The history of the Kelpie is not documented well and many
researchers have tried to find his origins only to come up with theories, not
actual fact. It is believed that the Working Kelpie developed from three pairs
of working Collies that were imported by early landholders in Australia.
It is unclear whether these Collies were Border Collies or Scottish Collies.
However, since the breed is affected with Collie Eye Anomaly or CEA,
it is speculated that these working Collies were the Scottish Collies. It is known and well documented that one of the foundation
females for the Kelpie breed was a black and tan working Collie owned by George
Robertson of Worrock Station. This female was then either given or sold to J.D.
“Jack” Gleeson who named the female “Kelpie”. Jack Gleeson trained Kelpie to
work the sheep. Gleeson was then given an all black dog named “Moss” who came
from dogs imported from Scotland.
Kelpie and Moss were bred together and their offspring is thought to be the
start of developing the Working Kelpie breed. It is thought that the offspring of this mating was then
bred to cattle dogs of various origins and also to dingoes. The resulting
offspring were then bred back to dogs similar to Kelpie and Moss to set type.
However, the drovers were not overly concerned with the look of the dog as long
as he was able to perform the job he was supposed to. The Working Kelpie was
found in many different colors but the black and black and white Kelpies were
commonly called Barbs. Even today, many in Australia
call them Barbs. The modern Working Kelpie can be traced back to the 1870s
and although research is still being done on the breed, it is obvious from the
look and genetic makeup of the breed he developed from the Collie, Cattle Dog
and Dingo. The United Kennel Club recognizes the Australian
Kelpie and the Working Kelpie as one breed. However, the American Kennel Club has decided to accept both the Australian Kelpie and the Working Kelpie into
its Foundation Stock Service as two distinct breeds.