Country of OriginAustralia
Nicknames and Other NamesFarmer Dog
Australian Sheepdog Kelpie
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupWorking Group
Herding Group
Bred ForHerding cattle and working in the farm
Recognized ByAKC, FCI, UKC, ANKC, CKC
Life Span12-15 years
Ideal Weight28-60 pounda male and female)
Ideal Height19-25 inches (male and female)
Fur TypeShort, dense
Common ColorsBlack, Fawn, Red, Blue
MarkingsTan points
AvailabilityRarely available
Suitable for ApartmentsNo
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToAustraliab Kelpie

The Working Kelpie which is also known as Australian Sheepdog Kelpie or Barb is a medium-sized working dog. It is a very active dog with a high level of energy, originally bred to herd livestock.

Many take the Australian Kelpie and the Working Kelpie and see both as one breed. However, the American Kennel Club has registered both as two distinct breeds in the Foundation Stock Service.

The Working Kelpie is a strong, well-muscled dog with a moderate length muzzle. Their ears are high set, V-shaped, pricked and that gives it an alert expression. The double-coated coat is flat, straight, weather resistance from out and the undercoat is dense.

Origin and History

The Working Kelpie was originated in Australia around 1870. It was developed by crossing a pair of Black and Tan Collies whose name was Brutus and Jennie.

When wool production in Australia was becoming a big business, they bred the Working Kelpie to handle the sheep and vast acreages. They are great working dogs and are not seen much as a family companion. They still work on the farm and ranches all around the world.

Working Kelpie History
Working Kelpies old picture.
Image Source: Akc

The American Kennel Club has registered the Working Kelpie in its Foundation Stock Service as a different breed from the Australian Kelpie. The United Kennel Club has registered this both breeds as one.

Is The Working Kelpie Child-Friendly?

The Working Kelpie does well with children and can be a good companion for them. However, they may not be best suited in a house with small children. They have a high herding instinct, so they can nip and chase small kids. Therefore, close supervision is needed while letting them interact with each other.

Working Kelpie is child friendly
Working Kelpie playing with baby’s toy.
Image Source: Instagram-@bella_tas_kelpie

Temperament, Behavior, and Personality

Temperament: The Working Kelpie has an alert and eager temperament. As a herding dog, they are very alert about the surrounding and is always keeping an eye on everything. Therefore, they can be considered as a great watchdog. They are best suited in the farms and in the countryside. They do not do well as a family pet sitting in an apartment but should be working on a farm or ranches.

Behavior: The Working Kelpie has high requirements for activities. If it is not provided to them, they can become bored and anxious. Therefore, it is best to keep them engaged in some activity always.

Personality: The Working Kelpie has a smart and intelligent personality. They are known for their loyalty and devotion to their work. He thrives for a job to do and is happy to do any kind of work.


The Working Kelpie is a highly trainable dog as they are intelligent and always eager to please. However, a novice owner cannot handle this dog and it needs an experienced dog owner who can value its intelligent and activity requirement.

Train them with treats on the hand and reward them with treats and vocal praises after they complete a task. This is the best source of motivation for them.


  • Thousands of Working Kelpies are employed in farms and ranches all over the world.
  • They use their hind legs to stand and look around.
  • They are also used for search and rescue job in Sweden, Holland, and Finland.

Health Issues

General HealthHealthy
Common Health IssuesPatellar Luxation, Cerebellar Abiotrophy,
Collie Eye Anomaly, Osteoarthritis,
Hip Dysplasia
Vaccination RequiredRabies, Canine Coronavirus,
Canine Parvovirus, Kennel Cough,
Leptospirosis, Canine Distemper,
Canine Parainfluenza
SheddingModerate Shedder
DroolingLow Drooler
GroomingEasy and Effortless Grooming Required
Weight Gain PotentialLow to Average
Separation AnxietyLow Chance
Diets and SupplementsProtein: 28%
Fat: 10%
Omega-3 and 6 Fatty Acids

The Working Kelpie has a life expectancy of 12-15 years. During these years, they can have the following possible health problems:

  • Cerebellar Abiotrophy: It is a brain disease that affects the specific section. In this situation, the cells in the cerebellar die affecting the dog vision, movements, and coordination. There is no promising treatment for this condition but medication can make your dog’s life somewhat better.
  • Hip Dysplasia: It is mostly genetically inherited situation that is caused due to the disorder of the hip joints. It is a condition, where your dog experience pain on the back and also lameness. Consult a vet for the proper treatment of your dog immediately.


According to the American Kennel Club, the Working Kelpie comes in the following colors and markings:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Tan points


Height and Size: The average height of the Working Kelpie is 19-25 inches and the average weight is 28-60 pounds.

Cost: The average cost of the Working Kelpie puppy is between $1200-$1600. However, the price can go higher depending on the quality of the breeders.

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