Acquired: Pet store
Posted September 26, 2014
When I was younger, my parents made the mistake of purchasing a Kelpie for our family. This was at a time when there were three of us kids between the ages 5 and 10. We wanted two things from a dog: fun for the kids, and able to protect the home.
As a guard dog, our Kelpie was fine. He was always on alert, and had a very loud and very scary bark. He was better than a doorbell. However, he would jump up on guests and sometimes this behaviour was aggressive rather than in fun.
That as the main problem with Sooty, and the reason why we eventually sold him to another family. He was not a family dog. For starters, we lived in a suburban house. We had a normal sized garden, but for a dog that is bred for farm work, it was simply not enough room for him to get rid of all his energy. Even daily walks weren't enough, and he'd be constantly bouncing around the house, barking and running.
The second problem was that he was not a gentle dog. He had strong jaws and sharp teeth, and he would nip at our fingers sometimes during play and occasionally wouldn't let go. He'd also get frenzied sometimes and chase us around the garden, unwilling to let us get past to go back into the house. As small kids, we were scared of him.
There is nothing wrong with the Kelpie breed. They're smart, they can be trained, they're high energy and good watch dogs. But they need to be kept on a large property where they can run around all day, and they need to be mentally engaged. They've been bred to chase sheep and other livestock, and this makes them not particularly safe to have around kids unless they've gone through extremely strict obedience training.
Kelpies are generally a healthy and robust breed, and if you're interested in one for a suburban residence I'd suggest getting a cross.