Australian Kelpie: Breed Information

Country of origin: Australia
Shoulder height: 43 – 51 cm
Weight: 11 – 20 kg
Age: 12 – 14 years
Colour: black, red, fawn, brown, smoky blue, each in one color or with markings
Use: working dog, sports dog

The Australian Kelpie is a medium-sized herding dog that loves to move and works hard. It needs a lot of physical and mental activity and is therefore only suitable for sporty people who can offer their dog the necessary time and activity.

Origin and history

The Australian Kelpie is a descendant of Scottish herding dogs that came to Australia with British immigrants. The progenitor of this dog breed is a female named Kelpie, who excelled in herding competitions and gave the breed its name.


The Australian Kelpie is a medium-sized herding dog with an athletic build. The body is slightly longer than high. It has medium-sized eyes, pricked triangular ears, and a medium-length hanging tail. The Australian Kelpie’s fur is relatively short at 2 – 3 cm. It consists of smooth, firm coat hair and plenty of undercoats, providing optimal protection against cold and wet conditions.

The coat color is either solid black, red, fawn, chocolate brown, or smoky blue. It can also be black or brown with tan markings. The short, dense coat is relatively easy to care for.


The Australian Kelpie is a working dog par excellence. It is extremely persistent, full of energy and eagerness to work, highly intelligent, and has a gentle, easy-going nature. It acts very independently and has a natural disposition for herding work with sheep. Kelpies are one of the few dog breeds that will even walk over the backs of sheep if necessary.

The Australian Kelpie is alert but not an outspoken protection dog. It gets along well with other dogs, does not start a fight of its own accord, but can assert itself if necessary. Australian Kelpies are very people-oriented and family-friendly. However, working independently is in their blood, so raising a Kelpie is not easy and requires a lot of sensitive consistency.

Keeping a Kelpie is always challenging. As a pure family companion dog, the spirited Kelpie, bursting with energy, is completely under-challenged. It needs a job that suits its natural disposition and where it can live out its inexhaustible urge to move. Ideally, the Australian Kelpie is kept as a herding dog, otherwise, it needs a balance in the form of exercise-intensive dog sports, which also requires its mind. If a Kelpie is underutilized, it will look for an outlet and can become a problem dog.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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