The Australian Kelpie: All About this Breed

When it comes to energetic dogs, the Australian kelpie is no exception. In addition to being intelligent, it has great energy and a demeanor that will make anyone fall in love with it.
The Australian Kelpie: All About this Breed
Samuel Sanchez

Reviewed and approved by the biologist Samuel Sanchez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

The Australian Kelpie is an agile, intelligent, hardworking, and obedient dog. In addition, this wonderful animal develops a very strong bond with its owner. It does not tend to bark a lot unless it feels the need, so it is also suitable for all those who seek tranquility in their home environment.

This dog is always willing to learn, is very easy to train and has unimaginable energy. If you want to know more about this breed or you are researching if having a kelpie is right for you, you can find out here, so be sure to read on!


The Kennel Club tells that this breed originated from Collies from the north of England, however, some experts believe that it’s the result of a cross between dingoes and Border Collies . Its history dates back to 1870, when the Scottish family Rutherford emigrated to Australia with 6 black and brown collies. These dogs aroused the interest of the shepherds in that country by the excellent work they carried out.

Because of this, they began to cross these dogs with other sheepdogs and from these crosses a bitch named Kelpie was born (this name means “water spirit” in Gaelic). She won a sheepherding trial in 1873. From then on, the demand for these dogs increased and they became known as kelpies. The offspring also excelled in herding trials.

The Australian kelpie.

Physical characteristics

The Kelpie’s build is muscular and compact, but flexible. Males measure between 46 and 51 centimeters (18 to 20 inches) and females between 43 and 48 centimeters (17 to 19 inches). Both sexes usually weigh between 14 and 21 kilograms (30 to 46 pounds). Its coat is double-layered; it has a dense inner coat and on the outside another one composed of hard hairs.

The head of the Australian Kelpie resembles that of a fox. The color of its fur is very variable, ranging from dark to reddish. They can be black, red, chocolate, and smoke, among others.


This breed is very active, willing to perform tasks, and obedient, which will remind you that they come from the Collie dog . At the same time, it’s restless and quite intelligent. It isn’t suitable for living in a small space without access to the outdoors, as its natural habitat is in the countryside, working with livestock. Because of this, a daily walk may not be enough for a Kelpie.

It’s also a sociable breed. It gets along very well with children, other dogs, and different animals. However, it needs to be properly socialized from an early age. It performs excellently as a guard dog and can also be trained to be a guide dog. It isn’t usually aggressive, but it does protect its family and their belongings if necessary.

This dog is a great worker, especially as a sheepherder, an area in which it’s one of the most popular and successful breeds. When a flock of sheep is herded together, it looks for the shortest path to cross to the other side. It shows incredible dexterity in navigating and directing sheep.

Care tips for the Australian Kelpie

This breed is usually very healthy, hardy, and has a life expectancy of about 13 years. However, it can suffer from retinal conditions on a frequent basis. One problem with this dog is that, even when it’s quite ill, it still has a fair amount of strength, and so its condition is only noticeable when it becomes very ill.

Other conditions this dog often suffers from are cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) and hip dysplasia. Because of this, it’s important to take them to the vet at least once a year, to prevent any problems or diseases. Its vaccination and deworming are essential, especially if they live in the countryside and are in contact with possible disease vectors (ticks and mosquitoes).

In general, there aren’t many specific care tips you need to know about with this breed. However, they need to receive a good diet and expend all their energy on a regular basis. Among all the basic care tips you need to know about, we’re going to mention a few of them in the following paragraphs.


Thanks to its short hair, this dog doesn’t require much brushing. Brushing every 10 days is enough to keep their coats well cared for. However, during the molting season, it’s better to do this more frequently.


As we already mentioned, this dog is very energetic. Because of this, it will need a lot of daily activity in order to be happy and not develop any physical and behavioral problems. The Australian Kelpie requires at least a daily walk of 1 to 2 hours in which it can burn off energy.


The Australian Kelpie needs a very nutritious diet to develop and burn off its energy. Its food should be balanced in protein and nutrients, but adequate according to the activity that the dog performs. Your vet will be able to recommend the amount and type of food to choose.

An Australian Kelpie.

This dog is a wonderful animal. However, it requires a specific lifestyle and certain care tips, in which frequent exercise and quality food are essential. Now that you know all about this breed’s characteristics of this dog, you’ll have a better idea of how to treat them, and know whether it’s a good idea to adopt one as a pet.

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