Australian Kelpie

An Australian Kelpie.
An Australian Kelpie.
An Australian Kelpie.
An Australian Kelpie.

Quick Facts

  • Weight: 31 – 46 pounds
  • Height: 19.5 – 21.5 inches

The Look of a Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpies have compact, muscular frames—slightly longer than tall—covered in coarse, weatherproof coats that come in black, black & tan, chocolate, blue and fawn. Their long, narrow heads have rounded skulls, pointy ears and brown, almond-shaped eyes. They have strong necks, deep chests and tails that curl up a bit at the end. Overall, Australian Kelpies have an alert and durable look.


  • Tireless
  • Hardworking
  • Dependable
  • Intelligent
  • Independent

Ideal Human Companion

  • Active singles
  • Families with older children
  • Outdoorsy types
  • Farmers and ranchers

What They Are Like to Live With

Australian Kelpies are devoted, friendly and focused canines. They tend to bond with one person in the family— this comes from their strong loyalty instinct, as opposed to shyness. However, they are cooperative and playful with everyone in the family.

Kelpies have great personalities, especially when they have “tasks” to accomplish or animals to herd. When the mood strikes, they may even herd people around—in a friendly way, of course. If you’re a jogger or long-distance runner, you’re in luck: Australian Kelpies have incredible stamina.

Things You Should Know

Born to run, herd and work, the Australian Kelpie will probably not be happy in an apartment, especially if left alone all day. The Kelpie needs room to run, lots of walks and plenty of positive attention. If you can give it a job to do, it will astound you with its efficiency and enthusiasm—not to mention speed.

Australian Kelpies can live as long as 14 years. Generally healthy, some Kelpies can develop hip dysplasia and eye problems. They are very easy to groom, only requiring the occasional brushing. Don’t bathe them too often, since excess soap could remove their natural weatherproofing.

Australian Kelpie History

Bred from a mix of English working dogs in the late 1800s, the Australian Kelpie was born from necessity: The outback climate was too rough and tough for your typical Border Collie. Today, the Australian Kelpie is still the most popular working dog Down Under. It also does a pretty good job in the role of household companion.

13 thoughts on “Australian Kelpie”

  1. My great uncle, John Quinn, had a lot to do with breeding the original kelpies I believe. His dog, Coil, was quite a dog it seems, and won the trials at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney three years in a row, the last time with his leg in a brace after falling off the truck on the way to the show. Luckily, Uncle John was a vet, so he splinted the leg and kept going. He won with perfect scores (even with the broken leg). In the end Uncle John was asked to stop competing to give others a chance!

    Word spread and eventually Coil was taken off for tests in UK where they even had him shepherding chickens into biscuit tins. Quite a feat. Since then, family dogs have often been named Coil as a tradition.

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