The Australian Kelpie is one of those dogs where if you’re not from Australia, you probably wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a “lineup”.
Now we don’t…
Want to imply that this medium sized guy isn’t handsome, but let’s face it, they don’t necessarily have any “super” distinguishing features differentiating them from many other dog breeds out there (except maybe those ears).
But maybe that’s…
Not such a bad thing because for those who are familiar with this breed, they know full well that these guys are a true “gem” to own. But it’s important to point out that the Australian Kelpie isn’t necessarily going to be the “best” dog for everyone.
This is why…
In this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Kelpie so that if you ever get a chance to get your hands on one, you won’t regret your choice to adopt one six months from now!
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Australian Kelpie Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Australia
Original Purpose: Herding cattle
Height: 17 to 20 inches measured at the shoulder
Weight: 31 to 46 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 13 years
Dog Breed Classification: Not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC)
Origin of the Australian Kelpie
Unlike many other dog breeds where the original “origins” of the breed remain somewhat of a mystery, when it comes to where and how the Australian Kelpie was created, the story is quite simple.
During the late 1800’s…
The Australian Kelpie came into existence when Australian land owners decided to intermix Collies with local indigenous dogs of the area (possibly dingo’s). The result of which created a medium sized dog that “inherited” the intelligence of the Collie and the “toughness” of the local breed, which suited the early Australian farmers just fine!
Characteristics of Australian Kelpie
Despite the fact that the Australian Kelpie has not been “officially” recognized the American Kennel Club (AKC), the breed is recognized the both the United Kennel Club as well as the Canadian Kennel Club, so it is probably just a matter of time until the AKC gets around to officially taking notice.
One thing that…
Could be holding him back from being “officially” recognized is the fact that the Australian Kelpie goes by some many different names which can cause a bit of confusion when trying to determine what dog you are talking about!
For example, you may often here folks refer to the Australian Kelpie as a:
- Australian Sheepdog,
- Australischer Kelpie,
Or an Australian Cattle dog, which happens to be an officially recognized breed by the AKC, just not the same “kind” of dog as an Australian Kelpie!
Now we mention all of this…
Because despite the fact that the Australian Kelpie is not recognized by the AKC, that is not stopping many dog breeders and dog enthusiasts from breeding the Australian Kelpie for his looks rather than just his “herding ability”. It is also why this breed is growing in popularity worldwide as being more that just a working dog, especially because they are so smart and good with children.
In general, what you’re gong to find is that Kelpies are typically bred to produce a dog with a “solid” coat, usually black and tan. The coat itself will be a double coat which has a thicker undercoat, making it a bit more durable (i.e. less grooming for you!). But will still require weekly grooming if you want to try to avoid having your house covered in fur.
That said however…
The Australian Kelpie is likely to require much less maintenance than a very similar dog, such as the Border Collie or Collie since they don’t shed nearly as much and don’t need as much grooming.
But like a Border Collie…
The Australian Kelpie is going to be very similar in size (height and weight) and also be equally as intelligent! Which is good thing if you plan to keep your Kelpie mentally and physically challenged, but probably not such a good idea if you plan on keeping your Kelpie “cooped” up in the house or apartment all day long on his or her own!
Personality of an Australian Kelpie
If you were going to describe an Australian Kelpie’s personality in three words it would probably be: smart, loyal and alert. These are all some of the greatest qualities you can find in a friend, and that’s just what your dog is going to be: a lifelong friend.
But like any good…
Working dog, when these dogs are left alone for extended periods of time or dog get the mental and physical stimulation that they need, the can become quite destructive. And by destructive, we mean they can and will chew up just about anything that they can get a hold on!
And many times…
This “destructive” streak can be personal. Because like we’ve already said, these dogs are highly intelligent, and can be taught to do a wide variety of jobs including:
- Herding animals,
- Search and rescue operations,
- Detection dogs (drugs or explosive devices),
- Or assistance or therapy dogs
So, it’s not like they can’t be taught not to chew up your shoes!
But if you leave…
Them on their own or don’t give them time to blow off steam, your Australian Kelpie might just like to “remind” you of his needs by taking some of his or her pent-up energy and focusing it on something around the house!
Early training and socialization are key…
Because these dogs are so smart, and because they will have a natural tendency to want to chase anything that moves, early training and socialization will be key to owing a well-mannered Kelpie that will get along well with other animals and small children.
The good news is…
That because these dogs are so smart, and because they “seek” the approval of their owners, most Australian Kelpies make great students which is why they’re notoriously easy to train and even after being well socialized around others retain an “uncanny” ability to differentiate between “good guys” and “bad guys”!
Health Concerns of Australian Kelpie
Two of the biggest health concerns your Australian Kelpie could encounter are genetic, and thus somewhat avoidable with proper breeding history. This is where contacting the Working Kelpie Council directly may be of some assistance; as they will have information in their breeders’ directory that may be able to help you choose a legit breeder in your area.
That said however…
There are certain medical conditions that you will want to be on the lookout for when considering which Australian Kelpie puppy or rescue dog to adopt. Conditions such as:
- Progressive retinal atrophy – the first sign of this will be if your Aussie is running into things at night or generally appears to have a hard time finding his way around after dark. Ultimately, your dog will probably go blind and require assistance.
- Cerebellar abiotrophy – This is a neurological disease that is genetic. While knowing the family history of your breed can help, it doesn’t totally eliminate your dog’s chances. This disease results in poor balance, confusion, and a number of other problems with daily function. Dogs with this cannot be treated but will probably require a lot of extra care.
- Luxating Patella – This is a disease of the knees that actually can be treated. If your kelpie is having a hard time walking then knee replacement may be in the cards. Depending on your vet, that could cost a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.
These conditions won’t be present in any Kelpie puppy that you may be considering, they could be present in his or her parents or in an adult rescue dog you may be considering.
We here at IndulgeYourPet always like to remind folks that while you’re doing your “due diligence” in determining what “type” of dog you may or may not want to adopt, why not also take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on your new family member as well?
Sure, a pet insurance policy isn’t always going to be a good fit for everyone, but without knowing what a policy might cost you, how will you know if getting one isn’t a smart and sound investment?
For more information on who we feel currently offer the “best” pet insurance policies right now, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.