33-53 lbs
Australian Koolie, German Koolie

The Koolie is a high-energy medium-sized herding dog that originated in Australia in the 19th century and contributed to the development of the Australian Cattle Dog and Australian Kelpie. The Koolie, like the majority of herding dogs, has an intense drive and a powerful work ethic, one that can’t be denied. These dogs will herd anything from ducks to bulls and that includes other pets as well as people. Historically, a large number of Koolie dogs had merle markings, but the correlation between this coloration and dogs that are born blind or deaf has led to a preference for solid color dogs. While it’s inherent friendliness keeps this breed from being much of a guard dog, it’s attentiveness and intelligence make it an excellent watchdog.

purpose Purpose
Herding Dog
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Collie-type Herding Dog, Dingo

Koolie Health

Average Size
Male Koolie size stats
Height: 13-23 inches Weight: 33-53 lbs
Female Koolie size stats
Height: 13-23 inches Weight: 33-53 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Deafness
  • Congenital Eye Defects
Minor Concerns
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (Chd)
  • Skin Allergies
Occasional Diagnoses
  • None Known
Occasional Tests
  • Skin Evaluation
  • Eye Examinations
  • BAER Testing
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging

Koolie Breed History

The full history of the Koolie has been lost to time and a lack of record keeping, but the most widely accepted theory is that their ancestors were German or European herding dogs of some sort that immigrated to Australia with their owners, who then mated with wild dingoes that were native to the area. Some of the breeds that have been credited as contributing to the development of the Australian Koolie include blue merle Smooth Coated Collies, Black and Tan Collies, Welsh Collies, and possibly a herding dog known as the German Tiger, although these claims have not yet been substantiated. Whatever the combination that went into the original herding dogs, the addition of the wild Dingo resulted in a new line that frequently came in a shorter, single-layer coat that was better suited to the warmer climate. This breed became sought after in it’s home country for it’s prowess at all facets of herding: casting, driving, blocking, and even backing, a technique in which they jump on the backs of the animals they are herding and was utilized in the development of other Australian working breeds, including the Australian Cattle Dog and the Australian Kelpie. While some individuals maintain that the name Koolie was a German pronunciation of the word Collie, others believe it to be a reference to the term Coolie, a derogatory term used to describe immigrants to Australia. While the breed is well-known throughout Australia they are primarily a working dog and until recently the breeding records are exceedingly sparse, and due to the diversity within the breed, an accepted breed standard has not yet been drawn up. 

Koolie Breed Appearance

The Koolie breed was developed for their outstanding herding instincts and biddability during training rather than for their physical appearance, so there is more variation in this breed than in many other breeds. They are all athletic and agile dogs that are slightly longer than they are tall, but Koolie dogs from New South Wales were used to flush cattle from gullies and dense bushes so are shorter and stouter than the Koolie dogs that come from Northern stock, which were more often used for driving cattle over long distances. They have well-proportioned heads that sport almond-shaped eyes and balanced, slightly tapered muzzles, but the eyes can come in any color from blue to brown, and sometimes even one of each and although the medium-length triangular ears are typically held upright, some individuals have ears that fold down to the front or to the sides. Although historically there have been a large number of Koolies with merle coloration, color dilution, and blue eyes, breeders are becoming more wary of breeding dogs with these traits as these traits are associated with higher rates of blindness and deafness.

Eye Color Possibilities
blue Koolie eyes
hazel Koolie eyes
brown Koolie eyes
amber Koolie eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
blue Koolie nose
black Koolie nose
brown Koolie nose
isabella Koolie nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Koolie coat
brown Koolie coat
red Koolie coat
blue Koolie coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Koolie straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Koolie Breed Maintenance

Although the Koolie can come in either a short, single-layer coat or a slightly longer double-layered coat, the grooming requirements for the breed are pretty similar across the board. They only need bathing on an occasional basis, and more frequent bathing may strip their coats of the natural oils that help to make their coats somewhat water and weather resistant. Both varieties shed moderately and will need brushing with a slicker brush, stiff bristle brush, or rubber curry comb one to three times a week, but the slightly longer coat may require the use of a comb as well. The double-coated variety may be prone to heavier shedding around the change of seasons and may need additional brushing sessions during that time. The teeth of the Koolie should be brushed three times a week, and the nails cut monthly.

Brushes for Koolie
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Koolie requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Koolie Temperament

This breed is extremely dedicated and hard-working in the field and just as dedicated to having fun when they get home. They are loyal and devoted to their family and while interactions between dogs and children should always be supervised, they tend to be patient with children as well as adults. While they are alert and will bark to let you know if someone is approaching, they don’t generally excel as guard dogs due to their outgoing natures. They are typically friendly with both people and other animals, although their enthusiastic behavior and unwavering herding instincts may rub some individuals the wrong way. Like most herding dogs, these are high energy, high intelligence animals that require a great deal of exercise and attention, and generally do best with a job. They are not only well-suited to herding activities, but also to therapy positions as they tend to have outgoing and happy-go-lucky attitudes, and their willingness and ability to learn and remember large numbers of commands makes them good candidates for performance work. 

Koolie Activity Requirements

It cannot be stressed enough that this is a high energy breed with a great deal of intelligence and curiosity. If this breed does not get enough exercise and mental stimulation they will search for it on their own and that can lead to behaviors that can range from slightly irritating to downright destructive. Daily exercise should include at least an hour to two hours of vigorous activity each day. If you don’t happen to own your own livestock, daily walks and runs can be supplemented by alternative activities such as advanced obedience training, agility training, and even freestyle canine dance. 

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
15 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes
activity minutes

Koolie Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Koolie Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Koolie size stats at six months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
Female Koolie size stats at six months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Koolie size stats at 12 months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 39.0 lbs
Female Koolie size stats at 12 months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 39.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Koolie size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 43.0 lbs
Female Koolie size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 43.0 lbs

Koolie Owner Experiences

18 Months
1 People
House & Yard
I cannot stress enough the high energy levels of the koolie. This guide recommends 90 minutes of exercise per day and 15 miles (24 km) per week. My current boy will run continuously for 6 hours straight and does on average 15 miles (24 km) PER DAY. I recently bought a FitBark to monitor his activity, and one day he ran 30 km (18.5 miles) in the space of 3 hours. My previous koolie would legitimately run all day until either his paws bled or he passed out from exhaustion if I did not intervene. They are a fantastic and loyal breed with a strong desire to please, but they are NOT for anyone who just wants a dog and is not prepared to exercise them for several hours every day.
4 years ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd