In the early 1800s, the sheep and wool industry in Australia bloomed when Melino sheep were imported from Spain. These sheep were more adapted to the harsh climate in Australia.

Australian Kelpie plain background

However, they tend to wander, and because of the wide area and terrain, some of the Melino sheep get lost and die. So, the sheepherders relied on dogs.

One of the famous sheepherders was the Australian Kelpies. The Kelpie got its name from a black and tan female with floppy ears owned by Goerge Robertson who named her Kelpie.

She was believed to be a descendant of a Rutherford Collie (the name collie referred to all working dogs at that time, and not the modern breed Collie.)

She was then bred to another Scottish Rutherford Collie, and one of her pups is named Kelpie. It was then a custom to name all the dogs of the same type.

The new breed became so popular that people started importing them to other countries.

Traits and Behavior

Australian Kelpies are ideal for long hours of work and are independent. They enjoy the company of their masters and tend to become a one-person pet. However, they are polite to other family members and can be friendly, too.

Australian Kelpie resting in bed

Kelpies have average relationships with strangers; they can be polite but can also become nervous and aggressive

Kelpies are alright around children; however, they may treat small kids like sheep and tend to nip at their heels (like what they do to herd sheep.)

Kelpies are extremely alert and would make excellent watchdogs. Kelpies generally have average to low-level aggression, but they are territorial and can become dominant over other dogs.

If the owner exerts less power over his dog, Kelpies may show aggression and dominance over their master.

Australian Kelpies are intelligent and easy to train. They learn quickly and are good for sports and activities that involve agility, obedience, herding, retrievals, jumping, and many others.

They also have high energy and endurance that don’t diminish with age. These make them desirable as heavy-duty working dogs.

Pet Care and Diseases

Australian Kelpies are not suitable for people who are not active or don’t do a lot of sports or activities daily. This breed requires a vigorous exercise regimen to stay healthy.

Australian Kelpie catching a ball

They are used to working hard until they are exhausted. Long daily walks or runs are not enough for this breed.

They need long hours of rigorous training, and a large area to run and roam around. If enclosed in a small area, this dog will become anxious and nervous.

Often, they will show aggression and destructive tendencies. An average person is not advised to have an Australian Kelpie as a pet.

This breed doesn’t require any special grooming. An occasional brushing is sufficient. Bathing should only be done when necessary. This is to prevent the loss of natural protective oil.

Australian Kelpies are generally healthy. Common health problems may include progressive retinal atrophy (common in purebred dogs), dysplasia, deafness, and untreated injuries.


Australian Kelpies belongs to medium-sized breeds. There are two main appearances: The working Kelpie and the show Kelpie.

Australian Kelpie sky background

The working Kelpies are bred mainly for working purposes, so they have a lot of variation. These Kelpies may look like randomly bred dogs, while they may look like Dingoes to others.

Females usually stand at 19.5 inches while males are at 21.5 inches.

The average working Kelpie weigh 30 to 45 pounds for both sexes. The dog’s coat may be long, smooth or rough.

Some working kelpies have double coats while others may not. The tail may be smooth and bushy, depending on the coat. The ears are usually pricked, but some have semi-pricked ears.

The coat’s color can be every shade of cream to black, but some have markings that include tan, red, and white.

The Show Kelpies show some variation from their working cousins. They are generally smaller but are still of medium size. The United Kennel Club (UKC) contains a detailed description of a good Show Kelpie.

General Information

This breed has an average lifespan of 10-13 years. The litter size is about 4-7 puppies. The Australian Kelpie is also known as Kelpie or Barb.

Breed Club

Visit these dog club websites dedicated to Australian Kelpies. Click this link:



Featured Video

Watch this video: “Dogs 101 – Australian Kelpie”

Watch this video: “Kelpie The Legend Documentary”