Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpie

11 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Australian Kelpies: what are they?

  • Australian Kelpies are highly skilled working dogs that originated in Australia.
  • They were developed to herd livestock, particularly sheep, in the challenging Australian outback.
  • These intelligent and agile dogs are known for their exceptional herding abilities and unwavering work ethic.
  • Australian Kelpies have a distinct appearance with their medium-sized build, muscular bodies, and alert expressions.
  • Their eyes are often described as "piercing" and can be various shades of brown, amber or even blue.
  • On average, male Australian Kelpies stand between 46-51cm tall at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, ranging from 43-48cm. Their weight typically ranges from 11-20 kg.
  • Australian Kelpies have a life expectancy of around 12 to 16 years.
Australian Kelpie  Exercise Needs 5/5 Grooming Ease 5/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of Australian Kelpies like?

  • Australian Kelpies are highly intelligent, energetic, and hardworking dogs.
  • They have a strong drive to work and excel in tasks that require problem-solving and independent thinking.
  • These dogs are incredibly loyal and form strong bonds with their owners.
  • They are known to be reserved and sometimes aloof with strangers but are devoted and affectionate with their families.
  • As herding dogs, Australian Kelpies have a natural instinct to chase and control movement.
  • This instinct can result in  behaviours such as nipping at heels, so early socialisation and training are essential to channel their energy appropriately.
  • Australian Kelpies thrive in an environment where they are given a job to do, whether it's herding livestock or participating in dog sports like agility or obedience.
  • Without the right mental stimulation they can easily get bored.
Max, the Australian Kelpie

How much exercise do Australian Kelpies need?

  • Australian Kelpies are highly active dogs that require a significant amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy. On average, they need at least 2 hours of vigorous exercise per day.
  • This can include activities such as long walks, jogging, playing fetch, or participating in dog sports.
  • For Australian Kelpie puppies, exercise needs should be approached with caution. Puppies have developing bones and joints that are more susceptible to injury. It's important to provide them with age-appropriate exercise, such as short play sessions and brief walks.
  • As a general guideline, puppies can start with around 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, up to twice a day, but this varies depending on individuals, so follow the advice of your vet.
  • Australian Kelpies reach full exercise capacity at an adult level around 12 to 18 months of age. However, individual dogs may vary, so it's important to monitor their energy levels and adjust their exercise accordingly.
  • Australian Kelpies require mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise. They enjoy learning new tasks and can become bored or frustrated if not given enough mental challenges.
  • Keeping their minds engaged through training, puzzle toys, or interactive games is crucial for their well-being.
Oakley and Ace, the Australian Kelpies

Do Australian Kelpies need grooming?

  • Australian Kelpies have a short and weather-resistant double coat that requires minimal grooming, that comes in colours including black, chocolate brown and tan.
  • They have a dense undercoat that helps protect them from various weather conditions. Regular brushing once a week is usually sufficient to remove loose hair and keep their coat in good condition.
  • These dogs are said to be clean and odourless, requiring infrequent bathing unless they get dirty.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.

Oz, the Australian Kelpie

Are Australian Kelpies Easy to Train?

  • Australian Kelpies are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. They have been bred for their working abilities and exhibit a strong work ethic and natural instincts.
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play to reward desired behaviours. Australian Kelpies respond well to rewards and are motivated to work and please their owners.
  • Provide your Australian Kelpie with plenty of mental stimulation. These dogs are highly intelligent and need mental challenges to keep them engaged. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and obedience training sessions can help satisfy their need for mental stimulation.
  • Be consistent in your training methods and expectations. Use clear cues and gestures for commands, and ensure all family members follow the same rules.
  • Australian Kelpies thrive when they have a job to do. Engage their natural herding instincts by providing them with tasks or activities that fulfil their working nature.
  • Activities like agility, herding trials, or obedience competitions can be excellent outlets for their energy and drive.
  • Australian Kelpies may display independent thinking and assertiveness, which can present training challenges. It's important to be patient, consistent, and provide clear guidelines. Working with a professional dog trainer experienced in herding breeds can be beneficial in overcoming any specific training difficulties.
Pippa, the Australian Kelpie

What do Australian Kelpies eat?

  • Proper nutrition is crucial for the overall health and well-being of Australian Kelpies.
  • Puppies should be fed a high-quality puppy food formulated to meet their specific nutritional needs for growth and development. The frequency of meals for puppies can vary, but typically they are fed three to four times a day until they are six months old when it should be reduced to twice a day.
  • Around the age of 12 months, Australian Kelpies can transition to adult dog food. The amount and type of food will depend on factors such as the dog's age, size, activity level, and metabolism. Your vet can advise you further on the best food for your pooch.

Are Australian Kelpies healthy?

  • Australian Kelpies are generally healthy dogs, but like any breed, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some potential health concerns in Australian Kelpies include:

Bones and Joint

  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA): A hereditary eye condition that can lead to visual impairment or blindness.


  • Cerebellar Abiotrophy - a loss of the cells in the cerebellum in the brain which can affect movement and coordination
  • Epilepsy - A condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if an Australian Kelpie is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Australian Kelpies

BorrowMyDoggy has 326 Australian Kelpie members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

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