Another member of the herding family, the Kelpie has had us guessing for years!
It is unknown just where the Kelpie actually originated. It’s even said that they are closely related to the Australian Dingo - which has now been proved otherwise and dismissed after DNA testing. Their resemblance had us fooled!
It’s now suspected that they derived from the Scottish Collie or Farm Collie and were brought to Australia in the 1800’s from Scotland. Casterton (VIC) is recognised as “the birthplace of the Australian Kelpie”.
Kelpies have natural herding instincts, much like a Border Collie, that have been made to withstand the Australian heat whilst rounding up livestock. They are happiest when they have a job to complete which is why they are excellent service, search and rescue, nose work and watchdogs.
They are incredibly independent and can even herd without supervision!
The modern day Kelpie now has two distinct strains and has a life expectancy of 10-13 years. One strain is the show dog. These are bred for their colour amongst other attributes. The other is the working dog that we originally and commonly know the Kelpie as. These are mostly black and tan (the truest working Kelpie colour).
What does a Kelpie look like?
A male Kelpie generally stands between 46-51cm tall with the female Kelpie falling between 43-48cm. A healthy average weight for a male sits between 15-20kg and a female 11-16kg.
The Kelpie breed has a very distinct look - you’ll almost always be able to tell the breed apart by their erect ears that sit wide apart on their heads and their fox-like demeanours. Their chests are deep rather than wide.
This medium sized dog breed has an athletic body, muscly shoulders and a strong hind quarter. Its head is rounded and broad between the ears with their nose matching the colour of their coat.
Colours of a Kelpie include black and tan, black, red, chocolate, red and tan, smokey blue and fawn.
Both male and female Kelpies have a short coat that lies flat to their body. This is a double coat with the outer layer being more weather resistant. Their grooming needs are moderate and weekly brushing should do the trick to remove dead hair and reduce shedding.
Active Kelpies tend to wear their nails down naturally.
What are the personality traits of a Kelpie?
Much like most working dogs, if a Kelpie is bored it will become destructive. They are high energy dogs that need an outlet for their energy - mentally and physically.
They are highly territorial and so need to be trained from a young age to avoid becoming aggressive as they grow older. The good news is that they are eager to be given a task and so are easy to train!
Kelpies love a challenge. They are intense, quick-thinking, agile, sharp-eyed and love co-operation (this comes from their herding instinct). They thrive on vigorous exercise and athletic activities which explains their exceptional competing abilities.
This dog breed is loyal and devoted to work yet wary and suspicious most of the time.
What common health concerns do Kelpies have?
Collie Eye Anomaly is an inherited and developmental eye disease in dogs. It happens when a mutated gene in the eye occurs, causing the blood vessels that support the retina to be underdeveloped. It is common in Kelpies and dogs similar to the Kelpie.
There are different stages of this disease, with the worst stage having the potential to lead to blindness. Surgery or laser surgery can be performed to minimise the risk but it is not often diagnosed until a dog’s vision is affected. Progressive retinal atrophy is another similar eye disease that is common in this dog breed.
Active and/or working dogs commonly experience problems with their joints due to injury, overuse and ageing. Dysplasia or the elbow and hip are often seen in these dogs, even from a young age. Dysplasia is a deformity of the joint during growth. If not treated, it is likely to develop into arthritis in dogs. This is a painful condition where cartilage runs thin between joints, causing damage to the joint. It cannot be cured but it can be managed with medications or supplements.
Hip + Joint for Dogs is designed with joint related diseases in mind. It contains high amounts of Glucosamine (800mg), MSM (400mg) and Chondroitin (400mg), which are all ingredients known to help stimulate cartilage growth, reduce inflammation and pain related to joint issues.
Luxating patella is when a dog’s knee cap moves out of place or dislocates. It is a very painful experience and a dog will usually cry out in pain when it happens. They will often be able to ‘snap’ it back into place on their own without any further complications. If it occurs often, it may need to be managed with arthritis medications or supplements.
Obesity is a risk in all dog breeds, however, the Kelpie is prone to joint problems before obesity. Adding obesity to joint problems can make them worse. An overfed and under exercised dog is a recipe for an overweight dog - ensure you’re feeding appropriate portion sizes for your Kelpie’s age and activity levels. Products such as Probiotic for Dogs are a great tool for keeping your Kelpie’s gut health regulated and in check.
This dog breed deserves a home with lots of space to burn its mental and physical energy as well as a loving family to take care of them. If you live an active lifestyle and think you can keep up, a Kelpie is the perfect fit for you!