The Australian Kelpie: A Complete Guide

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If you are looking for a dog that was originally bred to herd livestock the entire day, in the scorching Australian sun, and to likewise be independent and intelligent, the Australian Kelpie might just be the breed for you.

This famous sheepherder comes as a dog that incredibly devotes to whichever job you assign him to, and he is unbelievably loyal to the family he lives with.

It is completely resistant to hot weather, and you don’t have to worry about him playing too much in the sun.

However, there is one thing that you should be worried about and that is how to find a healthy Australian Kelpie puppy that comes with all the good traits of the breed.

Like with any other dog breed, the moment it becomes popular, there will be many “breeders” that will want a piece of the cake.

This only means plenty of low-quality litters due to bad gene selection and the lack of experience in the breeding process.

To help you find the perfect puppy and spend many happy years with it, we have created this in-depth guide.

In this guide, you will find plenty of useful information about the breed, and you will also learn how to find a reputable breeder and how to properly take care of your dog.

But first, let’s take a look at what you should keep in mind before actually buying the puppy.

The Australian Kelpie Puppies – Before You Buy…

A black Australian Kelpie in the grass
The Australian Kelpies are great with kids.

Before you decide to cash out a certain amount of money on an Australian Kelpie puppy, here is what you should know and keep an eye on.

What price are the Australian Kelpie puppies?

Before making the decision of buying the puppy, you need to know if the price range suits you.

You don’t want to spend hours on research and fall in love with the breed, only to find out that it’s out of your budget range, right?

So, when it comes to Australian Kelpie puppies, the average price range for one from a reputable breeder goes from some $800 to $1500.

Of course, you will find them for a much lower price, but those pups always come from inexperienced, backyard breeders and lack quality and good genes.

So, the following section will help you with making sure you avoid such breeders.

How to find reputable Australian Kelpie breeders?

As we mentioned above, the number of inexperienced “breeders” is far greater than the number of experienced, reputable breeders.

So, how can you be sure that the breeder you chose to buy the puppy from has high-quality, healthy pups?

If you don’t know what to pay attention to, it can be hard.

But, if you follow our advice, it will be really easy. So, here’s what you should ask the breeder to make sure you want to buy the puppy from him.

  • Get familiar with the health conditions and illnesses that trouble this breed and ask the breeder for health clearances for both of the puppy’s parents.
  • Ask to see the parents of the litter and check their behavior so that you have an idea of how your puppy will behave.
  • Ask about the breed, the traits, the downsides, and how to take care of the puppy.
  • Ask for the medical history of the litter, the vet checkups, vaccinations, and about their current health status.

All of the listed “demands” should not be a problem at all if you are dealing with a reputable breeder.

He will show you the complete medical history, all the necessary paperwork, and give you useful insight and advice, without you even asking.

On the other hand, if the breeder doesn’t offer even just one of the mentioned, you are most likely dealing with a backyard breeder or a puppy mill, and that is what you want to avoid at all costs.

3 Little-known facts about the Australian Kelpie puppies

Two Australian Kelpie playing
The Australian Kelpies need equally energetic families to keep up with them.

After finding out the price suits your budget and learning how to find a reputable breeder, it’s time to deal with some lesser-known facts about the Australian Kelpie puppies.

This way, you will know if living with this puppy is what you want.

  • They are not massive shedders

The Australian Kelpies have a double layer coat which makes them resistant to any weather. But, this doesn’t mean they shed all the time.

Some slight shedding happens just during the spring, but it’s nothing a brush can’t handle.

  • They can be great family dogs

Despite the fact that these dogs are workers and that they are happiest when they have something to do, they can also be calm family dogs.

But, to get there with your dog, you need to start the training and socialization early.

  • They are great in everything they do

You will immediately discover that your Australian Kelpie puppy likes being occupied and that it completely devotes itself to the job.

No matter what the job is, whether it’s keeping an eye on the kids or other animals in your household, or your home, he will be up to the task. And, they are excellent in dog sports and agility.

Physical Traits of the Australian Kelpie

In this part of the guide, you will discover exactly how big your puppy will be when it grows up, and how long can you expect him to be a loving member of your family.

How big is a full-grown Australian Kelpie?

The Australian Kelpie is not a big-dog breed and their size range goes from 15 to 20 inches in height, while the weight range goes from 25 to 45 pounds.

Of course, the higher ends of both the height and weight ranges are reserved for the males, while the females are slightly smaller and lighter.

What is the life expectancy of the Australian Kelpie?

When it comes to how long will your Australian Kelpie be a part of the family, you can relax, he is in for the long run.

Assuming that you take proper care of him and that includes regular exercise and a proper diet, as well as regular vet checkups, the lifespan you can expect your dog to have is 12 to 16 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Australian Kelpie

A light brown Australian Kelpie squinting at you
The Australian Kelpies are great watchdogs.

The Australian Kelpie is a dog that can be very independent, which is a great thing if you want to use it for sheep herding.

However, if you want him to be your family pet, you need to keep in mind that he will need training that requires plenty of both physical and mental stimulation.

Otherwise, he may become destructive each time he doesn’t have anything to do and is bored.

Also, they shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time because they need to be with their human family, despite the independent nature this breed is famous for.

Their independence is instinctive, but when they are family pets, they do get attached to the family quite quickly and suffer if left alone.

Furthermore, these dogs tend to be quite sensitive and harsh training is something they don’t like.

Instead, you should have a positive approach, and use treats and praise so that trigger their need to please you.

Once you have established such a relationship during the training, you will be amazed at how smart your Australian Kelpie is and how well he responds to your commands.

He will be very obedient even if you are far away from him.

The Australian Kelpies tend to be very territorial and if they are not trained and socialized right from the start, they will bark pretty much at anything that moves.

So, if you don’t want him barking each time your neighbors pass by your yard, you need to teach your Kelpie when it’s appropriate to be suspicious and when to keep quiet.

It might take a while to get to that stage, but once he realizes that not all people and animals are the “bad guys”, you will have a well-mannered dog that is a role model dog in the neighborhood.

You should also know that this breed has high energy levels and that they need plenty of exercise.

Therefore, unless you can’t keep up with your “Turbo” dog, you might need to consider getting a different breed with more suitable (lower) exercise needs.

The Australian Kelpies are great for families and owners with an active lifestyle.

They are excellent jogging or bike riding partners, and great for people who like to take long hikes in the great outdoors.

Also, an important fact to know is that these dogs are not suitable for living in an apartment.

Again, they have high energy levels and keeping them in an apartment is not a smart idea, unless you want to have your furniture all chewed up and all the lamps knocked down.

Since they need to be occupied all the time, they are most suitable for owners with a relatively large yard, where they can be busy in between the walks and exercise sessions.

Also, this dog will be just fine living outside, due to his double coat and weather resistance. But, you do need to provide him with adequate shelter.

All in all, the Australian Kelpie can be a great pet, even though he is a working dog, but you need to stimulate him both physically and mentally.

He will also be a great nanny for the kids, but due to his sheep herding instinct, you need to make him realize that nipping the kids is a NO-NO.

Once he realizes he doesn’t have to herd the kids, they will become best play buddies and wear each other out, and fall asleep like babies at the end of the day.

Australian Kelpie Diet

When it comes to a proper diet for your Australian Kelpie, you should know that his diet should be based on a premium-quality dry dog food.

This way, his nutritional needs will be balanced and you will ensure he is developing properly and maintaining his health.

However, you can also add canned food, vegetables, fruits and vegetables, a cooked egg, and sometimes cottage cheese, just to make it interesting for him and make sure he gets all the needed vitamins and minerals.

But, keep in mind that these food additions should not exceed 10% of the overall, daily food amount.

How much Exercise does an Australian Kelpie need?

As we stated earlier (on several occasions) the Australian Kelpie is an energetic work dog that needs plenty of exercises.

He will be happiest when the exercise involves a “job” that needs to be done so you also have to be ready to make the training interesting.

Otherwise, he can get bored and unwilling to follow your commands.

You should also be ready to take him out for a long (over an hour) walk, at least twice a day, and to spend another hour on the training.

And, don’t forget to not allow your Kelpie to walk in front of you during your walks, or you will lose the Alpha status.

So, keep him by your side or behind you, so that he realizes that you are the one that leads and that he needs to follow, not the other way around.

The Australian Kelpie Health and Conditions

In general, the Australian Kelpies come with good health.

And, if the parents were health cleared for genetically inheritable conditions such as cerebellar abiotrophy, hip dysplasia, cryptorchidism, Collie eye anomaly, and progressive retinal atrophy, you shouldn’t worry much about his health.

Of course, this all stands if you take proper care of your dog, and by the proper care, we mean a proper diet, regular exercise, and regular vet checkups.

My final thoughts on the Australian KelpieAn Australian Kelpie

We have reached the end of our Australian Kelpie guide.

What are your thoughts on this breed now that you know much more about them?

Also, are you now more confident when it comes to finding a reputable breeder? If yes, then our mission was successful.

But, to be on the safe side and make sure we haven’t missed something, let’s take a look at a short summary of everything we talked about today.

This is a breed that loves being busy all the time and will get the job done no matter the weather conditions outside.

They were bred to be sheepherders, but they can adapt to family life as well.

But, due to their independent nature, which is good for sheep herding and not so good for a life in a home, the training process can be long and hard.

You need to praise your dog all the time and reward him with treats after each successful task, or he will become uninterested.

Also, they are sensitive, so harsh treatment is not a good way to go when it comes to this breed.

With plenty of patience and love, and with firm leadership, your Australian Kelpie will become a well-mannered companion that recognizes you as the leader of his pack and he will be ready to follow your lead.

Furthermore, due to their territorial nature, they are great watchdogs but need early socialization so that they don’t become suspicious of everyone and everything that goes around the house.

They are great with kids and become their playmates, but need to be taught that they shouldn’t herd them.

All in all, the Australian Kelpies can be wonderful family dogs, but for families that have an active lifestyle. They are the “Energizer bunnies” of the dog world and need an equally energetic family to keep up with them.

Thank you for reading and if you feel that your friends should also get to know this amazing breed better, don’t hesitate to share our guide on social media.

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