If you are considering getting a highly intelligent dog that is playful and good with children, then put the Australian Kelpie on your list. There are a number of things on this list you definitely need to know before making a final decision because you may discover that as magnificent as this breed is, a Kelpie may not be suitable for you in the long run. Though they are relatively low maintenance in the grooming department, putting them in an apartment or trying to introduce them to a lot of strangers will cause you more than a few problems. Time now to look at the 10 things you didn’t know about the Australian Kelpie.
1. They are descendants of the Collie breed
Anyone who knows Lassie knows how devoted and intelligent dogs can be. The Australian Kelpie was brought to Australia and bred so that they could adjust to the heat of the Australian summers. Obviously the Collie’s long fur coat is unsuitable for such climates, but the inherent traits of the Collie are very desirable for sheep herding.
2. Table scraps or discount dog food can ruin this breed.
The professional recommendation is to keep human food to a minimum and only feed it high quality dog food. The possibility of becoming overweight is higher than average with this breed, so choosing one as a pet should include a budget for the better quality dog foods available.
3. They can do the work of several men.
As natural sheep herding dogs, their natural ability to round up large flocks of sheep scattered over Australia’s wide open land spaces is unquestioned. That makes them economical for sheep farmers and they don’t require any employment forms.
4. A Kelpie Barb isn’t always a bitch.
The accepted name for an Australian Kelpie that has a completely black coat is a Barb – regardless of gender.
5. Dingoes may have a genetic connection to Kelpies.
In order to arrive at the ideal herding dog in the Kelpie, a number of different herding breeds were mixed with the Collie, including Australia’s famous feral dog, the Dingo. Though no definite direct connection can be established from records, one look at the Kelpie should be enough evidence to convince you.
6. Kelpies are not only herders but job hunters – Part One.
There are stereotypical lazy dogs like the hound dog, but the Kelpie is exactly the opposite. Breeders warn potential owners that they need to have something to do or their new friend will wreak havoc – and then wonder why you didn’t tell them to clean it up. One job per Kelpie, please.
7. Kelpies are not only herders but job hunters – Part Two.
This is the warning for potential owners who have children with accessories (tricycles, bicycles, etc.) Kelpies have been known to try and herd children if they are not physically and mentally challenged with a demanding job. The behavior to watch for is the dog nipping at things, such as the heels of your children or the aforementioned accessories. Of course, if you have a herd of children to manage …
8. They are among the most versatile tasking breeds.
By a tasking breed we mean they can fulfill many functions to help humans in everyday life. This includes training them as search and rescue dogs, drug detection dogs, dogs to assist people with hearing, an all-purpose service dog, or even a therapy dog. Giving them multiple tasks only brings out the best in a Kelpie.
9. A Kelpie requires a lot of human interaction to be happy.
The expert advice is that your Kelpie needs to be around people almost all the time, so keep them indoors and not outside in the yard. But you thought they were a breed for the wide open spaces? Yes, but with people in view. They get lonely quickly, and with loneliness comes boredom, and with boredom comes destructive behavior – like many intelligent breeds.
10. They are both extremely trainable and extremely adaptable.
Their genetic line demanded these two qualities be present. But with the genetic result comes the demand on owners to ensure their Kelpie is properly trained because the alternative is the highly intelligent Kelpie will essentially train themselves into potentially unwanted behaviors.