The Working Kelpie Council of Australia

Breed Society for the Australian Working Kelpie


Welcome Message

Welcome to the home of the Working Kelpie Council. We are a national organisation dedicated to the continued growth and excellence of the Working Kelpie breed.

From humble beginnings, the Working Kelpie developed to the stage where it has now been exported to Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, UK, USA, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, France and the Netherlands. These dogs have been successfully used to manage a variety of stock, including reindeer, goats, cattle and, of course, sheep. Kelpies in Sweden have gained police dog titles and pulled sleds. They are also being widely used as search and rescue dogs.

We have a wide selection of information in our Website including the history and origin of the breed, training methods and characteristics of the breed. Want to buy a pup? We have the current list of pups for sale in the Breeders Notes. Looking for a breeder? We have an excellent search engine (Locate a Breeder) to help you find a breeder near you.

Gary White acceptance speech

52nd NKFTC, Cressy Tasmania 30 March - 2nd April 2022.

Adrian Carpenter - President Tasmanian Yard Dog Association 2022 NKFTC & AYDA Wrap Up

After 8 Days of competition, 52 competitors from all over the county, 173 NKFT runs, and 197 AYDA runs judged by 5 different people and 3,000 sheep run through the courses we are happy to conclude that the Australian championships were a complete success for Tasmania in 2022.

First and foremost, the biggest thanks go out to Roderic & Kate O’Connor from Connorville Station. Having access to sheep, yards and a venue to host the championships where competitors could stay on farm and not have to travel was a fantastic option to offer. Without their generosity the championships simply would not have been what they turned out to be which in my eyes was a huge success.

To all the Tasmanian yard dog members who tuned up to each working bee, general meeting to discuss plans, setting up and pulling down, it did not go un-noticed by myself. Those same small handful of people were also generous enough with their time to take planned holidays from their work and start early morning until finish for the duration of the two weeks.

Our event sponsors, major being Coprice. Since approach they have been heavily invested in the event, giving us a great head start to the running of the event by the amount of sponsorship provided in cash, pallets of working dog formula and all the while maintaining the existing club sponsorship.

Martin Hall and Elders, with their cash donation, usage of their yards and the scoring trailer. With these donations we were able to make a great set up with the layout of the holding yards and trial course with the convenience of the scorekeeping trailer.

Our other sponsors including, Events Tasmania, Flying Colours, Tassie Dog Runs, Stockmans Stud, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Riverina Wool Testers, Longford & Northern Midlands Vet, Dean, Mandy and William Allan from Tasmanian Livestock Management for all of their help prior to and during the running of the trials helping out back with the sheep, Paul Nilon, Tony Flakemore & Neil Bucky Motors.

I would like to thank our judges from both the NKFT & AYDA trials. Simon Bowden judging for a full four days of the NKFT with arguably the coldest conditions Tasmania had to offer. His consistency and professionalism over the course of the trial was confirmed by the comments I have received since the conclusion of the National Kelpie Field Trial.

Tim Hall needs congratulating also, judging over 100 runs in the AYDA maiden/novice event. His approach was both consistent and professional.

Our two mainland judges, Rod Cavill and Justin Tombs. From the time I approached them both, their input and guidance prior to the event, enthusiasm to come down to Tasmania and professionalism throughout the trial was outstanding. It aided in making the whole two weeks a success and for sure made my job easier.

Our superb catering ladies. Sandy provided us all with delicious dinners through the event and the number of comments made about her cooking and happy approach to looking after us all were noted. When we first thought about some form of food, she was high on the list of priorities knowing full well her talents as a cook.

To Katy & Leah, everyone that you served commented on the quality of your food and hospitality. It was brilliant to have you guys there to serve out some amazing breakfast and lunch options. To Rustic Bakehouse in Cressy for the use of the coffee van each day, providing us with quality coffee on those brisk mornings was much appreciated.

Red & Sharon, for doing all the jobs that I just couldn’t do myself. Including all of those unglorified tasks without hesitation and then asking for more things to help out with.

Erica & Mary, for keeping on top of all the photos and videoing of runs. I know the wider dog trialling community appreciated the constant updates.

Rod Blazley, for donating your time driving the truck for the NKFT and work in the yards the whole time. Didn’t go un-noticed.

Ram Savanah and Enable Ag. Ram donated his time and expertise to us. When we first approached him with an idea of what we were requiring, he had no hesitation in aiding us to develop the Smartsheet scoring system, giving us a live scoreboard that could be broadcast nationally in real time. Something that again we have had extremely positive feedback on since the event.

Peter Forrest of Launceston IT. Peter also donated his time and equipment to make sure we had a strong enough Wi-Fi signal to enable the scoring system and live streaming to be broadcast.

Esk Ridge in Longford. When we first came up with the idea for the national trophies, we knew what we wanted to come up with, these guys made our thoughts into reality by showcasing a national trophy with the emphasis on Tasmania. Something that in my eyes turned out fantastic and anyone that was lucky enough to take one home, would have thought the exact same.

Miles Keen, Miles aided in the main open trophies for the NKFT & AYDA by donating his time in producing the wooden backdrops on the map of Australia, setting off the design of the metal plates beautifully. We wanted these to be grand and of a size that comes with winning a nationally recognized event. I think that was done successfully.

In saying that we also had a lot of outside help, I would like to mention Graham Howard for aiding in the construction of the main trophies. Also, Tony Casey who donated his time driving posts in the yards on his day off.

To Dave Motley, Matt Fletcher and Nigel Armstrong and all the other competitors who offered to help during the running of the event I thank you. Everyone that turned up Sunday morning to help pull down the course was much appreciated. It made a long and arduous task that much easier.

I would also like to thank all competitors and judges for the way they conducted themselves and expressed a positive attitude towards the organisers and the running of the trial. With zero complaints aimed my way, apart from one that I would like to quickly touch on.

During the course of the event, all competitors were kindly asked not to wear apposing branded clothing, due to the sheer amount of donation from our major sponsor and also consideration towards the continued support of this sponsor for our small club which we rely heavily upon during the year. I expressed my importance of not seeing any other sponsor shirts on during the trial and in particular in the running of the live streamed finals. Many thanks to the mainland competitors for complying with this simple request. Unfortunately, one of our own members thought this was offensive to be asked to not wear the sponsored apparel.

Sometimes you have to think of the club before yourself. Secondly if you had an issue with this it should have been discussed with club officials before ringing people behind every ones back but I suppose this isn’t the first time this has happened either.

Many congratulations to Gary White and Whites Benny in becoming the NKFT champions for 2022. To Dave Motley and Motleys Crew for taking out the Novice competition in a runoff.

Our AYDA open champion Aoidh Doyle and Cash for winning a well fought battle in the yard trials. Place getters Kate Jubb and Cruise, Nigel Armstrong and Scope, Robert Cox and Bruiser, Vin Gedye and Pontus and Matthew Sherwood with Wonder, many congratulations on your achievements.

Congratulations to Bree Cudmore and Moana on taking out the Tasmanian Open, with Matthew Sherwood and Wonder, Kate Jubb and Cruise and Aoidh Doyle and Cash in the minor placings. I would also like to extend that congratulations to David Lee and Reg for winning the Maiden class, Roland Pell and Oakey for winning the Novice class and Renae Reynolds and Colin for winning the Improver class.

I would also like to acknowledge our Tasmanian competitors for their outstanding achievements with many of them placing highly the different classes for both NKFT & AYDA championships. To Tim Hall for being the highest scoring Tasmanian with Dusty in the NKFT and being awarded the Bullenbong perpetual trophy for the highest scoring first time competitor.

To Michael Hall and Zoe for placing equal second in the AYDA Novice class, Tim Hall and Dusty for placing second in the Improver class, Denis Kline for taking home the Interstate shield and also having two dogs on the top 10 Open class with Lola and Haydn. To Simon Bowden and Butch for making it into the Open top 10. What a fantastic achievement.

Also, to all other Tasmanian competitors for showing great sportsmanship throughout the duration of the event.

Last but by no way the least I want to thank Emma Hall for her work and planning for months.

There would have been no way the trail could have run so smoothly and successfully without her dedication and organising to making sure everything was right and all the boxes were ticked correctly and her work in the office to make sure everything was running smoothly and with a smile on her face and also to Tim for all his work and being there to bounce ideas off.

Really enjoyable trail to runs.

NKFTC 2022 Finals videos are now avalaible for viewing here....

2022 National Kelpie Field Trial Championship Results

The trial was held in Cressy Tasmania 30 March - 2nd April 2022.

1 Gary White
Whites Benny II
2 Dave Motley
Motleys Rex
2 Ben Coster
Coopendale Lucy
4 Gary White
Whites Pint
5 Gary White
Whites Chrissie
6 Gary White
Whites Billie-Boy
U/P Matt Fletcher
Braziers Terror


Below is part of an educational article the WKC commisioned by Deborah Maxwell BVSc.

We acknowledge and thank Deb Maxwell BVSc for the time and effort she put into the presentation of these articles.

The Full article can be downloaded here....


Update July 2020 by Deb  Maxwell BVSc

With tests now available for CA, the number of CA affected pups being born can be greatly reduced.

In every mating, for each CA type, one parent must be clear.

Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA) in Kelpies causes ataxia and other difficulties with movement. There are three or more genetic causes, and while DNA tests have been developed, there are still unknowns. This article presents the knowledge to date, but continuing research and the data from wider commercial testing will build on this knowledge and may result in changes to tests and future recommendations.

Nevertheless, the current tests can greatly reduce the number of potentially affected pups.

The same disease variants may also affect ANKC Kelpies, Border Collies and Koolies, as well as crosses of these breeds, due to their common ancestors and occasional cross-breeding.

Tests run by the researchers on about 200 Border Collies (mainly ANKC) did not show CA markers. Since the research, the Late- and Early-onset CA has been confirmed through commercial tests in some Border Collies; CA affected Koolies require testing to confirm these.

The full article is provided as separate PDF document and provides considerable detail for interested readers, including more familiar Kelpie coat colour examples to help build understanding of the genetic and genomic concepts. The summary here contains the key messages. Read the full article here....


  • Cerebellar Abiotrophies (CA) are incurable, inherited diseases in Kelpies with the majority identified by three known and unrelated genetic markers.
  • Signs include ataxia, high stepping [hypermetria], wide stance, incoordination, falling over, difficulty jumping onto objects, fine tremors, a nodding head, difficulty eating or drinking from a bowl, and, occasionally, seizures.
  • The disease is not common, with the level of CA markers in the population remaining low, but two carriers may be chosen as mates and produce affected pups, and linebreeding/inbreeding can increase the chance of this occurring.
  • Some affected dogs studied were not explained by these three markers; potentially there may be one or more other genes causing CA in Kelpies or there are other genes that affect whether the disease is fully expressed, or other markers may be better indicators, in particular, with the Early-onset variant.
  • Dogs with a pair of CA markers are positive or “affected” and most will have signs of ataxia. Carriers only have one copy of any CA marker, and will not be affected.
  • The extent of signs in affected dogs varies and is not yet able to be predicted; some dogs can live a relatively normal life; others will need to be euthanised.
  • Signs in affected dogs vary in time of onset according to the CA variant: Early-onset from 4–8 weeks, Late- onset from 3–8 months (but sometimes later); the German type CA from 4–8 weeks.
  • DNA tests are available to identify whether a dog has any of the markers for the three known CA disease variants, indicating clear, carrier or affected status.
  • The tests vary in their ability to identify affected and carrier dogs:
  • For Late-onset CA, the test is believed to identify all affected and carrier dogs.
  • For Early-onset CA, the current test misses some dogs; any dogs that the current test identifies as carriers or affected, are carriers or affected, however some affected dogs with Early-onset CA used in the research were not identified by this marker. DNA tested with the current marker contributes to CA, but may not be the direct cause. An alternative marker that appears to have higher predictive power is being studied.
  • For the German type CA, very few dogs were in the study. Also, two dogs had tests indicating they were affected, but whether signs of CA appeared in them could not be confirmed.
  • The DNA tests are currently only available through one Australian testing company: Dog Breeding Science, but this may change in the future.
  • Tests can be used to greatly reduce the number of CA affected pups being born by including a clear result for every test, in every mating, every time.
  • Carrier dogs with superior working ability do not need to be removed from the breeding pool, simply ensure that their mate is clear for the CA marker they carry.
  • Carrier dogs do not show signs of disease; buyers of working dogs not intending to breed them should have no concern about their health.
  • Dogs with negative or “clear” test results should not be represented as CA-free because there may yet be an unidentified CA variant, and the Early-onset and German CA tests may not be fully expressed or predict all affected dogs.

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Ehrlichiosis: update February 2021 - Deb Maxwell BVSc

Where ever the brown dog tick is found, Ehrlichia canis will eventually follow and long-acting, effective tick prevention is required to prevent what is a dreadful disease in most dogs.

Working dog owners in the Northern Territory and the north of Western Australia should be on high alert for signs of a deadly canine disease new to Australia. In other areas, keep a lookout for the various signs, as the disease-causing bacteria is likely to spread.

The bacterium, Ehrlichia canis, is carried by the brown dog tick, and causes a disease called Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (“Ehrlichiosis”). It is only a matter of time before infections will be seen in other locations across Australia: mainly the warmer, wetter tropical and subtropical regions, but also in some temperate areas.

Effective, long- and fast-acting tick prevention is the best way to prevent the disease in dogs once it arrives in your local area.

The bacteria affect blood cells, and often progress to be fatal. Signs of the infection are not specific to this disease and are quite variable, but are worth investigating early to increase the chance of successful treatment. While some dogs will live with the disease, they will not do well, which is not ideal for working dogs.

Read the full article here....


Many MEhrlichiosis: update February 2021 - Deb Maxwell BVSc embers are aware of criticism levelled at the WKC following information circulated on Facebook and elsewhere about a Cerebellar Abiotrophy (Ataxia) test being offered about which the WKC had no knowledge nor to date has it received any formal advice.

In an effort to try and clarify the situation it was felt that members should be given the history of the WKC’s involvement in the search for a solution by Dr Don Robertson.

Below is a copy of a recent article from Professor Peter Williamson University of Sydney and part of an educational article by Deborah Maxwell BVSc.


Genes for cerebellar abiotrophy (CA) have probably been in the Kelpie population for many generations, but were first brought to notice of the Working Kelpie Council in 1987 when Dr Don Robertson told the WKC about an affected litter. The investigation was published in the Australian Veterinary Journal in 1989 by Jan Thomas of Murdoch University and Don Robertson of Muresk, a branch of Curtin University.

At that time, it was presumed to be the same inherited ataxia previously reported in many other breeds. It showed the same autosomal recessive inheritance pattern as in these other breeds. However, subsequent research has shown that the Kelpie forms of CA have only been found in Kelpies and the related Border Collie and Koolie breeds, which have a history of occasional crossbreeding.

The Working Kelpie Council immediately commissioned research by DNA specialists at Curtin University to establish the incidence of the disease and to find DNA tests to identify carriers.

The molecular geneticists, Professor John Wetherall and Associate Professor David Growth, were confident that they would quickly locate the mutation, but it proved elusive.

A video clip of affected pups and dogs, paid for by a grant from Curtin University, was widely disseminated by the WKC with detailed description of symptoms. Breeders, owners and veterinarians were encouraged to report suspected cases to the WKC. Confidentiality was guaranteed because diagnosis could not be certain and the WKC wanted no impediment to reporting. As a result, veterinarians from Australia and overseas sought advice from WKC.

Where practicable, affected pups, dogs or samples were collected and sent for analysis by pathologists. This was funded sometimes by breeders, sometimes by WKC and often by volunteer WKC members concerned to assist the research. Nancy Withers, Jim Marshall, Tony Rutter and many others located and transported affected dogs for the research.

Reports were accumulated and collated suggesting that the incidence of ataxia was not widespread but had risen recently because a few carrier sires had been used very widely.

By 1995 the Curtin University researchers had a substantial collection of samples with known pedigrees but had to admit that the hoped-for breakthrough was not imminent. They handed the work to a new team at Murdoch University. This group, headed initially by Professor Clive Huxtable, continued to receive samples through the work of the WKC volunteers but were not able to make progress.

Seeking a fresh approach, the WKC sent slides from affected dogs to Professor Colin Masters, medical neuropathologists at the University of Melbourne, to determine whether knowledge of similar conditions in humans might be useful. National Health and Medical Research funding was a possibility. No parallels with human conditions were found.

The WKC then approached Dr Alan Wilton at the University of New South Wales because of his successful work with dingo DNA and tests for some recessive defects in Border Collies. He was optimistic that his group would have similar success with CA in Kelpies. The samples from Curtin University were delivered to him. Unfortunately, Murdoch University had not kept its collection.

Dr Wilton’s group revived the original videos and added to them. The WKC distributed this second video to its members with exhortations to continue supporting the research with reports and samples.

Among those responding, dogs were provided that had a form of ataxia differing from that previously studied. It usually becomes evident later in a pup’s life and gets progressively worse, unlike early-onset ataxia, which is typically apparent at six weeks of age and does not get worse with age. This eventually proved to be critically important information for the researchers, but for a couple of years it caused confusion because it was not recognised that separate genes were involved. Jeremy Shearman researched this phase as part of his PhD.

WKC made substantial annual contributions in funding and in kind to this research at the University of New South Wales, which was also supported with generous funding from Terry Snow, a philanthropist, who had bought a dog from a breeder of show kelpies that were also producing ataxic pups. Terry Snow also paid for a third educational video filmed with Kathy Christian’s dogs and featuring WKC representative, Kevin Howell, which was distributed by WKC.

Annie Pan took up the challenge working on this project as her Master’s thesis with Alan Wilton at the University of New South Wales.

Terry Snow offered further funding for this next phase but made it conditional upon the WKC collecting a $25 fee for CA research for every dog registered by the WKC. This was unacceptable to the WKC Board so Terry Snow’s funding lapsed. WKC funding continued.

When Alan Wilton died in 2011, the research was delayed until it was taken up by Professors Peter Williamson, Claire Wade and Rosanne Taylor at the University of Sydney. Annie Pan completed her thesis and relocated to the University of Sydney.

The WKC transferred its annual financial and in-kind support to the Sydney University team.

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