Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Posted May 22, 2014
Jaffa joined my four legged family as a 2 month old puppy. He was a tiny yellow bundle of excessive energy. His parents were both pedigreed dogs of their respective breeds - mum was a champion working Australian Kelpie and dad a pedigreed Labrador. Jaffa was an interesting mix of the two - pure Kelpie in conformation, size, intelligence and athleticism but gold in colour and a bit of a juvenile delinquent like a Labrador. So put the two together and you have an extremely intelligent, hyperactive, juvenile delinquent which pretty much described Jaffa perfectly in his younger years. He did slow down a bit in his later years.
Jaffa's Kelpie traits stood out - he loved working anything that moved ie the horses and he instinctively knew exactly what to do. I watched him once with a neighbour's sheep that wandered onto my property and he worked that sheep like a pro even though he'd never had any training whatsoever. The intelligence shone out of him and conformation wise he was near perfect.
The Kelpie is a highly intelligent and very trainable dog but because they're a stock working dog they are also extremely active. They do tend to be one person dogs because, being a working breed most are usually trained and worked by one person and this has been bred into them. They do make good family pets because they are generally a very even tempered dog; they have to be like that to work with sheep. However, they do need plenty of room or a lot of regular exercise so if you live in an apartment or in the middle of suburbia with no way to providing PLENTY of regular exercise then this is not really the right dog for you.
And as for the Kelpie Lab cross - a lot of the Kelpie crosses in general I've come across have tended to take after the Kelpie particularly in appearance and intelligence. With the Kelpie Lab cross the juvenile delinquent tendencies of the Labrador seem to find a perfect partner in the hyperactivity of the Kelpie making this a cross you either love or hate. Other people who have experience with the cross have said pretty much the same thing - they literally are hyperactive juvenile delinquents and it takes them years to grow out of it. For sheer train-ability and intelligence you can't beat them but look out if you want to have one as a small backyard or house bound pet. That's when they turn into the hound from hell because the juvenile delinquent tendencies fueled by all that energy has to go somewhere.