Updated 26-06-2023

Australian Kelpie Characteristics, Facts & Traits

Because of the hot environment in Australia, the Kelpie was originally designed to be a herding dog that would not require much monitoring. To this day, they still have such attributes.

The herding instincts of Australian Kelpies are still used in Australia and the United States. It's a good fit for these dogs, as they're most content when they must perform. Those who desire to maintain an Australian Kelpie as a pet should keep in mind that a bored Kelpie may engage in destructive behavior as a kind of entertainment.

As long as the trainer is confident and skilled, these dogs may be trained for nearly any task, as long as they are given positive reinforcement without being too severe.

Dog sports, search and rescue, nose work, and service dog tasks are all things that Australian Kelpies excel at. They have a lot of energy and a lot of workout requirements. Even though they are capable of working on their own, they require human companionship and guidance.

An extended period apart from them is dangerous. Children, other pets, and even guests can be nipped at the heels if their natural herding impulses aren't appropriately restrained and channeled early on. However, with patience and instruction, they can become loyal companions who excel as watchdogs and work relentlessly at any task they are given.

You'll find a comprehensive list of Australian Kelpie traits down the page!


  • The Australian Kelpie is still employed to help herd animals in Australia and the United States with little requirement for supervision.
  • Dingoes and Australian Kelpies are thought to have interbred at some stage in the breed's history.
  • Kelpies, Celtic water spirits that might take the guise of horses or humans, inspired the breed's name.
  • Australian Kelpies may learn a variety of skills, including search and rescue, detection, therapy, guiding dog work, agility, and other dog sports.
  • For example, the Australian Kelpie's coat is available in a wide range of colors black and brown are the most common), as well as tan markings.
  • The outer weather-resistant layer of Australian Kelpies' double coats is common. Their coats don't require a lot of grooming, although they do shed more heavily in the spring and may require additional brushing.
  • As long as they're well-trained and given chores that keep them mentally and physically engaged, Australian Kelpies can make wonderful pets.


Social Appearance 


A little dog isn't inherently better for an apartment than a larger one, contrary to popular opinion. It's not uncommon for tiny dogs to be too rambunctious to live in a high-rise apartment. If you're looking for an apartment dog, look for one who is well-behaved, quiet, low-energy, and easy to live with. And if you want to offer your dog a bit more privacy in your apartment, this is the place to do it.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. It's easier for dogs with low sensitivity to manage a noisy, chaotic home, a louder or more aggressive owner, and an unpredictable or varied schedule since they're more forgiving. Playing in a garage band, having small children, or living a hectic lifestyle are all signs that you might fit into this category. Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


In any case, no matter how much energy he has, your dog will go about his business with gusto. He'll strain on the leash (until you teach him otherwise), push over obstacles, and even down his food and water. These dynamos require a lot of training to become well-mannered, therefore they may not be the greatest choice for a family with little children or an old person. In contrast, a dog with poor vitality takes a more reserved attitude to life.

Potential for Playfulness

Certain dogs are always looking for a game, while others are more stoic and reserved. Be realistic about how much time you want to spend playing fetch or tug with your dog each day, and whether your family has children or other canines that can fill in as his playmates.

Personality Appearance


In the same way that working dogs designed to run all day need to exercise their bodies as well as their minds, dogs bred for professions like herding livestock need mental stimulation, too. A lack of mental stimulation can cause them to create their labor, such as digging and chewing, if they don't get it. Dog sports and occupations, like agility and search and rescue, are excellent methods to offer a dog a mental workout.

Energy Level

Dogs with a high level of energy are always ready for action. As a canine task, such as herding animals or chasing prey, they've got the stamina to labor through the entire day. To keep up with their high energy demands and to keep their minds engaged, they're more inclined to engage in activities like running, jumping, and exploring new sounds and smells.

The canine version of a couch potato, a low-energy dog is satisfied to lounge around all day. Consider your level of activity and lifestyle when choosing a breed, and whether or not you'll find a rambunctious, excitable dog energizing or irritating.

Easy To Train

An easy-to-train dog is more competent at quickly making the connection between a cue (such as the phrase "sit"), an action (such as sitting), and a reward (such as obtaining a treat). It takes more time, patience, and repetition to train other breeds.

In many cases, you'll need to employ rewards and games to encourage your dog to want to comply with your commands if he approaches training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Even if they've been nurtured by the same person since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others bond strongly with one person and are indifferent to others, and yet others shower the entire family with affection. It's not just the breed that influences a dog's level of attachment; canines who were raised in a home with people around are more likely to form strong bonds with humans.


Having a blasé attitude about screaming, running youngsters, and being gentle with children are all characteristics of a dog that is good with children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, who are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not usually family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Friendship with dogs and friendship with people are two distinct concepts. Even though they're good with people, some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs; some would prefer to play than fight, and yet others may turn tails and flee. It's not only a matter of what kind of dog you have. At six to eight weeks of age, puppies should have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother, and they are more likely to have good social skills.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Your clothes and your home will likely get soiled by dog hair if you bring a pet into the mix. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely between breeds. Some dogs shed all year round, some that "blow" seasonally and some that don't shed at all. To keep the house clean, you need to either choose a low-shedding breed or lower your expectations. You can use a de-shedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

Slobbery dogs may drape ropes of slobber around your arm and leave large wet stains on your clothing when they come over to say hello. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming to maintain their health and cleanliness. Grooming a dog that requires a lot of effort and patience may not be in your best interests.

Exercise Needs

Even a stroll around the neighborhood can be enough exercise for certain breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, strenuous exercise.

These breeds may put on weight if they don't get enough exercise, and their pent-up energy may manifest itself in behaviors you don't appreciate, including barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that require a lot of exercises are ideal for folks who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors or who want to train their dog for a high-intensity canine sport like agility.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


25 to 46 pounds


10 to 15 years


15 to 20 inches


Despite its name, the Australian kelpie may trace its lineage back to Scotland. Large working collies were imported to Australia in the late 1800s to help Australian farmers manage their massive flocks of thousands of sheep in severe weather and terrain. Some were long haired and smooth, some were black and tan, and some were red.

The name "Kelpie" comes from the Celtic mythology of a shape-shifting aquatic creature and was given to a female regarded to be the foundation of the breed. Her offspring were excellent sheepherders when she was finally bred. "Kelpie's pups" and "Kelpie" became common terms for the dog's descendants (without capitalization).

Australian kelpies are widely renowned as working dogs in their native land, but they are less well-known as pets in the United States. However, a few thousand kelpies are working on North American ranches and farms.

The American Kennel Club does not recognize the Australian kelpie, but it is part of the AKC Foundation Stock Service, which is the first step toward full recognition of the breed. U.S. kelpie, a member of the Herding Dogs Group, is recognized by the United Kennel Club. The Fédération Cynologique International has also recognized the breed.

Personality and Temperament

An Australian Kelpie's temperament is predictable. This breed is known for its loyalty to its owners and other family members.

Intelligible Kelpies need mental stimulation as much as physical exertion. Neglecting these standards may lead to undesirable behavior. They were created to herd animals and still do best when given a task. A Kelpie's disposition is one of extreme alertness and energy.

Australian Kelpies have an independent streak that can be quite useful while herding, but it also means they need to be cognitively stimulated or they might get bored and destructive. An Australian Kelpie left alone for too long will get lonely and melancholy.

When properly trained and solely given positive reinforcement, these dogs can learn and obey even harsh or punitive commands. Australian Kelpies are suspicious of strangers and highly territorial.

Although this makes them excellent watchdogs, they require early socialization and it may be preferable if other pets are not allowed on the property. They must learn to be suspicious and to let people in.


Australian kelpies have been bred to work all day in harsh conditions, therefore they require a lot of exercises to maintain their health. For this breed, you'll need some basic grooming abilities, which will come in handy as you'll be spending a lot of time exercising your kelpie.


In general, Australian Kelpies have a low incidence of genetic diseases. However, as with all dogs, they are prone to several health difficulties, particularly structural ones caused by their exuberant nature. Some examples of this are luxating patella (hip dysplasia), progressive retinal atrophy (Collie eye abnormality), and luxating patella (elbow dysplasia). Cerebellar abiotrophy, a disorder that affects mobility, is another option.

Hip Dysplasia

Australian Kelpies are prone to hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition that causes the hip joints to develop abnormally and eventually lead to arthritis. You may observe that his rear legs are limp or that he has difficulties rising from slumber. To minimize discomfort and anguish, we should begin treatment for arthritis as soon as possible. 

The condition will be detected as early as possible by taking X-rays of your dog's joints. Hip dysplasia surgery may be an option for patients with severe and life-threatening forms of the condition. Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from arthritis, which can lead to debilitating discomfort and even death, than dogs who are of normal weight.

Knee Problems

When your Kelpie's patella (kneecap) is out of place, it might be dangerous (called patellar luxation). Occasionally, while he runs, you may see that he skips or hops a few steps with his back leg raised. Once he has popped the kneecap back into position with a sideways kick, he is good to go. It's possible that if the problem is minor and just affects one leg, your friend will only need to take anti-inflammatory medicine. Surgery may be required to straighten the kneecap to prevent it from popping out of position in severe cases.

Cerebellar Abiotrophy 

A neurological abnormality that occurs as a child

Collie Eye Anomaly

A condition that can cause a variety of eye issues, including vision loss, as well as other eye problems.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

The eyes are genetically predisposed to go blind in the case of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Although Australian Kelpies are more likely to suffer from this illness than other breeds, it's not all bad news: While not unpleasant, there is no cure for PRA. When a dog is three to five years old, problems including night blindness and dilated pupils are common. It is possible to have a genetic test for this illness.

Recommended Health Test

  1. CERF 
  2. Physical Examination


Because of their high level of activity, Australian Kelpies need a diet that can keep up with their demands. Animal protein is the most important, so make sure it is the first ingredient in anything you feed them. In addition to high-quality dry kibble, which should be fed in two portions of around two cups each, lean meats, such as chicken or turkey, should be offered on occasion to provide your pet with the extra energy they require.

Even if these dogs have a lot of energy, they are prone to gaining weight, and most experts advise against feeding them treats or too many table scraps; instead, stick to high-quality dog food. Corn, wheat, and soy products, which are high in fillers, can quickly contribute to obesity.


A kelpie's grooming isn't that difficult. In addition to a thicker undercoat, they also have a flat, water-repellent coat on top of it. It is recommended that you brush your Kelpie once a week to remove loose hair and other dirt. Your Kelpie may also want a bath from time to time to keep him or her fresh and tidy.

The nails of a Kelpie must also be regularly trimmed to prevent them from growing too long and causing discomfort for the dog when walking. Brushing their teeth a few times a week is also necessary to prevent dental disease.


Australian Kelpies require a lot of physical activity to maintain their health and happiness. If these dogs aren't being used for labor, they need to spend as much time outside as possible, running for miles every day. Ideally, they should be exercising for at least four hours each day, but even more, is preferable. It's important to keep their herding impulses in check by playing games like fetch or solving puzzles with them regularly.

If you have a dog like a Kelpie, you know how difficult it is to keep them physically active. Tire them out using unconventional methods like weight vests or even treadmills. Running or cycling with them on a leash is also an excellent idea since this vigorous exercise will tire them out and they will like it!


Australian kelpies, like most herding breeds, are exceptionally intelligent and docile. When it comes to intelligence, InThereed is right up there with the fabled border collies. When it comes to training Kelpies, you can do just about everything you can think of.

There are several ways to keep the mind active, and training is one of the best ways to keep kelpies from becoming bored. A kelpie responds well to positive-reinforcement approaches like clicker training.

Puppies from the Australian Kelpie breed need a lot of early socialization to be tolerant of strangers and adaptable in a city setting. If not properly educated to stop barking once the alarm has been properly sounded, this breed may bark incessantly.

Children and Other Pets

If you have small children or other pets, an Australian Kelpie's herding instincts may make it difficult for them to live with you because they nip at anyone or anything they think needs to be herded. When youngsters bring young friends over, their apprehension of strangers may cause problems. If socialization is started early in childhood, all of these tendencies can be controlled and redirected to more constructive conduct. To establish a safe and positive living environment for everyone, including your new pup, consider adopting an Australian Kelpie before deciding to do so.


The Australian Kelpie is not a couch potato and will not spend the entire day lounging around. These canines require a lot of physical activity. You should be aware, before getting a Kelpie puppy that daily exercise will require at least 2-3 hours of your time. However, they are unsuitable for apartment living and should only be considered as a pet on small farms or in homes with spacious backyards and other dogs to play with.

In comparison to other breeds, an Australian Kelpie is a huge responsibility because of its boundless energy. Having said that, they can make fantastic pets if they have an owner that is self-assured and provides them with lots of mental and physical stimulation.

Due to the difficulty of locating Australian Kelpies in the United States, breeders often charge a premium for their pups. A Kelpie puppy can cost anywhere from $500-$1,500, depending on the breeder, region, and supply. The Kelpie breeders normally work with are usually two main sorts of Kelpie. There are two types of Kelpies: show Kelpies, which are the most prevalent, and working Kelpies, which are bred for herding and are more difficult to care for.

Dog breeds related to Australian Kelpie

Among the three breeds that are similar to the Australian Kelpie arise Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, and Border collie.

Australian Cattle Dog

Both Kelpies and Australian Cattle Dogs were bred in Australia to herd livestock. In terms of size, the Australian Cattle Dog is slightly larger than the Kelpie, with an average weight of 46 pounds vs 35 pounds, respectively. Both the Kelpie and the Australian Cattle Dog have a thicker, denser coat.

Australian Shepherd

Kelpies are smaller in stature than Australian Shepherds. Male Australian Shepherds weigh on average 57.5 pounds, while male Kelpies weigh on average 35 pounds. It is possible to train both breeds to be outstanding watchdogs.

Border Collie

Both Border Collies and Kelpies are great sheepdogs, and can be trained to do so. Similar in size, with an average weight of roughly 35 pounds. Border Collies can be more loving and need more grooming than Kelpies.