The Australian Kelpie is an active dog needing time for exercising and freedom, remembering, he was bred mainly for stamina, endurance and working ability in our country’s rough terrain. He, however, does not need to be left roam or to his own devices, as this is where trouble comes in. A good run once or twice a day, a daily swim at the beach or a good walk, is enough to spend some of his penned up energies.
Kelpies have an active mind, and therefore need to be kept “entertained”. This is where obedience, showing, and working fulfill this need. Their willingness to please also lends itself to each of these activities. The kelpie is a loyal, loving animal, who loves to be “working” with you, side by side. Many a good stockman tells his kelpie secrets that he knows will stay sealed within his lips. A Kelpie looks at you with the expression of “I know what you mean”, and although he can have an air of arrogance, he all the time is listening, even though he may not agree that “that is the best way to do things.” He will often display talents of initiative, shown many times in the working field, and many good stories are told of Kelpies saving their owners from a certain fate.
Although usually attaching itself to one person, the kelpie is a great family dog, and will often protect the children. The kelpie is a low maintenance dog due to his short coat, general physique and lack of heredity problems. He loves human attention, although can become a most astute guard dog if you so wish. As is his natural working ability, he is always watching over his “flock”, in this case, the family.
The kelpie readily adapts himself to obedience work, as this stimulates him mentally as well as physically. Working with human contact, and his willingness to please, make him an excellent choice for the obedience ring. The agility and now jumping exercise has also made the kelpie a popular choice by handlers due to their flexibility and eagerness in body, spirit and mind.
Even as a dog for the purpose of companionship, the kelpie suits well. He knows when you are feeling off, and will do something even as simple as giving you a nuzzle with a cold, wet nose. He understands all your feelings, (which sometimes can be frustrating when competing in major events.) He also knows when just to come and lay at your feet, just to let you know that you are on his mind.
The kelpie above all else is more of a friend than a “dog”. Mistreat him and he will lose all trust in you, but respect him, and he will be your lifelong friend.
Whether for show, obedience, work or companionship, the Australian Kelpie will slot into any, or all, categories. He is a versatile dog who lends himself to whatever you want him to do, so long as you are there. His biggest hate is boredom and loneliness. Many Australian Kelpies in suburban backyards become a nuisance with such displays as barking, chasing bikes, cars etc. and escaping from their enclosures, the reason being, he is bored and needing companionship.