The Australian Kelpie is one type of herding animal bred to help in the herding of cattle in Australia and New Zealand. These medium sized dogs come in a variety of colours. They are exported all over the world to be used in herding cattle, sheep and other animals. However, the breed has been split into two categories, those for working dogs and those for show dogs.
This fine animal has a double coat. The inner coat is soft and thick for warmth, and the outer coat is coarse and able to withstand the elements. There are seven possible coat colours for this dog. They are red, black, chocolate, blue, smoky, fawn, black and tan or red and tan. The show dogs should be a solid colour, but the working dogs can be any combination of colours. The standards for what is accepted in dog shows in terms of colour vary greatly. These dogs are roughly 50 cm or 20 inches tall, and weigh approximately 11 to 30 kg or 24 to 45 pounds.
Like many herding dogs, the Australian Kelpie is a highly energetic, intelligent breed. They can run up to sixty kilometers or thirty seven miles in a day. They can work in all temperatures, handling heat and cold equally well. They have amazing balance that allows them to run on the backs of sheep when there is not room to run between them.
The Australian Kelpie is a hardy breed with few health problems. They really require no special care other than what you would typically give a dog. If you give them attention and take them to the vet regularly, your Kelpie should live a long and rewarding life.
Unlike most breeds, the breed history of the Australian Kelpie is not well documented. It is not clear how these dogs came into being. Some believe that the dogs came about by breeding Scottish sheep dogs with smooth haired collies. Others believe that the dogs were brought about by crossing domestic dogs with the Australian Dingo. This theory has some credibility as the two breeds share interesting characteristics, such as being resilient to ticks, but it has not been proven through genetic testing.
One thing is for certain. These dogs have been used for decades and likely over a century for herding animals of various types. It is well documented that they are well suited to this task, and have been bred for it over the last many decades. Regardless of where the breed originated, it is clear that they have been bred closely for their ability to herd animals by sheer will power and cleverness.