By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 22nd October 2022

Australian Kelpie


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 22nd October 2022

The Australian Kelpie is a purebred sheep dog that can successfully muster livestock with minimal guidance. Slightly longer than its height, this dog gets a flexible, energetic appearance for its firm hindquarters and broad chest. Characterized by short, well-developed limbs, well-arched toes, medium-length tail and an elongated head, this working dog fascinates the breeders more by its ability to work rather than by its appearance.

Australian Kelpie Pictures

Quick Information

Other NicknamesKelpie, Barb, Farmer Dog
CoatDouble, Short, Dense, Water-Resistant
ColorBlack, Red, Blue, Fawn, Cream, Fawn and Tan, Blue and Tan, Red and Tan, Black and Tan
Breed TypePurebred
Group of BreedWorking, Herding
Lifespan10-15 years
Weight31-44 lb (14-20 kg)
Size and Height16-20 inches (41-51 cm)
TemperamentIntelligent, Friendly, Energetic, Eager, Loyal, Alert
Good with ChildrenYes
Size of Litter4-7 puppies
Country Originated inAustralia
Competitive RegistrationUKC, FCI, NAAKR, KCGB, ACA, DRA, APRI, ACR, NZKC, NKC, CKC, ANKC

Australian Kelpie Video


Previously believed to have originated during the 1870s, it was considered that the Australian Kelpie is a cross between the Dingo and the Border Collie, until accurate documentation revealed its development from North Country Collies of Rutherford strain. Brought to Australia in the late 19th century, it is now one of the most renowned working dogs in the country.


  1. Working Kelpie: They have smooth, short, or rough coat that can be any color including cream, light tan, and black. This variety sheds out its double coat in spring.
  2. Show Kelpie (Bench Kelpie): They have short, solid-colored, double coats with pricked ears. They are shorter and bulkier than the Working variety.


Temperament and Intelligence

Australian Kelpies are alert, vigorous, independent, enthusiastic, highly intelligent, and exceptionally loyal and obedient with an eagerness to please, which make them a faithful companion. If the puppies are properly socialized, they are compatible with

They, however, seem to be a smart breed, with their independent nature and high level of intellect making them quite difficult to thrive in an apartment life, especially if they have not much to do.

If the puppies are properly socialized, they are compatible with children, and can be caring and protective when required. Although known to be unaggressive, their nipping ability helps them tackle more stubborn livestock. By instinct, the untrained young is able to work out the actions of experienced dogs.



These high-stamina dogs get bored easily especially if confined to a crate or not given too much of physical or mental exercise, that may give rise to destructive behavior, even to the extent of harming themselves.

The owners should take their Australian Kelpies for long walks, hikes, and jogs regularly to release physical and mental energy. Instinctively, the dog understands that the pack leader walks first, hence the owner should be alert that the dog is walking behind or beside them, and not in front. Games combined with fun and frolic can curb the dog’s instinctual urges to chase, dig, chew and retrieve. This highly energetic breed is not suitable for suburban or apartment life.


Australian Kelpies can be easily groomed, as they need occasional brushing and combing, except during molting. For retaining the natural oils secreted in their water-resistant coat that prevents the skin from drying out, they shouldn’t be bathed and cleansed frequently.

Health Problems

This sound breed has no particular health issues except common disorders like luxating patella, cerebellar abiotrophy, hip dysplasia, cryptorchidism, as also PRA, which might cause partial or complete blindness.


These intelligent dogs need a firm owner who would manage it in a tactful manner, keeping a check on its independent and stubborn nature.

These tireless working dogs can respond to the signals and gestures given by their owners, even from great distances. The handler must use fair training methods to train the dog firmly.

Working Kelpies must learn basic obedience and then master the skills required to herd animals. The dog should be trained on the minimums like “Sit”, “Heel”, “Stay”, “Leave it”, “Come”, and “Off”. Snacks can be used as incentive and recognition. Show Kelpies must be trained to increase its agility. This includes directing the dog through an obstacle course off the leash. Lure coursing is another important training exercise for this breed in which it pursues a mechanical lure.


This breed should be fed with a balanced diet that consists of bones, fresh meat, dry foods and fresh vegetables and fruits. The owners may include a spoonful of fresh yogurt in their diet.

Interesting Facts

  • The name “Kelpie” has been obtained from “water kelpie”, a term used by the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, in his novel “Kidnapped”.
  • These workaholic dogs can work throughout the day even in extreme heat and can cover 1000-4000 acres of space to herd livestock.
  • A Show Kelpie named “Riley” holds the world-record for jumping 2.95 m at the Victoria Kelpie Festival.

5 responses to “Australian Kelpie”

  1. Sam Hall says:

    I lost my beautiful Kelpie (some have asked me over the years if he had Shepherd in him) on Saturday afternoon. He was 13.5 yrs old. I am shattered by my loss. He was a beautiful, gentle boy who was so loyal and loved me and I, him. he was incredibly smart but had slowed down in the last 12 months and had some ageing ailments.
    The tragedy of it is I accidentally ran him over in the driveway, I didn’t see him at all. My grief and guilt is overwhelming. He was the best dog in the world and I miss him terribly. RIP MANU BOY xx forever in my heart.

  2. Lisa says:

    I am looking for a Kelpie mix with border collie or smaller breed I want to find reputable breeders. any suggestions

  3. Cathie Olson says:

    Last year, I adopted a dog that had been abused for much of her first year of life. The shelter said she was a Cattle Dog. But, in researching further, though, I do think she’s a mix, I’m pretty certain the predominate breed is Australian Kelpie. She has pretty much all the physical markings (including the ruff around the neck, and, I LOVE how easy her coat is, to care for!), though, she doesn’t have the large, pointed ears, her face is mostly golden, with kind of a widow’s peak of black, in the middle of her forehead, continuing to a bit to each side, in front of her ears, and, her tail is much curlier than most pics and descriptions I’ve seen.

    Ironically, because she’s an abused rescue, the shelter wanted her placed with someone who could be around her most of the time. I’m disabled (Fibromyalgia, and some disc problems in my neck), and, I do live in a suburban setting. But, as the past year has gone by (adopted her 9/20 last year, and, she’ll be 2, 10/18), though she’s improved HUGELY, from that scared of so many things, ready to defend herself, at all times, pup, I still can’t totally trust her not to be triggered by something, and react, by barking aggressively, or, even worse, snarling and snapping. I don’t think she’ll ever be able to be around kids, other than quick intros with a treat, and, I have to always be aware of any men around us (it was the bf who abused her; we have a general description, but, she will go after some men that are nothing like the description!). She has never bitten anybody, and, I work with her constantly, to keep it that way. Her behavior gets better and better every day. I take her to the dog park, so she can run, and socialize, which she loves. I’m also training her to be my service dog. She does the service part great. It’s just, if I can’t get her to a point where I can be absolutely certain she won’t be triggered, I’ll have to give up on that. Though, she can still help me as a service dog at home, and elsewhere. She helps steady me, and, picks things up for me, as it’s hard for me to bend and pick things up, w/o losing my balance.

    Despite all the challenges, I am so very glad this little girl came into my life!

    Thank you for this page, it has quite a bit of information on the breed!

    I wish I could post a pic here!

  4. Amy says:

    I’m looking for pics of what a kelpie x mini poodle would look like grown up…. does anyone have any idea where I could find some info on this mix ?

  5. Lyle Collins says:

    I’m looking at developing a start-up company and I am thinking of developing a logo by significantly modifying your photo (kelpie pup with one ear upright and one ear flopped down). Would you give me permission to do that?

    Kind regards,

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