The Australian Kelpie breed originated in Australia. They were created when black collies were brought to the continent in the middle of the 19th century, which interbred with various other breeds, and also, according to some reports, even with the wild Dingo, as evidenced by some external similarity (although studies were conducted in 2019 that established that there are no wild dingoes in the genome).
What came out of these crossbreeds exceeded all breeders’ expectations, and they received a dog that could participate in grazing, moreover, in the hot Australian climate. It cannot be said that professional breeders were engaged in breeding this breed. This statement is also supported by the fact that the first specimen (female) was sold in 1872 by a Scot named George Robertson to Jack Gleason. And the name of the dog was just Kelpie, which later became the name for the entire breed.
Kelpie is the name of the water spirit from Scottish mythology. As you can imagine, both of these people were settlers. Kelpie already did not look like a traditional black collie back then, and subsequently changed even more due to crossbreeding, which, obviously was not very controlled back in the day. Although purposeful crossing also took place.
One way or another, over time, a breed standard emerged that possessed a huge amount of energy, could withstand the harsh climatic conditions of Australia, and stay in the sun for an arbitrarily long time, having outstanding endurance.
In the future, the Kelpie breed became popular far beyond the borders of Australia. For example, in the USA these dogs are very much appreciated in the hotter states, because of their outstanding innate qualities of a shepherd, and in Sweden, they are used for mountain rescue work. Now there are 2 types of Kelpie – exhibition and work. The former are bred with an emphasis on appearance to perform better at exhibitions while the latter are bred for grazing. These dogs are also called Australian Shepherds.
Kelpies are medium-sized dogs with pointed ears and a wedge-shaped muzzle. The chest is high, the physique is muscular, the paws are medium length, and the tail is not docked.
The Australian Kelpie dog breed has a soft and kind character, perfect as a reliable and faithful friend, with whom you can go even to the ends of the world. Their endurance is what they are famous for, they can last all day without eating or sleeping, be on their feet, and at the same time function completely normally. Whether it is the protection of livestock, a joint trip, or the protection of your yard – the kelpie shines in all those areas.
This breed truly is mans best friend in every sense of the word. They have an excellent sense of smell, and great hearing as well as specific shepherd skills inherent exclusively in this breed. Their developed intellect allows them to perfectly understand not only their owners’ speech but also their owners’ emotional state, provide support in difficult times and remember commands with ease. Very independent but not stubborn.
They treat children well and take care of them. They love to play and need constant daily activity, including mental stimulation. Since the Kelpie breed was originally designed for intense activity, in a city apartment, the owner will have to seriously take this into consideration. The ideal place to keep them, of course, is a house with its own yard.
By the way, this dog can spend the whole day without the presence of its owner, without suffering from separation anxiety or loneliness at all. But if you do not provide your pet with the proper level of activity, and leave it for the whole day in the apartment, you can be sure that upon arrival you will be in complete disarray. After all, the energy has to go somewhere. Also, the animal needs socialization and education, as it can get scared and bark at any irritants – strangers, loud noises, etc.
The Australian Kelpie breed genetically possesses excellent abilities to protect its territory, and it does not even need to be trained to do so. They need to be taught commands, proper behavior, and obedience since by their nature they are quite independent dogs. In addition – with a huge supply of energy.
To teach this breed to restrain themselves, you need to do it constantly, for a long time. Training can begin as early as 5 – 6 months. It is important to limit the overabundance of restrictions to different stimuli so that the dog learns not to react to the slightest rustle with barking but to watch what is happening around him vigilantly, only “turning on” when there is a real danger.
The independent nature of the Kelpie must be respected – do not suppress the pet, praise him for his successes, and respect him. These are very smart dogs – they understand everything even if they try to convince you otherwise. Because they remember commands easily, they understand what you want from them. Fairness, patience, and kindness – this is what will make this breed respect you and not only follow your commands but also listen to you as an authority.
With regard to coat care, the Kelpie dog is not very needy. It needs weekly combing and nothing more. Some individuals have an undercoat and shed. Be sure to keep their ears clean, clean their eyes daily, and bathe your pet once or twice a week.
The Australian Kelpie dog breed, in general, has good health but the following problems can sometimes occur:
- Hip dysplasia;
- Progressive retinal atrophy;
- Collie eye anomaly;
- Abiotrophy of the cerebellum.