Australian Kelpie

31-46 lbs
Australian Sheepdog, Australischer Kelpie, Barb, Kelpie, Working Kelpie

The Australian Kelpie is a clever dog used for herding and to guard the homestead. He is a medium sized dog that is mainly found in his native Australia but he is gaining popularity in the United States. The Kelpie needs a job to do to keep him happy, so do not be surprised if he finds things to keep him occupied such as tearing up trash, digging or even barking. His natural herding instincts can get him in trouble when he becomes over-stimulated and tries to herd children or vehicles. A sturdy fence will keep him from wandering the neighborhood and causing mischief. 

Herding, Watchdog
Date of Origin
Collie, Dingo, Other Herding Breeds

Australian Kelpie Health

Average Size
Male Australian Kelpie size stats
Height: 18-20 inches Weight: 31-46 lbs
Female Australian Kelpie size stats
Height: 17-19 inches Weight: 31-46 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
Minor Concerns
  • Cerebellar Abiotrophy (Ataxia)
Occasional Diagnoses
  • None Known
Occasional Tests
  • CERF
  • Physical Examination

Australian Kelpie Breed History

It is estimated that the Australian Kelpie was developed in the late 19th century, possibly around 1870. During this time, the sheep and wool industry was exploding in Australia creating a need for ranchers to have hardy dogs able to work with the sheep. The Kelpie, as he is fondly called by Aussie ranchers, is believed to be descended from the Collie, Border Collie, English Shepherd and the Australian Shepherd. He also comes directly from the Dingo, which is a wild dog native to Australia. The Australian Kelpie was imported into North America around the early 1900s. Ranchers in the United States found the Kelpie to be a sturdy herder that adapted easily to the terrain, climate and various livestock. He is still considered rare in North America since there are so many other herding breeds that are employed on farms and ranches. Usually, the Australian Kelpie is not kept simply as a family companion. He requires a job to do and does not thrive in a home where he is just a couch potato. There are at least 100,000 Kelpies employed on farms and ranches in Australia and there are thousands more across the world working on ranches. The United Kennel Club recognized the Australian Kelpie and the North American Australian Kelpie Registry was established so breeders could register their breeding stock. The main goal of the North American Australian Kelpie Registry is to preserve his good health, temperament, conformation and natural herding instincts. The American Kennel Club has begun accepting the Australian Kelpie into its Foundation Stock Service, which is the first step towards full AKC breed recognition. 

Australian Kelpie Breed Appearance

The Australian Kelpie is a medium sized dog with a compact body and muscular legs. He has a broad chest and is a little longer than he is tall. His hindquarters are strong and well developed giving him the ability to turn and leap quickly when herding. The Kelpie has a narrow head that is also long, with a black nose and dark eyes, although, his nose can be self-colored or brown depending on his coat color. He has a low set tail and arched toes. The double coat of the Kelpie is dense, short and weather repellent. The outer coat is straight and harsh, his undercoat is softer. His coat will appear longer during the winter months but this is simply his undercoat coming in thick to protect him from the elements. The Australian Kelpie comes in several different colors including black, blue, brown, fawn, chocolate, or black and tan. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Australian Kelpie eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Australian Kelpie nose
brown Australian Kelpie nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Australian Kelpie coat
brown Australian Kelpie coat
blue Australian Kelpie coat
fawn Australian Kelpie coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Australian Kelpie straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Australian Kelpie Breed Maintenance

The Australian Kelpie is not a hypoallergenic dog. He does not generally have a strong doggy smell and only requires a bath usually two times a year unless he is working livestock. His coat should be brushed at least once a week to remove dirt and loose hairs. He is a seasonal shedder and during times of intense shedding, he should be brushed more often. A natural bristle brush, comb and slicker brush should be used when grooming the Kelpie. When the Kelpie is out working with the livestock, he will need brushed less often, but may require a dry bath or a full bath when he comes in from the herd. Most Australian Kelpies that are active and working on rougher terrain will naturally wear their toenails down so trimming is not usually needed. Check his nails every few weeks to make sure they are wearing down. Clean his ears weekly to keep infections from occurring.

Brushes for Australian Kelpie
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Australian Kelpie requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Australian Kelpie Temperament

Alert does not even begin to describe the Australian Kelpie’s personality. He is a very active dog and many people claim his energy levels know no limits. Therefore, daily exercise is essential for the Kelpie. He has a high intelligence and needs mental daily mental activities as well as physical activities to keep him from becoming destructive or a pest. Even though he is a high energy dog, he is very devoted to his master and his work. Training the Australian Kelpie is relatively simple. He works well on the reward system and can easily be trained to retrieve items for you or keep a watch on the home to ensure nothing is amiss. Dog sports, especially herding trials and agility, would be a fantastic way for him to expel some of his energy and bond with his owner. Early socialization is necessary to ensure the Australian Kelpie does not become shy or aggressive towards strangers. He does well with other dogs and loves playing with children. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Australian Kelpie Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.8 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Australian Kelpie Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Australian Kelpie size stats at six months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 18.5 lbs
Female Australian Kelpie size stats at six months
Height: 14.0 inches Weight: 18.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Australian Kelpie size stats at 12 months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 28.5 lbs
Female Australian Kelpie size stats at 12 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 28.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Australian Kelpie size stats at 18 months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 38.5 lbs
Female Australian Kelpie size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 38.5 lbs

Australian Kelpie Owner Experiences

6 Years
5 People
House & Yard
He's great. Very protective poover me (his "master"). Works well as my Diabetic Alert dog! Senses my blood sugar & warns me! Senses my migraines & stays close till gone. Very friendly with strangers & children, but aware & always watching over us for potential danger. Needs 2-3 baths a year. Brushing is minimal. He does have Epilepsy but other than that, relatively healthy.
1 year, 9 months ago
5 Years
3 People
House & Yard
These dogs are extremely affectionate and always looking for your approval. Despite them being so loyal, they do have a mind of their own and do need to have a careful eye as they can be quite stubborn off the lead. Also without enough socialisation can be very timid and aggressive. I have never had a big problem with Tilly she is just a bit shy but with form an amazing bond with you once she trusts you. Not the easiest to train but does love a good treat and tend to be toy and treat motivated.
2 years, 10 months ago
1 Month
1 People
awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome
2 years, 10 months ago
2 Years
I absolutely love Australian Kelpies! I have worked with them in the past in a boarding setting and have also walked them. They are such great dogs and so smart! All of the Kelpies I have met I have been very high energy and always seem like they are in “go” mode when they are playing or enjoying time outside. When it’s time to relax, they are the best cuddle buddy’s! The are very well behaved and are easily trained. The Kelpies I have met have been great with other dogs and love to play! They seem like very loyal and happy dogs. I think the Kelpie is a great dog for those who want a high energy dog and for those who are willing to train them and get them the proper exercise that they need.
3 years, 5 months ago
4 Years
This beautiful dog was bred for herding and boy does it show. I had the honors of working with Nelly a four year old Aussie Kelpie and I'll tell ya this, he was always on high alert. Herding is almost (literally) bred into their blood. Nelly was still very young but I'd find him trying to lead almost everything in the barn. When we weren't on the field he was with family in the house and in there it's almost like he was trying to guide the kids. I think the Kelpie is a great family dog if you're willing to give the time and love to entertain and use their abilities. I find they don't do very well when bored so interaction is a must to keep them happy. Often when you're resting you'll notice they like to stare outside or through the window quietly. I personally haven't seen an Aussie Kelpie bark much at people passing by their territory. They're more of the sit back and observe type of dog. Outside or in a dog park they often enjoy a good run, having something they can chase through a field is usually best.
3 years, 5 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd