In existence since 1870, the Australian Kelpie is a rare breed of dog first developed in Australia for the purpose of working vast Outback acreages in a hot climate. Believed to have originated from crossing the Border Collie and other herding dogs - possibly the Dingo - the Australian Kelpie is capable of working long hours herding cattle, reindeer, goats and poultry. Whilst not commonly seen as pets, the Kelpie is widely found on the farm and ranch, with 100,000 registered dogs employed on the Continent.
Athletically built to change direction at full speed, the Australian Kelpie is characterised by a broad chest, low-set tail, muscular legs and a weather-proof double coat in colour variations of black, fawn, chocolate, tan, blue and red. Whilst black is the most common colour, any deviation is permissible in the breed. An additional feature that distinguishes the Kelpie is its strong, pointed ears. Lithe and resilient, the breed is well suited to any climate, with a specialism in herding and retrieving.
Despite being uncommon as a companion or domestic dog, such is not a reflection of its nature, with Kelpies being amongst the most obedient, loyal and affectionate of breeds. Highly compatible with children and other pets, the Kelpie makes a great addition to any home setting, requiring minimal maintenance. On average, a healthy Kelpie will weigh 10-20 kg with a long life expectancy of 12-14 years when shown appropriate care, although it is not uncommon for a dog to outlive this expectancy.
Not susceptible to any known genetic conditions, the Australian Kelpie is typically healthy and long lived. Documented cases of progressive retinal atrophy and associated optical disorders exist with this breed, as does a progressive neurological disease, known as Cerebeller Abiotrophy, that affects movement and cannot be treated.