Australian Kelpie Information

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(Australian Sheepdog, Kelpie, Barb, Australischer Kelpie) Australian Kelpies are working dogs with compact bodies that are built for stamina and endurance. They are just longer than they are tall, and they have broad chests and well-developed limbs. Their sturdy hind quarters give energy and agility to their appearance. Australian Kelpies have a long, narrow head and wide-set, pricked ears. Their feet are compact and have well-arched toes, and their low set tail is of medium length. Australian Kelpies exist in a number of coat colors including black and red, and fawn, blue, or chocolate. Tan markings may be prevalent. Australian Kelpies have a double coat that consists of a hard, straight outer coat and a short, dense undercoat.

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Australian Kelpies are an energetic working breed that has incredible stamina and enthusiasm. The most popular and successful of all working dogs, Australian Kelpies are happiest when given a job to do. Because of their intensity, this breed isn’t suited for indoor or apartment life. They are easily trained and naturally passionate about their work. Australian Kelpies are generally good with children, but they have a tendency to take orders from just one person. Even from a great distance, Australian Kelpies will respond to a signal or command from their owner. They make great watchdogs and they can be trained to become seeing-eye dogs. While the Australian Kelpie isn’t aggressive, he will protect and guard his family and property. This breed will try to herd other dogs, pets, and animals and they will work until they drop. If an Australian Kelpie isn’t given enough space or training, he is likely to become bored and destructive.

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17 – 20 inches
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25 – 45 pounds
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General Health

Some lines of Australian Kelpies are prone to PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) which causes partial to total blindness. Typically, Australian Kelpies live for 10 to 14 years, and they average 4 to 7 puppies per litter.

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Many believe the Australian Kelpie is a cross between the Australian Dingo and the Border Collie, but documentation reveals the breed actually developed from English North Country Collies of the Rutherford strain. Like many other herding breeds, the English North Country Collies were imported to Australia in the latter half of the 19th century. Nearly 100,000 Australian Kelpies live in Australia. The name “Kelpie” comes from the water kelpie that was mentioned y Robert Louis Stevenson in the novel Kidnapped. Australian Kelpies have been acknowledged since 1870.

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Australian Kelpies have a coat that is easy to groom and maintain. They should be bathed only as necessary to avoid removing the natural oils in their hair and skin. An occasional combing and brushing is sufficient to assist the shedding process. Australian Kelpies are average shedders.

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Ideal Environment

Australian Kelpies are working dogs that need rigorous exercise and a job to do. Because of their stamina and high energy level, Australian Kelpies aren’t recommended for a small household or apartment. Their weather-resistant coat allows them to live in a variety of climates and harsh weather conditions. This breed is satisfied to live in sheltered outdoor areas. They are happiest with at least a large backyard.

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Dog Training!

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Australian Kelpie Q&A

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I am looking for a list of cattle dog/Kelpie commands. I want to train him to work cattle on a 452 acre ranch in Texas. Can anyone give me a list of those commands? Thank you !

I live in Australia & own a Kelpie. We run cattle & work our dogs. Until recently I also had a Blue Heeler [unfortunately he went blind as a result of being kicked in the head by a bull & had to be put down]. In answer to your question, I can recommend a fantastic book on the subject of training work-dogs. You will find your Kelpie to be an invaluable asset to your farm, just remember the golden rule of training a work-dog - you have to make your dog feel that he/she is part of the "pack" & you are the leader. This must be acheived without arrgession or intimidation on your part [most important]. Your Kelpie will work for you without threats or fear induced compliance & you will get the most out of your dog. Good Luck! Lyndall


I have 2 Kelpies, one of which is a Fawn & Tan, I appreciate the Fawn is a result of a recessive gene which can also cause skin issues. My Fawn suffers from some hair loss, skin lesions and dry (often smelly) skin, I feed him on Pro Plan Plus (for active dogs), chicken mince and Megaderm supplement but we still can't get the issues completely under control. The vet recommends antibiotics and regular bathing with Maleseb and we condition the coat afterward, I groom regularly but I suspect the bathing, which is required to kill the bacteria, dries the skin even more. I am looking for help/advice to see if there are alternative treatments I could try.

Try Organic coconut oil on the dogs skin. will balance the ph in the skin, and is also anti fungal anti bacterial. this should also provide a barrier to the skin for contact with other irritants

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