The Australian Kelpie, or Kelpie, originated in Australia during the 19th century and was used to assist farmers and ranchers in the sheep and wool industry. It is thought that the Kelpie was developed by crossing working Collies with Australian Dingos to improve the breed's working ability. They needed these tough dogs who could handle the unruly sheep, but also the harsh environmental conditions of their native homeland. One of the breed's ancestors, the Coley, is also believed to be the predecessor of the Border Collie, English Shepherd, and Australian Shepherd. The Kelpie was eventually brought to the United States to herd different livestock and is more commonly seen as a work animal than they are found as household pets.
Excellent at herding, the Australian Kelpie is one of the most popular and successful herding dogs. They have a compact body and well-developed limbs. Slightly longer than they are tall, the breed has a broad chest and firm hindquarters that contribute to their flexibility and energized appearance. Their double coat consists of a short and dense undercoat and a hard, straight, and weather-repellent topcoat. They have slightly oval-shaped eyes, pricked ears, and a moderate-length muzzle with a nose that matches the color of the coat. The Kelpie breed has a long tail that hangs down at a slight curve and short, compact feet with well-arched toes, giving them the ability to have excellent balancing skills.
Due to their determined, alert, and responsive nature, Australian Kelpies can make an excellent watchdog in addition to being an accomplished herder. They are not seen as aggressive, but they can be very protective when need be. Known for being highly intelligent and a bit difficult to train, these hard-working dogs are always focused on the job, making them a fundamental component for individuals who own farms or ranches. They exhibit a high dominance level and require an owner who understands how to display firm authority and leadership over independent-type breeds. The Kelpie is considered to be a one-man dog that is devoted to one person in particular and they are always ready to respond to commands given to them, even from a great distance. Due to their natural instincts, these herding dogs should be supervised since they may try to herd other pets and small children by nipping at their heels. Best suited for farm/rural areas or active families with a large fenced yard, the breed is extremely active and requires a regular job or activity to keep them busy and out of trouble. Energetic and loyal, the Australian Kelpie can make a wonderful pet for an athletic family or farm owner who is looking for a reliable herding breed.