Monday, 16 March 2009

The Australian Kelpie

It is sometimes thought the Kelpie originated as a cross between a Border Collie and a Wild Dingo. But there are documents that state the Kelpie is strain of Collie from the North of England. But, which ever way, this hard-working dog has been used for herding and guarding Australian livestock since the latter end of the 19th century.

The name comes from the water kelpie found in the book “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Australian Kelpie is compact, energetic and robust. This brave little dog is more than capable of herding large numbers of sheep or cattle, they are also very good at running on the backs of livestock, to get ahead of the flock or herd. This dog uses the strong eye and jaws to move the animals on. They are wonderful for loading sheep and cattle into trucks ready for market.

The characteristics are pricked ears and a short coat that comes in a variety of colours, ranging from fawn, chocolate or blue, to tri-coloured black or red with tan markings. They also bark loudly at times!!

The breed has never ending amounts of energy. This dog has to be active and working. Having them as a house pet is not really recommended. But if you have the time to do some kind of agility work and the time for long walks it may settle in an urban home. The Kelpie is used to being a guardian, and is very much a one-person dog that bonds strongly with its keeper. They seem fine around children, but I do get some jealousy when I have the grandchildren here.The Kelpie has a short, double coat which is weather-resistant. The dog should not be bathed unless necessary, this is to preserve the coat's natural oils. They do shed hair all year round. Kelpie is a workaholic breed and need to be given a job to do to occupy his keen mind. It is sad to see so many coming up for re homing because folk have bought them as pups off a farm and take them into town to live. This is not good and they really need a working home.

If you are looking for a dog, please, please look at where you live, the hours you are away from home, the time you have to give the dog exercise, choose a breed that will suit that lifestyle. Research the breed characteristics and on the whole working type dogs do not make the best pets unless you can give them your full attention, day in day out.

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