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Pet Breed Information for most breeds of dogs and cats
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Australian Kelpie Dog Breed Information


Australian KelpieThe Kelpie is an Australian breed of sheep dog that has proven very successful at herding sheep in Australia and in the mountainous areas of New Zealand. They are medium-sized dogs and come in a variety of colors. Kelpies have been exported throughout the world and are used for herding sheep, cattle, goats, ducks, and other livestock.

The breed has split over time into the Australian Kelpie and the working Kelpie. The Australian is the variety that is seen at dog shows.

Appearance

The Kelpie's short double coat has a thick undercoat and a weather-resistent outer coat. The coat comes in seven colors: black, chocolate, red, smokey blue, fawn, black and tan (from dark brown to a light cream), and red and tan -- in the 'Australian' the colour should be solid; the 'working' can have the colours either solid or with tan, and occasionally with small white markings. Different kennel clubs' breed standards have preferences for certain colours, so what is acceptable for show dogs in some venues might not be acceptable in others. The colour has no relationship to the dog's working ability, so ranchers looking for capable working dogs usually disregard the dog's colour.

Kelpies stand between 17 and 23 inches (43-58.5 cm) at the withers and generally weigh from 24 to 45 lbs (11 to 30 kg).

Temperament

They are clever, loyal, and friendly and typically have an abundunce of energy. A working Kelpie often works sixty kilometers (37 miles) and upwards in extremes of climates and conditions. They are renowned for running along the backs of sheep when moving them through chutes.

Health

Kelpies are a hardy breed with few health problems.

History

Some people claim that Kelpies have some Dingo blood. One possible reason for this belief is that, in areas where it is illegal to keep dingoes as pets, some dingo owners register their animals as Kelpies or Kelpie crosses. Another support for this belief is that the Kelpies seem to be immune to the poison of Australian ticks (a tick from the New South Wales coast can kill a healthy Alsatian dog ). Similar immunity display the dingoes. However, the breed is most likely a cross between Scottish sheepdogs and smooth-haired collies of the past.

Breed standards

As is the case with many breeds of dogs that are still used for their original purposes, breed standards vary depending on whether the registry is more interested in a dog who performs his job superbly or a dog whose appearance meets an ideal standard. It is possible for a dog to do both, but his options for competition in dog shows might be limited depending on his ancestry and on the opinions of the various kennel clubs or breed clubs involved.

For example, in Australia, there are two separate registries for Kelpies. The Working Kelpie Council encourages breeding for herding ability, and allows a wider variety of coat colors than does the Australian National Kennel Council, which encourages breeding for a certain appearance and limits dogs to certain colors, apparently promoting solid colors over others.

As another example, in the United States, the Kelpie was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club for a while, but currently the AKC (which promotes standards based on the dog's appearance) does not recognize the breed, and the North American Australian Kelpie Registry, which promotes the dog as a working breed, does not appear to want the breed to be promoted by the AKC.

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