Australian Kelpie- The striking Australicher Kelpie guide

The Australian Kelpie or in other words “Kelpie” is an Australian sheepdog that is a self-driven master at the art.

This is a medium-sized dog breed that comes in many colors.

Kelpies can cleverly herd and are used to work with livestock in Australia and even in the US of A.

This is an extremely focused pooch especially if he has a task to accomplish which is why he was originally bred.

Australian Kelpie is one tough dog that is resistant to hot weather and you do not have to worry about him being out in the sun.

However, he is not a c+anine for any dog lover. This is because he may not suitable for apartment living and can be very independent.

There is more that you should know about this furry friend before you decide that you are going to get him as a pet.

Fortunately, Mydogsinfo is the right place for you. In this guide, we are going to cover all that you need to know about this Australian dog.

From his look to his behavioral traits and even how to take care of him we got you covered.

So, why do we get right into it?

Australian Sheepdog puppies
Australian Sheepdog puppies

About the Australian Kelpie

Kelpies are some of the most loved dog breeds in Australia and they have increasingly become popular even in other parts of the world.

The main reason why people are getting to love this dog is mainly because of his work ethic.

They have a reputation for being very focused on what they do and they are also incredibly loyal dogs.

There are two varieties of this four-legged friend;

  • The bench or Show Kelpie- Mainly seen in conformation events.
  • Working Kelpie

This breed may be a mystery to those that do not know him but is a must-meet once you get to know him as a breed.

Kelpies are great at herding and protecting homesteads. He needs to be kept busy for him to be happy and if that does not happen he will find other ways to entertain and keep himself busy. In the process, he ends up tearing things apart and filling your garden up with holes.

The Australian Kelpies is a pooch with a high prey drive and you may need to control it especially if you live in an area with lots of people.

Learn how you can tame a dog with a high prey drive by visiting this guide. You may find it very helpful.

If you plan to bring this dog to your home you should make sure that the yard is well-fenced to prevent him from wandering off to your neighbors’.

But where did this adorable pooch come from?


Origin of the Australian Kelpie

australian Kelpie

The origin of Kelpies is still disputed.

However, this dog is a descendant of a Collie-looking dog that had been taken to Australia from Scotland.

These dogs were bred in the 19th century because of the increased demand for herding dogs. This was because the number of sheep had increased dramatically in Victoria and South Wales.

Herders wanted a dog that would help them in the management of these sheep and one that could withstand the rough terrain, heat, go for long distances, and dust storms.

The Australian was best suited for this.

This breed found its way to the US in the early 1900s after herding from here found it to be highly suited for why they were doing, herding livestock.

However, he is still rare in North America and not many people keep them as companion dogs.


Both the United Kennel Club and American Kennel Club recognize this dog.

There is also the North American Australian Kelpie Registry established to help breeder register their Kelpies. Their main goal is to preserve the temperament, health, herding instincts, and conformation of this breed.

Kelpie Pros and cons


These dogs are outgoing friendly and buoyant with other animals.

✔ They are very effective guard dogs.

Kelpies are highly trainable pooches and respond well to new commands and tricks.


✘ They can be independent and headstrong at times.

✗ These canines need intensive exercise which may be too much for some dog lovers.

✘ They are heavy seasonal shedders and shed throughout the year.


General appearance and characteristics of the Australian Kelpie

Australian Kelpie summary table
Height Their height ranges from 17 to 20 inches
Weight They stand at between 30 to 45 pounds
Lifespan 10 to 13 years
Breed Type Herding dog
Purpose Can be a working dog and a companion
Suitable For Experienced and active dog owners
Grooming requirements moderate
Color Variations Blue, black, fawn, brown, black and tan and even chocolate
Health concerns Collie eye anomaly and progressive retinal Atrophy
Temperament Active, energetic, alert, loyal, highly driven and intelligent
Other names Barb, Kelpie, Red dog, Australia Sheepdog, Australicher Kelpie or Farmer dog

Size of the Australian Sheepdog

The Barb dog is a medium-sized dog with a height of between 17 to 20 inches and can weigh between 30 and 45 pounds. They are slightly longer than they are tall.

You should also know that males are bigger in both weight and height when compared with their female counterparts.

Physical Appearance

The general look of an Australian Farmer dog is that of a durable and alert canine.

Kelpies are muscular and compact dogs with long narrow heads and rounded skulls.

These dogs have adorable almond-shaped eyes whose colors mostly match the coat colors. The nose color also depends on the color of the coat but there are mostly dark.

They have deep chests, strong necks, and tails that are a bit curly at the end.

Coat appearance of the Australian Kelpie

Kelpies are double-coated canines that have a soft undercoat and an outer coat that is harsh and straight. These coats are dense, weather-resistant, and short.

The coat of an Australian Sheepdog may appear longer during winter but that is because of the growing undercoat to protect them from the cold weather.

They can come in several colors that include;

  • Tan and Black
  • Black
  • Red
  • Tan and red
  • Chocolate
  • Smoke blue
  • Fawn

However, before you start you search for a Kelpie puppy you should know that they shed throughout the year moderately and heavily during Spring and Fall. This also means that they may not be very suitable for allergy sufferers because they are not hypoallergenic.

If you suffer from dog-related allergies a lot, you may want to consider one of the dogs that is on our hypoallergenic dogs guide.

australian-kelpie dog

Temperament and personality of the Australian Barb dog

Traits Rating
exercise needs
Ease of care

You have to keep in mind that this is not a breed that is commonly kept as a pet. He is mainly a working dog but that does not mean that you cannot have him as a pet.

For those that want to have the Australian Kelpie as a pet, you should make sure that you are up to the task of meeting his energy requirements. You should also make sure that he is well trained and socialized early enough.

These dogs quickly get attached leaving him alone for long may not be the best idea. They could easily suffer from anxiety if it happens.

Kelpies can be wary of strangers and they can also very independent hence the stubborn streak.

If you are looking for a guard dog the Barb dog will be a great choice for you. And although he may not hesitate to protect his family and the ones he considers to be friends, he is not aggressive.

Is the Australian Kelpie a great family dog?

Kelpies are great pooches for active families. This is because they are high energy dogs that need owners that can match their energy.

If you do this, he will be a great family dog that you will enjoy having around.

These canines love children and other pets in general but you should always make sure that you supervise their play to avoid any incidences.

However, you need to keep in mind that this is not a lap dog but he still enjoys being cuddled and petted.

Every four-legged friend is different from the other and it all comes down to how you take care of and raise yours.

An Australian Kelpie puppy

Frequently asked questions

Do Kelpies bark a lot?

These dogs may want to have a chat with you from time to time especially when there is something they are lacking and it is during this that they tend to bark a lot. An Australian Kelpie will also bark to inform you when something is not going right which makes him a great watchdog.

Do Australian Kelpies calm down?

An active dog like the Australian Kelpie likes to move around now and then. But once they are mature and well trained they may stop making themselves a nuisance. They mature fully when they are about 2 to 3 years old.

Can an Australian Sheepdog swim?

Kelpies were not bred to be swimmers but if you get them used to water at a young age this will not be difficult for him.

Australian Kelpie Puppies

Kelpie mothers give birth to a litter of about 4 to 7 puppies on average.

These puppies take around 18 months to reach their full height and weight and it can take up to 3 years for them to settle down. They are full of energy and there is nothing they love more than being around you and playing.

But for you to get an Australian Sheepdog puppy you should be prepared with anywhere between $900 to upwards of $3000 for top pedigrees and show line dogs. The average price for a pup, however, is about $500.

It is in your best interest that you get a puppy from a reputable and responsible breeder.

You can also look at your local shelter and rescue to see if you may be lucky to find one of these dogs.

Australian-Kelpie pups

Grooming a Barb dog

Kelpies have moderate grooming requirements.

They may require regular brushing to get rid of loose hair and minimize shedding.

When you are brushing this dog you should make sure that you reach the undercoat to distribute oils and keep the coat looking shiny. A slicker brush or bristle comb can be very helpful when you are doing this.

You may also be required to bathe this dog 3 or 4 times every year unless he herds livestock gets dirty. If that is the case you should only bath him once every month.

Overbathing this pooch could cause his skin to dry out by getting rid of essential coat oils.

Check their nails and trim them when they start getting long.

Their ears will also need to be checked for any signs of infections and be cleaned regularly.

Dental hygiene is important too and you can do this by brushing the teeth. But if your dog does not allow you to touch his teeth you can use dental chew toys and treats.

Kelpie exercise needs

The Australian Sheepdog is a high energy dog that requires lots of physical stimulation to keep him happy. This is upwards of 60 minutes of exercise daily.

They have great stamina and endurance which makes him very unsuitable for life in an apartment setting. You will need to devote time and take him for 2 daily walks, hikes, and even runs.

Always remember to carry a leash on a harness every time you are walking this dog because of his high prey drive.

Remember that this is beneficial to you too as the dog owner. And if you fail to direct this dog’s energy to the right place he may end up being destructive.

If you are a first-time dog owner this may not be the best breed for you and you should think of getting a dog that is less exercise intensive.

An Australian Sheepdog should also be well mentally stimulated by playing mind games such as puzzles with him. He is great at those.


Feeding an Australian Kelpie

When it comes to a Kelpie’s diet, you should give him a high-quality meal that is high on proteins.

Get a well-balanced diet that can meet all his nutritional needs for proper development and health.

You can choose a dry diet, wet foods, canned foods, vegetables, fruits, and other raw foods. However, you always consult your vet before making any dietary changes.

As your puppy grows his feeding needs may changes as he goes by.

Some dogs may also be allergic to some foods and you should choose a diet that does not trigger any of their allergies.

Daily calories Cups of Kibble Per Day:
1200 2 to 3 cups

Training a Barb dog

This dog is highly trainable but he can also be very challenging to train because he can also be stubborn.

Use a more positive, patient, and consistent approach when you are training this pooch.

Never use any aversive training methods such as punishment r being harsh at the dog because it can be very problematic in the long run.

But once you have established yourself as the leader and have a great training relationship with Australian Kelpies we will respond very positively to protein.

Training together with socialization also tames this dog as he can tend to be very territorial.

Australian Kelpies


Some of the health concerns

Generally, the Australian Kelpie is a pretty healthy dog but is also susceptible to some health complications such as;

Hip and elbow Dysplasia

Collie eye anomaly

progressive retinal Atrophy

Breed summary

The Australian Kelpie is a great medium-sized protector and a working dog that can also be perfect for a family pet as long as you can meet his needs.

They are also great with kids but their play sessions to be supervised because accidents can happen.

Make sure that you get your pet from a good breeder to minimize health risks.

What are your thoughts on the Australian Sheepdog now that we have reached the end of our guide?

Tell us what you think and also leave us any questions in the comment section below. 

There you go WOOF!

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2 thoughts on “Australian Kelpie- The striking Australicher Kelpie guide”

  1. The first dog shown (grey and black) is not a kelpie. It’s an Australian Cattle Dog but very different to a Kelpie in the way it handles animals.

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