(aka: Kelpie, Barb, Australian Sheepdog)
Australian Kelpie Description
The general appearance shall be that of a lithe, active dog showing hard, muscular condition, and conveying the capability of untiring work. Movement and action shall be smooth and effortless, with a good length of stride.
The Australian Kelpie has a compact body and well-developed limbs. Slightly longer than he is tall, the Kelpie has a broad chest and firm hind quarters that contribute to his flexible, energized appearance. The head is long and narrow. The medium length tail is low set. The short, compact feet have well arched toes. The double coat consists of a short and dense undercoat and a hard, straight and weather-repellent outer coat. Color possibilities include black and red, each with or without out tan; and fawn, chocolate and blue. Kelpie owners are more interested in the breed's working ability then their appearance.
The Kelpie is extremely alert, eager and highly intelligent, with a mild, tractable disposition, marked loyalty and devotion to duty. It has a natural instinct and aptitude in the working of livestock, both in a confined area and in open country. An open, friendly, alert but placid disposition is essential, with a good balance between keenness to work and ability to rest.
The Australian Kelpie is easy to groom. An occasional combing and brushing is all that it needs. Bathe only when necessary as it will remove the natural oils in the weather-resistant coat and dry out the skin. This breed is an average shedder.
The Australian Kelpie (known since 1870) has a really interesting background. Many believe the Kelpie, because of its distinctive face and eyes, is the result of a Dingo crossed with a Border Collie. The Dingo is thought to be the ancestor of all dog breeds - the base stock. The name Kelpie actually comes from the water kelpie in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Kidnapped.
Their actual origin is that they were developed from English North Country Collies of the Rutherford strain. Working dogs, they were imported to Australia in the late 19th century. Currently there are roughly 100,000 Kelpies in service in Australia. They have no limitations and can work reindeer, poultry, goats and cattle. Outstanding in obedience competitions.
This breed has actually been separated into two groups: the Show Kelpie and the Working Kelpie. The Show Kelpie is seen at conformation shows and has almost no herding instinct. Working Kelpies are bred for their herding instincts. Australia has two different registries: one for working dogs and the other for show Kelpies.
Due to their intelligence, the Kelpie is easy to train, however they tend to use their own initiative. Meaning, they would be less compliant than some other breeds. To have a well trained Kelpie there needs to be a good relationship with their owner and they need to respect that owner.
These dogs think and their ability to solve complex problems is phenomenal. The working Kelpie mostly uses his own initiative and works well in unsupervised conditions. The Kelpie may not wait for a command to act but tries to anticipate what is needed - and usually succeeds in getting it right.
Keep things interesting while you are training. This breed learns fast but can be easily bored. Firm but fair training methods are best. You, not your Kelpie are the Alpha dog - the pack leader. In your home, you are the dog's pack and if you don't set yourself up to be the Alpha dog (leader) your dog will take the role over himself. Anyone can be a pack leader. It is done without being big and mean and scary. It is an attitude, an air of authority. That is what you build upon for mutual respect and communication. First though, your dog must learn you have the power to handle him, and that handling will not lead to any harm. Your dog must come to trust you completely.
Kelpies are a hardy dog with few health problems outside of common disorders to all breeds.