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Wednesday, January 21, 2015


The Kelpie
When I think of a Kelpie I immediately think of a chocolate brown dog but in fact Kelpies also come in solid black.

They are also very common with tan coloured ear, throat and leg markings and often have the characteristic spots above their eyes.

From Wikipedia :
" 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 second "Kelpie" was "(King's) Kelpie", another black and tan bitch out of "Kelpie" by "Caesar", a pup from two sheep-dogs imported from Scotland. 
 "(King's) Kelpie" tied the prestigious Forbes Trial in 1879, and the strain was soon popularly referred to as "Kelpie's pups", or just Kelpies. The King brothers joined another breeder, McLeod, to form a dog breeding partnership whose dogs dominated trials during 1900 to 1920." 
 The claim that Kelpies come from crossing domestic dogs with dingos has some credibility, as they share the Australian Dingo's resistance to paralysis ticks, but it is not borne out with genetic testing.  It is more likely that, with a mix of good fortune and skill, the Kelpie was born from a few strains of Scottish working dogs, owned by the Rutherford family, which were crossed together.
The Kelpie was first registered as a breed in Australia in 1902, one of the earliest registered breeds in Australia. This was actually four years before the Border Collie was registered as a breed in Britain.
The Australian Kelpie is primarily a working dog that demands a great deal of exercise, preferably with some kind of job to do. Their energy levels are extremely high!! They are workaholics and will run until they drop! They are capable of covering 60 kilometres in a day's work.
Kelpies are most valuable in the paddocks and yards, gathering a mob of sheep, driving them to the yards and pens and forcing the sheep through races, up ramps and into sheds and trucks. Always alert and watchful, the Kelpie is required to be an independent thinker, though will also rely on various whistle commands made by its owner.
They are very good at breaking up jams when sheep become jammed in tight places like narrow runs .

 If you choose to keep a Working Kelpie as a pet, that very same animal may become a high maintenance dog. Daily, extensive exercise is required, and any animal which is not able to express its normal behaviour is prone to develop behavioural problems - like excessive barking and nipping (or biting ! ) which can ultimately make its keeping that much more difficult. Obedience training is essential, although there really are many other breeds of dog which are more suited as a family pet.
Recently there are more and more Kelpies bred for city and suburban life without these problems but still needing lots of exercise.


More Australian Working Dogs next time.


  1. They are gorgeous dogs, so hard working and they love it.
    Anne xx

  2. Kelpies are wonderful dogs. They're so alert and always ready to be on the go! Their bodies quiver in excitement. As Anne says....they just love what they do and can't wait to get into it! :)

  3. How interesting, I love the photo of the dog walking on the backs of the sheep! xxx

  4. Happy to read your educational post, keep sharing valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your notes published.
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