Australian Kelpie

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)

Gender: Female

Training: I’ve taught bird care / training techniques

Quick to learn and train


Emotionally stable


Family oriented


Child safety


Safe with small pets


Doesn’t bark a lot




Easy to groom


Great watch dog


Great guard dog


Brilliant, funny and agile but not a dog for most!


Ontario, Canada

Posted January 24, 2015

Holly came into my life when she was just under a year old. A friend had rescued Holly and her entire family from a breeder who was getting out of the breed. He had bred the litter and then been unable to sell them. Holly had gone to a home at one point, but was returned a few weeks later when the family decided they were unable to manage her.

Kelpies are smart, funny, playful and incredibly athletic dogs. Bred to herd sheep and work long hours over tremendous distances, this is a dog with an abundance of energy and brain power. Wonderful creatures, they are not for the faint of heart. Nor for the novice dog owner. Kelpies make great working and active companions but you have to have - or be willing to acquire - the time, energy and training skills to manage them.

Bred to work in very hot conditions, Kelpies do extremely well in heat. They are not, however, cold hardy. Many need to wear doggie coats when outside in winter, and mine at least loves to sleep on a warm bed and even at times under the covers!

I am fortunate with Holly that she has had no health problems to date. I understand that there are many health issues in the breed that new buyers need to watch for. These include hip dysplasia, degenerative eye conditions, skin and neurological problems. It is important to find a careful and responsible breeder to minimize the chances of encountering these problems.

Holly is very sweet and gentle by nature, but is also an excellent watch dog. I have no need for an alarm system; I have Holly. I actually don’t mind this feature of the breed because I live in the country. If I had neighbours close by, or lived somewhere where a lot of people walked past my home, the barking would become problematic. This trait is not uncommon in the breed, with some being noisier than others.

I love my Kelpie and definitely would get another one. On the upside, If you lead a very active lifestyle and enjoy spending a lot of your spare time training and exercising your dog, then this is a breed worth investigating. They are fun, smart, trainable and affectionate.

On the downside, Kelpies are very emotionally sensitive dogs and do not do well being left alone for long hours, or when not given enough exercise and mental stimulation. Furthermore, finding a carefully bred Kelpie is important, and not that easy. The breed is growing in popularity but still relatively rare and health problems are not uncommon. All in all, a wonderful dog in the right home, but one that is not for most people.

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