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Australian Kelpie

Country/Date of Origin: Australia/1800s

The Kelpie is named for the foundation bitch of the breed, an animal of English bloodlines that was sent to Australia. There, no doubt, an infusion of other working stock dog blood and perhaps a bit of Dingo created a dog that was perfectly sited to the harsh dry conditions of Australia and mountainous wet climate of New Zealand. The breed was first exhibited in 1908. It has been shown sparingly in the United States although it has not achieved full recognition by the American Kennel Club. It can be shown in the Miscellaneous Class, but not for championship points.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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AKC Group: Miscellaneous

Breed Club: The Australian Kelpie Club of Victoria Inc.

Rescue Club: NorthWest Kelpie Rescue, Nita Shannon, (503)-695-6432, Email: [email protected] (Oregon)

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Body Type:

  • A lean, compact herding dog of medium size with a fox like face
  • Height: 17-20 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 25-45 pounds
  • The medium-length tail is set low. It is not altered
  • The ears are naturally erect


  • A sheepdog's intelligence
  • The Kelpie is more difficult to control than the other English sheepdog breeds
  • A "strong eye" herder, the Kelpie almost hypnotizes the sheep into doing what they want
  • Does not make a good house dog; this animal has too much energy to be cooped up; It is a country dog


  • Tough, weather-resistant outercoat and a short, dense undercoat that lies close to the body
  • Permissible colors are red, red-and-tan, black, black-and-tan, chocolate, fawn and smoke blue
  • Moderate grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Generally robust as are most working stock dogs that have not been bred for show purposes
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • A rare breed in the United States
  • Puppies will be very difficult, if not impossible, to find
  • Part of the legend of the Australian Bush
  • This is a tough dog that can take anything the Land Down Under dishes out

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