By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022



Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Koolie is a breed of Australian dog that came to the continent along with the German settlers around two centuries ago. Known to be an excellent herding dog, the Koolie has a stoutly-built stature with a broad head and a long, protruding muzzle ending in a round, dark nose. They have bright, expressive eyes, semi-erect, triangular-shaped ears, slim legs and a hanging fox-like bushy tail. The Koolie breed has not yet got any recognition from any major kennel clubs.

Koolie Pictures

Quick Description

Other NamesAustralian Koolie, German Koolie, German Coolie, Coulie
CoatShort, medium, smooth
ColorsChocolate, Merle, Red Merle, Blue Merle, Tri Merle, Tri-color, Black
(red merle and blue merle with white markings being most common)
Group (of Breed)Herding Dog, Working Dog
Lifespan12-18 years
Weight33-53 pounds (15-24 kg) (full grown male/female)
SizeMedium; 13-23 inches (34-60 cm)
Litter Size4-6 puppies at a time
Personality TraitsDominant, brave, loyal, playful, intelligent, alert
Good with ChildrenYes
Good with PetsYes (including dogs)
Suitable for SinglesYes
Country of OriginAustralia
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationAHBA, ANKC, APRI, ASAP, ASCA, DRA, KCA, NZCCC, TWBF, VGAP

Video: Training the Koolie Dog

History & Development

Nothing much has been documented about the Koolie breed. As a working dog, they were well suited to take care of cattle, sheep, and goats equally well. It is generally believed that they are the descendants of the blue merle Collie as well as the Black and Tan Coolie which were imported to Australia by Thomas S. Hall, who established the Australian Cattle Dog breed. Some people also claim that they have descended from a herding breed from Europe, the ‘German Tiger’. However, there has been no genetic evidence to support this belief.

However, it is normally presumed that this dog was imported to Australia by the early German immigrants, for which many people still call it the German Koolie. Since these immigrants could not correctly pronounce the word ‘collie’, they began referring them in their own way as ‘coolie’ (or koolie).

Until the 19th century, the breed served as an all-purpose dog. During this time, one of the individuals accidentally mated with the Aussie dog Dingo, a native wild breed. This resulted in the creation of a new line that had a short coat adapted to the local warm climatic conditions. Interestingly, this natural cross gained much fame and was even used in the development of the future Australian working breeds like the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Kelpie.

Several initiatives were taken for setting the standards of the breed. However, it was difficult to establish an official status since there was not enough static records or documentation regarding its bloodlines.

In 2000, the Koolie Club of Australia was founded, while in the early half of 2006, the ‘Stockdog Committee of the Australian Shepherd Club of America’ voted to recognize Koolie as a herding breed. In June 2006, the effort was a success as the AHBA (American Herding Breed Association) included the breed into their list of recognized breeds.

Temperament and Behavior

The Koolie dog has a strong working instinct and is extremely intelligent and active. They are non-aggressive dogs with a balanced, easy-going and fun-loving disposition that makes them an excellent companion to their family members.

Because of their obedient nature, and a natural eagerness to be trained, they are often used in sports and other activities, including agility and pet therapy. However, they do not prefer staying alone, and might get destructive, if left ignored or unattended for long hours.

Koolies do best when outdoors, and can get along well with kids and other pets. They have an outstanding sense of smell, and can even spot a lamb from a considerable distance, which is lying ill and is in need of attention.

In rural Australia, as well as in many parts of Europe and US, this breed has been popular for its unique flock-gathering and herding techniques. This trait has enabled them to keep watchful eyes on an entire flock of sheep at a time, rather than staying focused only on the one in front of it.



Koolie is a high-energy breed that requires a significant amount of care and exercise. This breed is not a good choice for city dwellers, but for those who have a spacious house with a considerably large, fenced-in space for it to play. If you have a Koolie, you must take it out for a long walk for a minimum of 45 minutes daily.


Grooming the Koolie is easy since it has a short to medium coat. However, they do shed moderately. Use a hard bristle brush to clean its hair twice or thrice a week, since this herding dog has a tendency to catch dirt quickly.

Health Problems

In general, this Aussie dog is a healthy breed with a relatively higher lifespan and a very few health issues. However, there have been some reports related to eye problems and deafness.


  • Koolies, at times, might display a dominant nature, which, if noticed in your puppy, should immediately be dealt with. In such cases, you should begin training your dog to follow your footsteps when both of you are together, as in going out for a walk, or even indoors. Such a practice would teach your puppy to accept you as the superior. A follower puppy feels secure since it will then learn to believe that you are its ‘leader’ who is in charge of it and its activities.
  • Make sure your dog’s natural herding instincts do not come out from time to time. If so, your dog might want to enforce it on your neighbor’s non-canine pets, leaving you embarrassed. For this, beginning with leash training at a very early age is crucial. Train your puppy to move out with you wearing its leash. Every time it readily wears the leash, praise it and give it its favorite snack. This would motivate your pup to wear its leash for a hug and a tasty reward.


A medium size dog like Koolie needs about 2½ to 3 cups of high-quality dry dog foods, divided into two meals.

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