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The Australian Kelpie is a medium-sized dog originally bred for droving and mustering livestock. They are skilled and intelligent dogs with a rich history in Australia.
Australian Kelpies have compact bodies with a broad chest, muscular lower body, and a medium-length, low-set tail. Kelpies have a double coat made up of a short, dense undercoat covered by a hard, straight, weather-resistant overcoat. They come in a few different colours and patterns, the most common being black and red, with or without tan/fawn, chocolate and blue.
The average Kelpie stands between 43 and 51 cm tall and weighs around 14 – 20 kg and their lifespan is about 11 – 15 years.
Like all dogs originally bred to work, the Kelpie has lots of energy and needs frequent, vigorous exercise – though sometimes even this isn’t enough to tire them out! Owners are recommended to take their Kelpie for a long walk or jog at least once a day. Kelpies also love flyball training that keeps their mind and body active.
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The Kelpie is known for its boundless energy, enthusiasm and work ethic. For this reason, they are not recommended for relatively inactive families, as they require lots of physical and mental stimulation each day. A bored Kelpie can develop behavioural problems, so owners are encouraged to keep them well occupied.
A highly intelligent breed, the Kelpie is easy to train and a fast learner. Not only are they great workers, but they excel in agility trials due to their ability to jump extremely high.
When dealing with livestock, the clever Kelpie often jumps on the backs of sheep and runs over the top of them to get to the other side as quickly as possible.
Kelpies have excellent sight and can be trained as seeing-eye dogs. Their amazing eyes also make them great watchdogs. Though not aggressive in nature, the Kelpie can be very protective of its family and property, even if it means sacrificing itself.
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The Kelpie’s ancestors were black dogs known simply as Collies. These dogs were imported to Australia to work with livestock in the 1800s and were crossbred with other types of dog (possibly even the Dingo).
The first Kelpie (a black and tan pup) was reported in 1872 by Jack Gleeson. Gleeson named the dog after the kelpie, a mythological being in Scottish folklore. The first Kelpie’s subsequent litters were referred to also as “Kelpies”, and the name caught on. “Barb” (black) Kelpies earned their name after a black Kelpie pup was named Barb after the 1866 Melbourne Cup winner.
Australian Kelpie Rescue: http://www.auskelpierescue.com/
The Australian Kelpie Club of NSW: http://www.australiankelpieclubnsw.com/
The Working Kelpie Council of Australia: http://www.wkc.org.au/
Australian Cattle Dog & Kelpie Club of Qld: http://www.cattledog-kelpieclubqld.com/