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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Australian Kelpie


Australian Kelpie Facts

  • Group
  • Herding
  • Affiliations
  • UKC, CKC
  • Height
  • 17" - 20" (43 - 51cm)
  • Weight
  • 25 - 50lbs (11.3 - 22.6kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Brown
    • Red
    • Fawn
    • Blue
    • Black / Tan
    • Black
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Australian Kelpie is also known as Kelpie or Barb.


The Australian Kelpie breed originated in Australia.

Date Of Origin

The Australian Kelpie was created in 1870's.


The Australian Kelpie descended from Scottish and British collies. There is speculation that the dingo was introduced into their breeding at some point, but it is not confirmed. The first "Kelpie" was a black and tan female pup with floppy ears bought by Jack Gleeson about 1872 from a litter born on Warrock Station near Casterton, owned by George Robertson, a Scot. This dog was named after the mythological kelpie from Celtic folklore. Legend has it that "Kelpie" was sired by a dingo, but there is little evidence for or against this. In later years she was referred to as "(Gleeson's) Kelpie", to differentiate her from "(King's) Kelpie", her daughter.

The Australian Kelpie was bred specifically to herd sheep and to handle the harsh, hot landscape, extensive acreage and unruly Merino sheep on Australian stations.


The Australian Kelpie is a muscular but agile, medium sized dog. It is longer than it is high with a rounded skull and tapered muzzle, which is equal in length or slightly shorter than the skull. It has gold to brown, almond shaped eyes and large, widely spaced prick ears. There is a strong neck and deep chest. The long brush tail is slightly curved when at rest and raised when active. The double coat has a dense under coat. There is a ruff at the neck.


The Australian Kelpie is a highly intelligent dog that lives to work, and will enthusiastically work any type of livestock including cattle, goats, sheep, or even poultry. It has a natural instinct and aptitude in the working of livestock, both in a confined area and in open country. Although active and intense at work, the Australian Kelpie is mild and easygoing at home. The Australian Kelpie is friendly but rarely affectionate and tends to be a one-person dog that is devoted solely to that person.

Training should begin early and early socialization will get him used to a variety of people and pets. The Austrailian Kelpie can also be a protective watchdog.


The Australian Kelpie is a marvelous herd dog, hardy, fast, and ready to respond immediately to any signal given by it's master, even from a great distance. This dog is used for livestock herding, and as a companion in a rural setting.

Health Concerns

Potential health issues for the Australian Kelpie include PRA.

Additional Information

The Australian Kelpie does best with an active owner and an opportunity to participate in a job or activity. The Australian Kelpie needs space to run and cannot live in an apartment, city type area, or small home. He will need vigorous daily exercise such as running alongside a bicycle, agility training, flyball, or any other high-intensity dog sport.

Grooming the Australian Kelpie is easy and includes regular brushing twice weekly, with daily brushing during spring and fall.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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