All About the Australian Kelpie Dog

The Australian Kelpie Dog is appropriately named since it originated in Australia.

It’s known as a loyal, intelligent and alert family pet that loves to work.

What You Should Know

When sheep numbers increased in Australia, people sought after a solution for herding. In Victoria and New South Wales, properties quickly became larger than two million acres and often hold a quarter of a million sheep. Herding wasn’t practical in such conditions so wire fences were installed so the sheep could run free. A dog was needed to handle the sheep, but it was challenging to find something that could handle the rough terrain, vast distances, dust storms, and excessive heat.

Initially, this breed was imported from Scotland. It features tan and black colors with long hair. These Collie-type styles were the most popular, but there was also a smooth-hair option available.

What Sound Do They Make?

The Australian Kelpie makes a variety of noises to communicate. It’s known to howl for long-range communication. This is helpful for hunting and outdoor work. It also growls to express aggression. If the growl is for play, its tail wags and it moves around rapidly. Sometimes, the Kelpie barks excessively and crosses the line. This is common when it perceives danger or is nervous.

Listen to this Australian Kelpie dog bark on command.

Group Characteristics

The average Australian Kelpie litter size is five puppies. Once the puppies are born, they require a lot of socialization to ensure they get along well with people and children. They prefer to be loyal to one person but can be trained to be a family dog.

How Many are There?

There are no accurate estimates to the Australian Kelpie population. It’s not even recognized as a breed by the AKC. Still, both the Canadian Kennel Club and United Kennel Club have it registered. As far as the US goes, the North American Australian Kelpie Registry helps to promote the interests of this breed.

Watch a Video

In this first video, you can learn about all the traits and characteristics of an Australian Kelpie dog.

This second video helps to explain the differences between the Australian Kelpie and German Shepherd.

Pop Culture

The Australian Kelpie dog is found in numerous films. One of the most popular was Red Dog from 2011. In this film, the dog reunites people of Dampier, Western Australia. Koko was the dog actor’s real name. He died in 2012 from heart failure in Perth, Western Australia at the age of seven. The prequel, Red Dog: True Blue was subsequently dedicated to his memory.

Another famous movie is The Sundowners from 1960. The Australian Kelpie, Ollie, was Sean’s dog. The movie is about an Australian family.

Interesting Facts

It’s possible that dingoes were once interbred with the Australian Kelpie at some point in their history. If that’s true, it’s now a part of the bloodline.

Australian Kelpies have varying coat colors. Some include red, black, smoky blue, chocolate or fawn. Some varieties feature tan markings.

The dog features a double coat with an outer weather-resistant layer. It doesn’t require much grooming, but it sheds heavily in the spring.

The Kelpie works hard and can travel over 30 miles per day. It will nip the heels of herd animals to make them move. A typical Kelpie weighs between 25 and 45 pounds. They will live to be ten to 14 years old.

Because they contain special oils in their fur, they only need a bath if they get dirty. Otherwise, they should be left alone, so their coat doesn’t dry out.