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.
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.
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.
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.