Australian Kelpie

Breed Summary

The Kelpie is a soft-coated, medium-sized dog, with prick ears and an athletic appearance. The appearance is an active dog showing hard, muscular condition, and conveying the capability of untiring work. It must give the impression of suppleness, and be free from any suggestion of weediness.

Country of Origin: Australia

AKC Classification: Foundation Stock Service

UKC Classification: Herding Dog

Exercise Requirements: >40 minutes/day

Height: Female: 15-17 inches; Male: 17-20 inches

Weight: Female: 29-42 lb.; Male: 29-42 lbs.

Physical traits: Muscular, Compact, Well-balanced

Coat: Length: Short

Characteristics: Dense

Colors: Black, Fawn, Cream, Chocolate, Black & Tan, Blue, Brown

Overall Grooming Needs: Medium

Personality traits/Temperament: Loyal, Alert, Intelligent

Energy Level: Average

Tendency to Drool: Low

Tendency to Snore: Low

Tendency to Bark: Low

Tendency to Dig: Low

Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

Health care

Australian Kelpies are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Kelpie can gain the education they need about specific health concerns. Good breeders use genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies. They are susceptible to disorders common to all breeds, like cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, cerebellar abiotrophy, and luxating patella. Current research is underway to find the genetic marker for cerebellar abiotrophy in the breed.


The Australian Kelpie should do well on high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Add a high quality multivitamin to complete the nutritional circle. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.


Training for dog sports like agility, obedience, and rally can be a great way to give your dog exercise. Kelpies are eager for a job to do, so giving them the mental exercise that training provides is a great way to keep them happy and involved.


Australian Kelpies need a lot of exercise to be their happiest selves. A good jog or long workout combined with the mental exercise of obedience lessons should be done daily. Use paw balm to protect their feet. Kelpies prefer a job to do (they will try to herd other dogs, pets, even children), but they also have an “off” switch. They can do a five-mile run, then settle on the couch with the family to watch a movie. Kelpies are not suited to apartment living as they need space for their limitless energy.

Fun Fact

  • Kelpies have natural oils in their skin that keep their coat weather resistant.

  • They are not commonly kept as pets, they are herding dogs who work.

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