Is the Australian Kelpie the Right Dog Breed for You?

by PetCloud / Breed Search / 25 Jul 2020

Brown Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpies were bred to herd and are beloved by Australian farmers for their hard work ethic. These dogs love to have work to do, whether it's as a herder service dog or yard work companion. Learn everything you need to know about this beloved Australian dog breed. 

Breed Snapshot: 

  • Size: Medium. Weight: 13-19kg. Height: 39-51cm
  • Coat: Short-haired rough or smooth coat in shades of black, tan, red, blue, and fawn.
  • Energy: High energy. They require at least 60 minutes of exercise per day.
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Country of Origin: Australia
  • Breed Type: Sheep Dog
  • Other Names: None
  • Great Breed for: Owners who can give it lots of attention and activity. Not a great option for apartment living and not for families with young children. 

What Is an Australian Kelpie?

An Australian kelpie is a high-energy dog that was bred to work--specifically, herding sheep and other farm animals. This breed is lively and thrives on activity; without it, it can become destructive and unhappy. Australian kelpies were bred from collies as well as dingoes--and they retain a hint of wildness with their true independent streak.  

On the other hand, independence is one of the traits this dog is revered for among farmers, who relied on it to perform its herding duties without much supervision. This dog will herd anything--particularly other animals and young children. This means it may not be appropriate for households with young kids and other pets because it's prone to nipping as it herds its flock this way and that. This dog thrives in homes where it has lots of activity and backyard to roam in. 


What Do Australian Kelpies Look Like?

Australian kelpies are medium-sized dogs with upright V-shaped ears and a sturdy athletic appearance. They sport a short-haired coat that comes in shades or red, fawn, blue, chocolate, and black. These dogs have a double coat, with the top coat being more weather-resistant and suited for its time spent outdoors. 

What Makes the Australian Kelpie Special?

As a high-energy worker, the Australian kelpie is a popular breed among owners living in rural settings--especially farmers and owners of livestock. The breed is able to spend long days outdoors in the hot sun performing its duties. It's both tough and intelligent. In terms of companionship, these dogs are independent but form close bonds with their human owners. In fact, they do not do very well indoors when left on their own. While they can be trusted to work independently, being on their own indoors often leads them into mischief making. 

These dogs are decidedly not ideal for apartment living. They are also not ideal pets for families with young children. They need a fenced-in backyard and some occupation. They are very trainable as herding dogs, guide dogs, and rescue dogs. 

How Often Do I Need to Groom My Australian Kelpie?

The Australian kelpie does not have extensive grooming requirements. Simply brush it once or twice per week to remove any shedded hair and bathe as needed.  

How Often Should I Walk My Australian Kelpie?

The Australian kelpie is a highly active breed that thrives on activity and work. It should have at least an hour a day of exercise. It's a great companion dog for active owners and will also enjoy getting exercise in the backyard. 

How Do I Train My Australian Kelpie?

Australian kelpie dogs respond well to consistent positive reinforcement training. They need this training, or they're apt to get into mischief by following their own independent inclinations. Pet Cloud features dog training classes in blocks of six-week, one-hour sessions with registered trainers. An experienced trainer will visit your house or apartment and use positive reinforcement techniques as recommended by the RSPCA to teach your Australian kelpie puppy.  

Quickfire Australian Kelpie Questions: 

Can I leave my Australian Kelpie alone during the day?

The Australian kelpie is not a breed that does well when it's cooped up indoors alone. Its lively nature requires activity and work. Though independent and not particularly needy of human companionship to the excessive extent that some dogs are, these dogs do need supervising or they're apt to chew and make a mess.  


Are Australian Kelpies barkers?

Usually barking isn't an issue for this breed unless it's not getting the activity it needs. If your Australian kelpie is forming a barking habit, be sure to employ silence commands or provide it with some extra activity to curb this noisy habit. 

Are Australian Kelpies prone to health risks I should know about?

As with other breeds, the Australian Kelpie may be prone to certain health concerns, but in general these are healthy dogs with a relatively long life expectancy. Some conditions owners should watch out for include hip dysplasia and progressive renal atrophy. 

Where can I get an Australian Kelpie?

If you want to rescue and adopt an Australian kelpie dog, check with your local rescue agencies. You may be able to find a dog who simply needs the right companion and living situation. Sometimes these purebred dogs are turned in to rescue organizations when the owners realize that these dogs need more activity and attention than they can provide. With the right setting and owners, this breed is likely to do well. Check out the RSPCA'sadoption guide to see if this is the ideal solution for you. If you want to purchase your Australian kelpie from a reputable breeder, use this helpful guide for finding the right breeder from the RSPCA. 



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