novel “Kidnapped”, Robert Louis Stevenson used the word “water kelpie” from which the name “Kelpie” originated
- These dogs can work throughout the day even in extreme conditions
- At the Victoria kelpie Festival, a Kelpie named “Riley” made a world record for jumping 2.95 m
- Australian Kelpie and Border coolie were crossed
|Facts About Australian Kelpie|
|Breed Group||Herding, Working|
|Country of Origin||Australia|
|Other Names||Australian Sheepdog, Kelpie, Barb, Working Kelpie|
|Size & Height||17-20 inches|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||ACA, ACR, ANKC, CKC, DRA, FCI|
|Litter Size||4-7 puppies|
|Color||Black, red, cream, fawn, blue, blue and tan, black and tan, red and tan, black and white|
|Life Expectancy||10-14 years|
|Coat||Short, Dense, Water-resistant|
There are two varieties of the Australian Kelpie
- Working Kelpie: Seen in cream, light tan and black, they have a smooth or rough coat which sheds in spring. Their use is primarily in farming activities.
- Show Kelpie (Bench Kelpie): These are short and bulkier than the Working kelpies. They have short double coats with pricked ears and are mostly used at display shows.
Temperament & Personality
The Aussie Kelpie is the most hard-working and enthusiastic dog best suited for herding. They are loyal and intelligent but far too workaholic to live in an apartment. Having the characteristics of being reliable, easy to train, keen to work and robust they respond very well to their master’s commands even from a great distance. Barbs are not aggressive but can risk their lives for the safety of their families. This breed exhibits high dominance levels and can hurt other small animals. They are good with children if raised with them from puppyhood. Boredom is their enemy and problems will arise for casual owners if they do not take proper care of the dog.
Working Kelpie dogs need regular exercises to stay fit and healthy. Daily long walks and jogging are imperative for them. Their energy levels are very high and they will run till exhaustion. A leash should be used to make sure the dog is not far away. Hence it is important that the attitude of respecting the master should be taught right from puppyhood. All games and physical exercises of the Kelpie should be energetic.
For minimum shedding, Kelpies should be brushed at least twice a week. Those with double coats will have to be cleaned more often to keep shedding under control. The handlers should look out for the nails as they wear down naturally. Bathe only when necessary to remove the natural oils in the weather resistant skin. Compared to other breeds, this dog is more comfortable to groom.
Statistics related to health issues in Kelpies is very less because most of them are working dogs on farms and their owners don’t belong to any figure collecting organization. According to the Orthopaedic Foundation of America, 8% of 140 Australian Kelpies have dysplastic hips. Some of these dogs are prone to eye diseases such as cataracts, collie eye anomaly and coloboma. A rare neurological complication called cerebellar ataxia can also occur.
People with livestock are ideal owners as Kelpie have various tasks to perform like guarding its property etc.These dogs are always high on energy and need to do some activities continuously. If you don’t have a farm, then hiking adventures and regular joggings will be the way to keep the dogs healthy and entertained. Positive training methods will allow the dog to learn tricks early. Fences are crucial to stop them from running away.
To maintain their agility and energy levels, these dogs must be fed high protein foods like chicken, meat and fresh fruits. Apples and carrots are also advisable if the dog finds hard to chew. Kelpies require food twice a day.