The Australian Kelpie
The Australian Kelpie has a compact body and well-developed limbs. Slightly longer than they are tall, they have a broad chest and firm hindquarters that contribute to their flexible, energized appearance. The head is long and narrow. The medium length tail is low set. The short, compact feet have well arched toes. They in three coat types, smooth, short, and rough, with almost every color from black through light tan or cream. They used to have a double coat, but this has largely disappeared.
They weigh 25 to 45 pounds with a life expectancy of 10 to 14 years. Beware of PRA= Progressive Retinal Atrophy – retinal degeneration causing partial to total blindness. They are easy to groom an occasional combing and brushing is all that they need. Bathe only when necessary as it will remove the natural oils in the weather-resistant coat and dry out the skin.
There are two separate registries for Kelpies. The Working Kelpie Council for herding ability and allows a wider variety of coat colors. The Australian National Kennel Council encourages breeding for appearance and limits colors, promoting solid colors over others. They are also registered with the American Rare Breed Association.
Excellent at herding, the Australian Kelpie is far too work-oriented and energetic for apartment existence. They are devoted one-person dog that will guard their family and belongings when necessary, regardless of the risk to themselves. They are ready to respond immediately to any signal given by its master, even from a great distance. They will try to herd other animals and children whether they want to be herded or not.
They are good with children when they are raised with them from puppy hood. One of the basic prerequisites for your children and your puppy to have a good relationship is to teach the child, as well as the puppy, what is allowed. Babies and toddlers should not be left unattended with your dog, no matter what breed. A child should learn not to handle the dog roughly or tease him. The parent, not the child, should be responsible for correcting the puppy if he gets too rough. Puppies and dogs have a tendency to look at children as “siblings” in the social order of the family, and the dog should never be allowed to get the upper position over the child. Something that sometimes occurs with puppies of herding breeds and kids is that, in play, the puppy may chase and nip at the heels of the child. This is because the dog is bred to herd and he is trying to “herd” the child because it is natural to herd something moving. In this situation, it is a good idea to have the child stop running and tell the dog “no bite.” This should not be confused with actually trying to harm the child, but the game should not be encouraged.
This workaholic will work until it drops. They are independent and in business for themselves rather than for pleasing a handler. Boredom is the breed’s doom. In their native country of Australia, they work all day even in intense heat, covering 1,000 to 4,000-plus acres. The breed uses “eye” similar to the Border collie’s on the tractable stock, but utilizes its nipping ability to turn more stubborn cattle. Working Kelpies are renowned for running along the backs of sheep when moving them through chutes. They can also be trained as seeing-eye dogs.
For more information about these dogs you can go to these sites:
There are no “stand alone” Kelpie rescues, but you can contact:
There is a yahoo group for people who care about and rescue Kelpies on their own:
Kelpie rescue – Australian Kelpie Rescue