Koolies are eye-catching, well balanced, medium-sized dogs, with unusual markings in the form of flecks and patches of colour. The two main colours are red or blue merle and some people believe solid coloured and black and white are also acceptable. Eyes can be blue, brown, green, black or grey or a combination of blue and brown. Ears are moderate-sized, triangular-shaped and usually pricked or semi-pricked. The coat can be short, medium or long which short being far more common and usually the preferred coat type.
History and naming
Not much is known on the history of the Koolie although there are many theories circulating throughout the Koolie community. It is generally believed the Koolie was imported from Germany to Australia by early immigrant European settlers. The breeds’ original name was German Coolie which is still used by many.
The Koolie is extremely active and intelligent with a naturally strong working instinct. They are suited to yard and paddock and work sheep, cattle and goats equally well. Their easy-going, fun-loving personality makes the breed a great choice as a companion for a lively family or active individual. Koolies are readily used in sports such as agility and obedience and are also making a name for themselves in television and “Pets -as -Therapy” positions. The Koolie possess an amazing sense of smell, often able to detect an ill sheep lying hidden in the grass a remarkable distance away. The sheep in need of attention would, if not for the Koolies keen sense of smell, easily be missed and evidently die.
The Koolie is well known for his natural working instinct but unfortunately, the occurrence of complaints about dogs lacking ‘working instinct’ has, in recent times, increased remarkably. This problem is thought to be due to the increase in urban and backyard breeders. Often the dogs of these breeders have never worked or even laid eyes on stock for many generations and over time, the natural working instinct slowly deteriorates.
Koolies are confident all-round dogs with a natural ability to head, herd and heal. They have the ability to block with force when necessary, mob stock together (and keep them together) quietly and confidently, using speed and force when needed. Koolies are hardy, displaying endurance and enough speed to outrun and head stock when required. They remain alert on the job, ready to spring into action and have the ability to relax when the stock is travelling quietly and are under control. Koolies are extremely intelligent, take very few lessons to learn and naturally seem to know what to do while thinking for himself. They are generally receptive to commands and can bark and back when instructed. Koolies can adjust to difficult situations and often surprise their master with their intelligence and clever actions. Koolies display a small to moderate amount of eye, often only lowering their head slightly to observe the stock and position themselves accordingly. Koolies don’t often show ‘eye’ in a very noticeable way but display great concentration and intuition making them capable of anticipating the stocks next move
Health and Lifespan
Koolies generally have very few health problems. Dogs with predominantly white heads are likely to suffer hearing and sight problems. Sun damage to white skin can also be an issue. Koolies usually live beyond 15 years
Space and exercise
Koolies are primarily a working dog with a naturally strong herding instinct. They require plenty of exercise to keep their bodies fit and their minds occupied. Koolies are best suited to a working lifestyle, a sport such as agility, or as a companion for an active family with a big back yard and plenty of energy.
Feeding and Grooming
Short coated coolies require very little grooming. A bath when needed and a brush to remove grass seeds if necessary. The longer coated varieties need more care. Working Koolies need a good quality high protein dry dog biscuit. A supplement of meaty bones ensure healthy teeth and gums and adds variety to the diet.