Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
The Australian Kelpie is one of the most beloved breeds in Australia—and around the world! The Australian Kelpie has made its way from Down Under to countries across the globe, including the United States, Canada, Argentina, Italy, Korea, the UK, Sweden, New Zealand…Australian Kelpies are even a hit in lesser-known areas like New Caledonia!
For those “in the know,” the Australian Kelpie is a must-meet breed that would make the perfect addition to any family. But for those outside of the Kelpie fan club, this breed is a bit of a mystery.
But we’re here to pull back the curtain and let you in on everything you need to know about this breed! Let’s take a deep dive into all-things-Australian Kelpie:
Also Known As…
Kelpie. Barb. Farmer Dog. “Every time I see a Kelpie, I think of Red Dog.”
The Australian Kelpie is descended from dogs that resembled the collie (although the breed had yet to be officially established) that were brought to Australia from Scotland in the early 19th century. As the dogs were bred, they developed the ability to withstand the heat and dry climate of Australia and continue to do their job—herding.
Fun fact: until the early 21st century, it was thought that the Australian Kelpie was actually a descendent of the dingo! (Spoiler alert—they’re not.)
In terms of height, the Australian Kelpie is a solidly medium-sized dogs. On average, they grow a height of between 17 and 20 inches.
The average weight range for the Australian Kelpie is between 30 and 45 pounds.
If there was one word to describe the Australian Kelpie, it would be “tireless.” Because this breed is a working dog, they have boundless energy—and are happy to keep going until the job is done. They’re also fiercely loyal and are extremely connected to (and affectionate towards) their humans.
Intelligence / Trainability
The Australian Kelpie is an extremely smart breed. Not only are they intelligent, but they’re also highly energetic, obedient, and eager to please—making them extremely trainable. They also tend to perform well in dog sports (like agility or rally training).
Want to get the most out of training your Australian Kelpie? Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the training process:
- Use positive reinforcement. Australian Kelpies are loyal to the humans and extremely eager to please. As such, they’re much more likely to respond to positive reinforcement as opposed harsher training methods. If you want a successful training experience, make sure to shower your Australian Kelpie with plenty of praise, treats, and positive reinforcement.
- Make it active. The Australian Kelpie is an extremely active breed—so if you want them to be fully engaged in training, it should be active as well. Exercise or agility-based training are great ways to harness your Kelpies energy (and train them in the process).
- Make it challenging. Kelpies are also extremely smart, and if they’re not challenged during training, they may get bored and become disengaged. Make sure that all of your training sessions challenge your Australian Kelpie (both physically and mentally) for the best results.
Australian Kelpies are curious and energetic working dogs. Ideally, they’ll live in an environment with a large outdoor area for them to explore and work off their energy. This is also a breed that needs a lot of exercise—and the Kelpie will do best with an owner who has the time and energy to take them on long, daily walks.
Good For Families And Kids?
Australian Kelpies are loyal, intelligent, even-tempered dogs. With their temperament, Kelpies typically get along great with children—making this breed a great choice for a family pet.
The Australian Kelpie has a fairly long lifespan. On average, this breed lives between 10 and 13 years.
Most Australian Kelpies are extremely healthy dogs, and there are few (if any) health issues associated with the breed. However, like all dogs, Australian Kelpies may face health issues as they age, so regular visits to the vet are a must to ensure optimal health.
The Australian Kelpie is a working dog. And, as a result, they have tons of energy—and they need plenty of exercise to work off that energy. Without proper exercise (like long walks, training, and active playtime), they may channel their pent-up energy into destructive behaviors like digging, chewing on things they shouldn’t (like furniture or shoes), and excessive barking.
Friendly with…(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Australian Kelpies are herding dogs, and instinctually, they may try to herd other animals—which may not go over well at the dog park. Kelpies can also have a suspicious streak, so early socialization with other people and animals is key if you want your Kelpie to grow up to be a well-adjusted, friendly dog (and get along with other dogs, animals, and people).
Coat & Grooming
If you’re looking for a dog with fairly minimal grooming needs, the Australian Kelpie would be a great fit. The Australian Kelpie has a double coat; the undercoat is short and dense while the outer coat is made up of hard, straight, flat hairs that are excellent at repelling rain. While you’ll need to brush your Australian Kelpie on a weekly basis to remove any dead hairs, that—along with the occasional bath—is really their only grooming needs.
Toys The Australian Kelpie Would Like Best
Australian Kelpies are both energetic and intelligent—and they absolutely love to play!
The right toys are key for helping your Australian Kelpie work off their excess energy and feel like their happiest, healthiest self. Some toys you should definitely consider for this breed include:
- Fetch Toys. Running is a great way for your Kelpie to work off any excess energy. And a Fetch Toy like the “Best Balls Ever” is a great way to get them running!
- Tug Toys. Australian Kelpies love to engage with their humans—and a good, old-fashioned game of tug of war is a great way to give your Kelpie the one-on-one playtime they crave.
- Treat-Dispensing Super Chewer Toys. As mentioned, the Australian Kelpie is an extremely intelligent breed—and because they’re so smart, they need mental play as much as physical. Treat-dispensing Super Chewer Toys are the perfect solution; they get to play, challenge their brain, and they get a tasty reward all at the same time!
Recommended Diet or Supplements
Like all dogs, the Australian Kelpie will experience peak physical health when they’re fed a diet of high-quality dog food free from any unnatural ingredients, preservatives, or fillers. Because they’re an active breed (and a working dog), they may need a higher quantity of food than more sedentary dogs—especially on days with a high amount of activity.
As your Australian Kelpie ages, you may also want to consider dietary supplements to support their overall health and well-being.
These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
These veterinarian-formulated supplements are made with all natural glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, all packed into a delicious soft chew. ($32.99.)
Kelpies, just like any dog, love to take a load off after a long day of…running around for hours on end or whatever they’re doing. That’s why they deserve their own bed, especially if they have joint issues.
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed provides support for even the most active of dogs! The combination ergonomic memory foam and gel foam relieves pressure points, and helps ease body aches caused by hip dysplasia, arthritis and other orthopedic issues. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Australian Kelpie Of Your Dreams
There are plenty of Australian Kelpies out there in need of a stable, loving home. So, if you think the Australian Kelpie is the breed for you, adopt, don’t shop! Instead of going to a breeder, look for an adoptable Kelpie at a rescue or shelter.
Looking for the perfect Australian Kelpie to adopt and add to your family? You can find Australian Kelpies that are ready for adoption through national dog adoption and rescue databases like Rescue Me, Pet Adoptions by Overstock, or Adopt-a-Pet.
Notable Instagram Australian Kelpies
If you love Australian Kelpies, why not carry that love over to social media?
There are a ton of adorable Kelpies on Instagram just waiting to deliver a heavy dose of cuteness to your Insta feed. Here are some notable Instagram Australian Kelpies you should check out as soon as possible:
***Looking for a gift to blow your Kelpie’s mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! 🙂
Featured image via TheAdventuresofRocket1/Instagram