Country of Origin: Australia
Height: Male: 46–51 cm, Female: 43–48 cm
Weight: Male: 14–21 kg, Female: 14–21 kg
Color: Black, Chocolate, Fawn, Black & Tan, Blue, Brown
Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years
Temperament: Alert, Loyal, Energetic, Friendly, Eager, Intelligent
Litter Size: 3 - 8 puppies
Health Problems: Beware of PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), which is retinal degeneration causing partial to total blindness.
The Australian Kelpie has a compact body and well-developed limbs. Slightly longer than he is tall, the Kelpie has a broad chest and firm hindquarters that contribute to his flexible, energized appearance. The head is long and narrow. The medium length tail is low set. The short, compact feet have well arched toes.
The double coat consists of a short and dense undercoat and a hard, straight and weather-repellent outer coat. Color possibilities include black and red, each with or without tan and fawn, chocolate and blue. Kelpie owners are more interested in the breed's working ability then its appearance.
Australians can be very proud of the Australian Working Kelpie. It is one of Australias truly national dogs. However its origins lie in Scotland, where a number of collie-types (collie is Scottish for sheepdog) contributed to the development of the breed we know today. These founding sheepdogs, whilst not necessarily registered breeds, were developed within the various regions of Scotland.
Some dogs more suited to the sweeping moors and others the Highlands. During Australias migrant boom in the 1800s, demand grew for a dog suited to working with the vastly developing Merino sheep population. This saw the import of many herding dogs from the homelands of new migrants, particulary the United Kingdom.
Many breeds were brought to Australia, but those most suited to the harsh conditions were soon recognised. It was these few strains of Scottish working dogs, in particular a strain from the Rutherford family, which were crossed together, and with a mix of good fortune and skill the Kelpie was born. These original strains have now all but disappeared.