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Kelpie

Kelpie Dog Breed Information

In a Sentence:

A highly intelligent and energetic Australian herding breed known for their agility and work ethic.

Scientific Name:

Canis lupus familiaris.
Also Known As:Australian Kelpie
Type:Mammal

Size:

Kelpies are considered a Medium-sized dog breed. read more >>
Weight:18-20 kg (40-44 lbs).
Height:43-51 cm (17-20 inches).
Length:40-50 cm (15.7-19.7 inches).

Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a Kelpie is 11-16 years. read more >>

Behavior:

What type of dog is a Kelpie, how do they behave and what temperament do they have? See below for a detailed overview of their traits and personality.

Personality & Temperament

Kelpies are known for their intelligence, loyalty and high energy. They are incredibly active and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are very trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement. They are also very protective of their family and can be quite territorial.

Kelpies have a strong work ethic and are often used as herding dogs. They are highly intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tasks. They are also very loyal and devoted to their owners.

Kelpies are generally friendly and outgoing, but can be wary of strangers. They are very alert and have a strong protective instinct. They can be quite vocal and bark when they sense danger.

Kelpies need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are not suited to living in apartments and need a large yard or access to a park or beach. They do best when given a job to do and can become destructive if not given enough activity. They are also prone to separation anxiety and should not be left alone for long periods of time.

Intelligence

Kelpies are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. They are known for their strong work ethic and their ability to learn quickly. They are also very loyal and affectionate, making them ideal family pets.

Trainability

Kelpies are generally considered to be very intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. They are highly active and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, so it is important to start training early and be consistent. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a Kelpie, as they respond well to rewards and praise.

Sleep

Kelpies, like most dogs, sleep an average of 12-14 hours per day. However, the amount of sleep they need can vary depending on their age, activity level and overall health. Puppies and older dogs may require more sleep, while highly active Kelpies may need less. It’s important to provide your Kelpie with a comfortable and quiet place to sleep and to ensure they get enough rest to maintain their physical and mental well-being.

Bark

Kelpies can definitely be very vocal and can bark quite a bit. The amount of barking can change from dog to dog but they can bark quite frequently. read more >>

Drool

Australian Kelpies are not renowned for their excessive drooling or slobbering. Unlike some breeds (like the Saint Bernard or Mastiff) that are notorious droolers, the Kelpie has a relatively dry mouth.

Lick

Kelpies are known to be moderate to heavy lickers, based on their individual personality and behavior. Some Kelpies may lick more than others, but in general, they are affectionate dogs that enjoy showing their love and affection through licking. However, excessive licking can also be a sign of anxiety or stress, so it’s important to monitor your Kelpie’s behavior and seek professional help if necessary.

Jump

Kelpies are agile and athletic, but their jumping ability can vary depending on their size and physical condition. Generally, Kelpies can jump up to 1.5 to 2 meters (4.9 feet to 6.6 feet) high, but some may be able to jump even higher with proper training and conditioning. read more >>

Dig


Kelpies are not specifically renowned for being diggers, but they can resort to this behavior if they are not sufficiently stimulated mentally and physically. If a Kelpie is left alone in a backyard without adequate exercise, mental stimulation, or attention, it may resort to digging or other destructive behaviors simply out of boredom or frustration. This isn’t a trait unique to Kelpies but is common in many intelligent, high-energy breeds.

Good Fit for You?

Is a Kelpie the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out how compatible you are with a Kelpie.

Exercise

Kelpies are very active and energetic dogs, so they need a lot of exercise. It is recommended that they get at least an hour of exercise per day, including a combination of activities such as walking, running, swimming and playing. They also need plenty of mental stimulation, so activities such as agility, obedience and flyball are great for them. read more >>

Space

Kelpies need plenty of space to run and play and they should have access to a large, securely fenced yard. They are active dogs and need at least an hour of exercise every day.

Apartment

No, Kelpies are not a good dog to get if you live in an apartment. They are very active and need plenty of space to run and play. They also need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, which can be difficult to provide in an apartment. read more >>

Left Alone

Kelpies are very active and intelligent dogs, so they do not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. They need plenty of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, so it is important to provide them with plenty of exercise and attention.

Kid/Family Friendly

Yes, Kelpies are generally good with kids and families. They are loyal and affectionate and they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They can be trained to be obedient and well-mannered, so they can make great family pets. read more >>

Perfect Fit

A Kelpie would be a great fit for an active household that enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking or swimming. They are highly energetic and need plenty of exercise and stimulation. They also need a lot of attention and training, so a home with an owner who is willing to dedicate time to their pet would be ideal.

Pros and Cons:

Kelpies are a highly energetic and intelligent breed of dog that are popular in Australia for their herding abilities. However, owning a Kelpie comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here is a table outlining 5 pros and cons of owning a Kelpie:

ProsCons
1. Highly intelligent and trainable1. Requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation
2. Excellent herding instincts2. Can be prone to separation anxiety
3. Affectionate and loyal to their owners3. Can be stubborn and independent
4. Low maintenance grooming requirements4. Can be wary of strangers and other dogs
5. Versatile and adaptable to different environments5. May exhibit destructive behavior if not properly trained and socialized

Overall, owning a Kelpie can be a rewarding experience for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to properly train and care for them. However, it is important to consider the potential challenges that come with owning a high-energy and intelligent breed like the Kelpie.

Cost:

The cost of buying a Kelpie in Australia can vary depending on the breeder, the age of the dog and the location. Generally, a Kelpie puppy can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000. read more >>

Breed History:

Kelpies were bred as working dogs, primarily for herding and droving livestock. They were bred to be strong and agile, with a high level of endurance, so they could work long hours in harsh conditions. They also had to be intelligent and obedient, so that they could be trained to respond to commands and work with minimal supervision.

Current Usage

Kelpies are currently being used as working dogs in a variety of roles. They are used as herding dogs on farms, as search and rescue dogs, as assistance dogs and as therapy dogs. They are also used in law enforcement and military roles, as well as in agility and obedience competitions. They are also popular as family pets, especially since the release of the movie ‘Red Dog’.

Guard Dogs

Kelpies are not typically used as guard dogs, as their temperament is more focused on herding and working. However, they are known to be protective of their family and can be trained to alert their owners to potential threats. They are also very intelligent and trainable, which can make them good at following commands and responding to their owner’s cues. Ultimately, whether or not a Kelpie makes a good guard dog will depend on the individual dog’s personality and training. read more >>

Where Are They Found?

Kelpies are a breed of working dogs that originated in Australia. They are popular in Australia and New Zealand, where they were originally bred for herding livestock. However, they have also gained popularity in other countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, where they are often used as working dogs on farms and ranches. Kelpies are also popular as companion dogs due to their loyalty, intelligence, and high energy levels. read more >>

Climate

Kelpies are a breed of working dog that originated in Scotland and they are well-suited to a variety of climates. They have a thick, waterproof coat that helps protect them from the elements, so they can thrive in colder, wetter climates. However, they are also adaptable and can do well in warmer climates as long as they have access to shade and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Overall, Kelpies are hardy and versatile dogs that can adapt to a range of climates, as long as they are given proper care and attention. read more >>

Population


It is difficult to determine the exact number of Kelpies in the world as there is no centralized database or registry for all Kelpies. Kelpies are popular in many other countries, especially in Australia where they originated. Therefore, it is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Kelpies worldwide.

Physical Appearance:

Kelpies possess a strong and athletic build that reflects their working heritage. They are medium-sized dogs, well-balanced and agile. With a deep chest and well-sprung ribs, they have a muscular and compact frame. read more and view all Kelpie images >>

Coat:

Colours:

Kelpies can be black, brown, red, white, blue, grey, fawn, yellow and brindle.

Hair/Fur Length:

Kelpies typically have short to medium length coats, usually no longer than 2-3 inches in length.

Shedding:

Yes, Kelpies do shed. They have a double coat that sheds year-round, but more heavily in the spring and fall. Regular brushing and grooming can help reduce shedding. read more >>

Grooming:

Kelpies require minimal grooming. They should be brushed regularly to keep their coats in good condition and to remove any dirt or debris. They do not need to have their hair cut, but they may need to have their nails trimmed occasionally.

Hypoallergenic:

No, Kelpies are not hypoallergenic. read more >>

Speed:

Kelpies can run up to 48 to 56 kilometers per hour (30 to 35 mph). read more >>

Health:

Kelpies are generally healthy dogs, but they may be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, eye problems and skin allergies. Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition that affects the hip joint, causing pain and lameness. Eye problems can include cataracts, glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy. Skin allergies can cause itching, redness and hair loss. read more >>

Teeth:

Kelpies, like all dogs, have 42 teeth as adults. read more >>

Eyesight:

Kelpies are known to have excellent eyesight, which is a crucial trait for their role as herding dogs. Their sharp vision allows them to keep a watchful eye on their flock and detect any potential threats from a distance. Additionally, their keen eyesight makes them well-suited for activities such as agility and obedience training.

Nipples:

Kelpies, like many other dog breeds, generally have eight to ten nipples. The nipples are typically evenly spaced along the underside of the abdomen. This count applies to both male and female Kelpies.

Gestation:

Litter Size:

Kelpies typically have litters of 4-6 puppies.

Gestation Period:

The gestation period for Kelpies is approximately nine weeks. read more >>

Heat:

Female Kelpies typically go into heat twice a year, although this can vary depending on the individual dog. The heat cycle usually lasts around three weeks. read more >>

Male vs Female:

Male and female Kelpies differ in size, with males typically being larger than females. Males also tend to have a more muscular build and a thicker coat, while females tend to have a finer coat. Males also tend to be more aggressive and have a higher prey drive than females. Additionally, males tend to be more independent and require more training and socialization than females.

Tips and Advice:

Caring for these active and driven dogs requires attention to their specific needs. Here are some essential tips: Provide Sufficient Exercise: Kelpies are energetic dogs that require a lot of physical activity. They excel in activities like running, agility and herding trials. Engage them in regular exercise, such as daily brisk walks, jogs or playtime in a secure, fenced area.

  • Mental Stimulation: Kelpies are intelligent and thrive on mental stimulation. Provide them with puzzle toys, obedience training sessions and interactive games to keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom.
  • Training and Socialization: Start training your Kelpie from an early age using positive reinforcement techniques. They are quick learners and highly trainable. Socialize them with other dogs, animals and people to ensure they develop good manners and behavior.
  • Secure Fencing: Kelpies have a strong prey drive and may try to chase animals or explore beyond their boundaries. Ensure you have a secure, high fence to prevent them from escaping. Consider a fenced yard or supervised off-leash play in a safe, enclosed area.
  • Provide a Job or Purpose: Kelpies are working dogs and thrive when they have a job to do. Consider engaging them in herding, agility, obedience or other canine sports. Giving them a purposeful task helps channel their energy and intelligence.
  • Balanced Diet: Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet for your Kelpie’s age, size and activity level. Feed them a high-quality, balanced diet to support their energy needs and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your Kelpie’s overall health, vaccinations and preventive care. Kelpies are generally healthy dogs, but regular check-ups can help detect any potential health issues early.
  • Grooming Needs: Kelpies have a short, weather-resistant double coat that requires minimal grooming. Regular brushing helps remove loose hair and keeps their coat in good condition. Check their ears regularly for cleanliness and trim their nails as needed.
  • Be a Confident Leader: Kelpies are sensitive and respond best to confident and consistent leadership. Establish yourself as the pack leader through positive reinforcement training and clear boundaries.

Remember, Kelpies are highly active and intelligent dogs that thrive when given appropriate physical exercise and mental stimulation. With proper care and guidance, they can be loyal and dedicated companions.

Food:

Kelpies are highly food-motivated and can eat up to four cups of food per day, depending on their size and activity level. They should be fed a high-quality diet that is appropriate for their age and activity level. read more >>

Facts:

Here are three interesting facts about Kelpies:

  1. Origins: The rich history of the Kelpie dates back to the early 19th century. Historians believe that the breed descended from British herding dogs that made their way to Australia’s shores during colonization.
  2. Name’s Origin: Enshrouded in myth, the name “Kelpie” is derived from Scottish folklore. It refers to a water spirit known to appear as a horse and occasionally as a human, drawing connections to the dog’s mystical allure.
  3. Stamina: One cannot discuss Kelpies without mentioning their remarkable stamina. These dogs can travel vast distances without showing signs of fatigue, making them indispensable to Australian farmers.

read more >>

Names:

They are often used as working dogs on farms and ranches and as such, names that reflect their strong and independent nature are a good fit. Here are 15 names that would be a good fit for a Kelpie:

1. Finn6. Raven11. Maverick
2. Angus7. Storm12. Dakota
3. Skye8. Luna13. Jasper
4. Hunter9. Willow14. Zephyr
5. Blaze10. Phoenix15. Nova

These names all have a strong and independent feel to them, which suits the Kelpie’s personality. They also have a bit of a wild and adventurous vibe, which reflects the breed’s love of running and exploring.

Famous:

Over the years, some Kelpies have gained fame for their incredible feats, appearances in movies and ownership by famous people. Here are some of the most famous Kelpies of all time:

  1. Red Dog – This Kelpie became famous for his travels across Western Australia and his loyalty to his owner. His story was turned into a movie called “Red Dog” in 2011.
  2. Koko – This Kelpie was owned by Australian farmer, Les Hall and was known for his incredible sheep-herding skills. He won several sheepdog trials and was even featured in a documentary called “Koko: A Talking Gorilla.”
  3. Barcoo – This Kelpie was owned by Australian farmer, Arthur Beetson and was known for his incredible endurance. He once ran 160 miles in two days to deliver a message to a neighboring farm.
  4. Abby – This Kelpie was owned by Australian actor, Hugh Jackman and was known for her loyalty and love for her owner. She passed away in 2018 and Jackman paid tribute to her on social media.
  5. Maggie – This Kelpie was known for being the oldest dog in the world, living to be 30 years old. She was owned by an Australian dairy farmer and passed away in 2016.

These Kelpies have left a lasting impression on the world and have shown just how incredible this breed can be.

Summary:

The Kelpie is a type of herding dog that originated in Australia. It is a medium-sized breed with a strong, muscular body and a short, dense coat. The coat can be black, red, blue, fawn or chocolate in color. Kelpies are active, intelligent and loyal dogs that make great family pets.

Kelpies have a long history of being used as working dogs in Australia, primarily for herding sheep and cattle. They are known for their strong herding instinct and their ability to work independently. They are also highly trainable and can be taught to perform a variety of tasks.

Kelpies are energetic and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are loyal and affectionate with their families, but can be wary of strangers. They are generally good with children, but may be too active for very young children.

Kelpies make excellent pets for active families who can provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are intelligent and eager to please, so they can be easily trained. They are also loyal and affectionate with their families, making them great companions.