• Australian Kelpie Dog
  • Australian Kelpie Dogs
  • Australian Kelpie
  • Australian Kelpie in Great Britain
  • Australian Kelpie in Great Britain
  • Australian Kelpie
  • Australian Kelpie Dog Breed
  • Australian Kelpie Breed
  • Australian Kelpie in the UK
  • Australian Kelpie in the UK
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 46 - 51cm M | 43 - 48cm F
Weight: 18 - 23kg M | 14 - 21kg F
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

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The Australian kelpie is an excellent herding dog dedicated to his work. He is highly skilled in working on sheep and other livestock whether in enclosed areas or open fields. As a herding dog, the Australian kelpie is extremely loyal and devoted.

In training, the Australian kelpie is smart and very responsive, thus, he can easily learn and execute new commands. An affectionate and spirited dog, the Australian kelpie takes delight in spending time with his family, preferably in fun outdoor activities.

The double-coated Australian Kelpie has a short and dense undercoat whilst the outer coat is straight, flat, and rain-resistant. The Australian Kelpie is relatively low maintenance that needs weekly brushing and occasional bathing.

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The Australian kelpie, also called kelpie, Barb, or farmer dog was created in the 1870s. The breed’s origins are unclear; however, it is believed that he is a descendant of dogs imported from Scotland.

Because of the booming sheep business in Australia, herding dogs became a great need. Various breeds from the UK were sent to Australia including black collies. They were cross-bred with other dogs along with wild dingoes. As a result, the Australian kelpie was born.

The new breed was capable of withstanding the country's hot climate and navigate its rough terrains. Due to his hard-working and independent nature, he is greatly prized by ranchers. Later on, the Australian kelpie was exported to other countries around the globe.

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Appearance and Grooming

The Australian kelpie is a mid-sized dog with a sturdy physique and muscular legs. He has a long narrow head with dark eyes. His nose can be self-coloured, dark, or brown depending on his coat colour. The kelpie is broad-chested and has a low-set tail and arched toes. With strong and firm hindquarters, he can turn and leap quickly when herding.

The kelpie possesses a thick and short weather-resistant double coat. The outer coat is coarse, straight, and flat to protect him from rain. His undercoat is softer and tends to grow denser during the winter season to shield him from the cold. The kelpie's coat comes in blue, brown, black, chocolate, fawn, red, black, or tan.

The Australian kelpie is a low-maintenance breed, but his coat needs extra attention. Make sure to brush his coat at least once a week to remove dirt and loose hairs. His fur sheds heavily in spring, so it requires more brushing. Bathing him should only be done once every two or three months or when he gets very dirty. Since most kelpies are active, they don’t usually need regular nail trimmings as their nails naturally wear down. However, check the nails once every two weeks to make sure they don’t overgrow. Daily tooth brushing and weekly ear cleaning should be practised too.

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Temperament and Intelligence

The Australian kelpie is a great companion for families that understand his needs. He bonds strongly with his human companion. His extreme loyalty to his human makes him wary of strangers and other animals. Although this makes him a good watchdog, socialising him throughout his life is a must for him to judge real threats better. Moreover, the kelpie has a natural herding instinct, so it’s not uncommon to see him nipping children, guests, and other pets or chasing down bikes, joggers, and vehicles. Frequent training is a must to ensure that he becomes a well-adjusted pooch in his new home.

Training the Australian kelpie can be quite challenging as he is independent and headstrong. Therefore, the breed is not recommended for first-time owners. When training the kelpie, you must be firm and consistent, but be gentle as well. He is a sensitive dog and scolding him will only lead to disobedience. Use positive reinforcement to keep his enthusiasm for learning.

Although training him can be difficult, the result will be worth it. He is very smart and a quick learner, thus, he can execute almost any command or task. Since the kelpie is a workaholic and an independent dog, he is capable of working with minimal supervision. He excels at herding trials, agility, fly ball, flying disc games, obedience, and tracking. He can also be a great choice as a therapy dog, hearing dog, detection dog, or a search and rescue dog.

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Nutrition and Feeding

Known to be an agile and active breed, the Australian kelpie needs types of food that can supply him with energy that he needs to do his daily tasks. To guarantee that he develops lean muscles to do the job, the breed requires a diet rich in meat protein. Meat products like chicken can be ideal. Bits of fresh fruits like apples and carrots can also be included in his diet.

The Australian kelpie can be fed with excellent-quality dry dog food. Keep away from dog food that has plant-based proteins as the main ingredient. Instead, find dog food brands that use animal-based proteins. This is because meat proteins can be easily digested by dogs.

You can also mix canned food, broth, or water mixed with your chosen dog food. Your Australian kelpie may be fond of fruits, vegetables, cooked eggs, and cottage cheese, but these types of food should not make up more than 9 per cent of his daily food intake. As always, provide fresh, clean water for your dog, and make sure to wash his water and food bowls after feeding.

Since this breed’s active lifestyle particularly affects his joints over time, your Australian kelpie needs to be given nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help protect his joints. These nutrients support joint and bone health and reduce arthritic wear over time. He may also need antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress on cells and slow degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known anti-inflammatories, can improve mobility, so you also need to add these to his diet.

An Australian kelpie pup between eight and twelve weeks needs four meals a day. Whilst a kelpie puppy that is three to six months old should be fed three meals every day. When he is already six months old to one year old, your Australian kelpie only needs to be fed two meals a day.

Below is a rough guide of how much food he needs according to age. Note that the puppy’s build should be taken into consideration when feeding. For example, if he is overweight, it is best to lessen daily the amount of food that you serve him.

  • 2 months old - 173 g to 208 g
  • 3 months old - 199 g to 252 g
  • 4 months old - 211 g to 298 g
  • 5 months old - 214 g to 319 g
  • 6 months old - 214 g to 341 g
  • 8 months old - 177 g to 305 g
  • 12 months old - 219 g to 237g

An adult Australian kelpie needs at least two meals daily. Check the guide below to know how much food is recommended for a fully mature kelpie. You may adjust the amount depending on his energy levels.

  • Dog weighing 14 kg can be fed 178g to 234g
  • Dog weighing 20 kg can be fed 232g to 305g

You may need to know that working kelpies have different nutrient and caloric needs compared to their domestic counterparts, but both have similar requirements. An adult Australian kelpie weighing 13 kilos needs to consume approximately 660 calories per day. On the other hand, a working Australian kelpie may need more than 900 calories a day so he can accomplish his daily activities.

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Health and Exercise

The Australian kelpie is an extremely energetic dog. He fits well with active families and not suited for apartment living. Lack of exercise may lead him to look for his source of fun, which leads to destructive behaviour such as chewing or digging. With that said, he should not be left alone for a long period or he will get restless and bored.

Two hours of walking or jogging will suffice. Consider taking a short walk in the morning and a long one in the afternoon. Make sure he gets enough off-lead time as much as possible. Allow him to roam and run around in dog parks or open spaces. If you have a garden, make sure that the fence is tall and sturdy enough to prevent him from climbing out.

The kelpie is generally a healthy breed, but he is predisposed to a few health issues. Although these conditions are fairly uncommon, it is still recommended to visit the vet for regular check-ups.

  • Cryptorchidism
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Luxating patella
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Cerebellar abiotrophy

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Cost of Ownership

Purchasing an Australian kelpie will cost you about £300. Food expenses cost £20–£30 a month or £240–£360 annually. Other necessities including lead, dog bed, and toys can cost £150–£200. As for medical care costs, you might need to pay over £1000 annually for regular vaccinations, check-ups, and spaying or neutering. Getting a pet insurance for your dog will require you to pay £50–£120 a month. Keep in mind that financial stability plays a big factor in properly caring for your furry friend. Make sure to consider this before you welcome a new dog into the family.

Australian Kelpie Breed Highlights

  • The Australian kelpie is a hardworking and independent dog.
  • He can be stubborn, thus he needs firm and consistent yet gentle training.
  • He is fond of his family and is highly protective of them.
  • Frequent socialisation is required to curb his herding instincts.
  • Due to his high energy, he needs at least two hours of exercise.
Australian Kelpie

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