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Australian Kelpies: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Australian Kelpie temperament, personality, and behavior.

australian kelpie topics

Australian Kelpie dog breed

Australian Kelpie Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Australian Kelpie Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

The lithe, hard-muscled Australian Kelpie can work stock for many hours and cover long distances in heat and dust without giving in.

One of the smartest of all breeds, the Australian Kelpie can also be one of the most challenging to live with. His superior intellect, combined with his independence, intensity, and passion for keeping busy, are his best features -- and the ones that make him unsuitable for most homes.

This sharp-eyed, quick-thinking, fanatical workaholic must be allowed to do his job with livestock, to learn advanced obedience or agility, to accompany you jogging or biking, or to chase balls or Frisbees.

Without physical and mental stimulation, Australian Kelpies become bored and hyperactive and will drive you crazy with obsessive, destructive behaviors as they seek creative outlets for their energy.

High intelligence means they learn quickly -- including how to do anything they set their mind to. They are master escape artists (going over and under fences) and zealous gatherers of cars, bikes, joggers, cats, other dogs, livestock, and running children -- circling, poking, pushing, and nipping if the person or animal or object doesn't cooperate.

You must stay one step ahead of this brilliant breed, and most people are simply not up to the task.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium-sized and completely natural-looking
  • Is built like an athlete -- agile and quick-moving
  • Loves to work and thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
  • Is smart, versatile, and capable -- when well-trained and well-exercised, can learn and do almost anything

An Australian Kelpie may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Extreme intensity and passion for keeping busy
  • Destructiveness and barking when bored or not exercised enough
  • Shyness or suspiciousness when not socialized enough
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars
  • Shedding
  • Waiting lists (hard to find)

An Australian Kelpie may not be right for you.


But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

If I were considering buying or adopting An Australian Kelpie

If I was considering an Australian Kelpie, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Australian Kelpies MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Australian Kelpies can make a shambles of your house and yard.

    If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking or swimming, or to get involved in herding, or agility (obstacle course), or advanced obedience, or a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed. Australian Kelpies were never intended to be simply household pets. Their working behaviors are inappropriate in a normal household setting. Trying to suppress these "hardwired" behaviors, without providing alternate outlets for their high energy level, can be difficult.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Australian Kelpies need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspicion, which are very difficult to live with.

  3. Mind of their own. Australian Kelpies are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they are independent thinkers and can be manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Kelpie to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Australian Kelpie Training Page discusses the program you need.

  4. Shedding. For such a shorthaired dog, Australian Kelpies shed much more than you might think.

  5. Finding one. If you live in Australia, working Kelpies are everywhere, but in the United States, this breed is hard to find.


book cover To learn more about training Australian Kelpies to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Australian Kelpie the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Australian Kelpie. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Australian Kelpie might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Australian Kelpie home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Australian Kelpie...

When you're acquiring An Australian Kelpie PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Australian Kelpies who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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