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.

The Working Kelpie Foundation Strains

The initial foundation of the working Kelpie stemmed from the blending of what appears to be three different strains although there could be a connection between two of them in their country of origin. Of the original breeding the only further imports and infusion documented are those of the Rutherford strain and imports of these dogs continued until around 1910. The following article by Wayne McMillan dated 25/8/2011 gives a greater insight into the background of the Rutherford family and their dogs suitability for Australian conditions.

"In the mid 1800’s in Australia, when sheep, dogs and pioneers are discussed, there is one family that stands out above the rest and that is the Rutherford’s. The family can (and) The Kildonan clean bred line of collies can be traced back to Gideon Rutherford a shepherd who was born in Sept 1778 in Showman, Roxburghshire, Scotland and died about 1869 in Kildonan, Sutherland Scotland. He was the fourth child of Andrew Rutherford and Christian Stevenson of Showman, Roxburghshire, Scotland. (From Parish records Roxburghshire: Brian & Dianne Dixon, J. Gregory Barron and Chris & Sheila Hale) Gideon Rutherford’s outstanding line of Collies originally bought to Australia by his son John in 1864, were one of the most successful and influential line of sheepdogs ever introduced. His strain of collies had such a legendary reputation that they were still being imported to Australia over 40 years later. It is also certain that the early Kelpie sheepdog strains had Rutherford bloodlines in their breeding.

read the full article

Do you own a Livestock working dog? Then, get involved

The Farm Dog Project is a collaboration between The University of Sydney, Meat and Livestock Australia, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and The Working Kelpie Council of Australia.

To date, over 800 Australian farmers have been involved in the project, working to advance our knowledge of the value of the working dog to livestock industries and the qualities of a valuable dog.

Behaviour and genetics database There is now a unique opportunity to create a database of Australian, and international, Livestock working dogs and their particular temperament and Livestock working traits. This will be a powerful resource for working dog societies to learn more about how these traits are passed on from parents to progeny and also to investigate the genes responsible for the valuable behaviours.
To get involved rate your dogs’ behaviour and personality using the Livestock working Dog Assessment Form.
It only takes 5 minutes per dog.

Access the form online here:
  1. Be honest and critical of your dogs’ natural behavior. It is only possible to look for genetic differences if we know about variation in behaviour.
  2. Indicate on the form whether you are willing to provide a DNA sample from your dog.

Initially, only samples from Livestock Working Kelpies are being sought.

  1. If you consent, we will send you a simple cheek swab kit and a reply paid envelope for you to collect and return the sample.
  2. Repeat this process for as many of your dogs as you can.

Include the good, the bad and the ugly so that undesirable traits can be investigated too.

In addition, you have the opportunity to have your dogs genotyped for free. This data may be of great value to you if you have enquiries in the future on particular genes or recessive traits of interest.
Can I lose?  No!
The information you give about your dogs will not be connected to your name or your dogs’ names without your permission. Dogs are assigned a number to de-identify them from their names and their information goes into a pool of data comparing dog behavior and genes. It will not be made public how you score your dog or what genes emerge.

2017 Aust Yard Dog Championship Finalists
  • 2017 Aust Yard Dog Championship Finalists

Finalists videos are available for viewing here

O'Sullivans Transport Australia yard dog Championship 14th-16th July at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo was complete success.

We would like to congratulate everyone that competed.

95 Dogs in Improver/Open and 86 in Maiden/Novice.
With winners, Shane Maurer with 'Davey' taking out the Championship.

Kevin Howell with Karana Ripper winning the CopRice open, Anthony Attard with Hawksbury Jam in the Eilan Donan Merinos Improver.

Kean McGregor Novice – Adam James with Myamba Moss and the Ruralco properties/Stock and land Maiden with Kate Reynolds with Ellie.
Hansford's Livestock Handling & Rocket Shearing fastest times:
Nick Foster – Cracka
Barry McCreaner – Bazzas Ralph
David Lindsay – Hawksbury Ella
Shane Maurer – Possum
Barry Mc Creanor – Bazzas Ralph

Thank you to all out sponsors for a successful Australian trial.
Thank you to our Judges, Ian O’Connell, John Latty and Rex Hocking.

Brian Leahy & Dwayne McKinnon for the MC for the 3 days.

Kay Hocking, Fiona Morrison, Fiona Cameron & Lisa Twigg  for the time keeping.
The Sheep Handlers, Travis Scott, David Welsh, Kayne Gardner, Roland Pell, James Fowler & Dean Morrison.

Thank you to all interstate trialers that were able to make it, we hope to see you all again next year or in the near future.

Also Thankyou to Landline and all that participated in being interviewed etc.

This year, 2017 was a great success and we hope for the same in the future.

Congratulations to all participants. You all did well.

The First Decision - Which Kelpie?
late Mike Donelan

A bloke once asked Tommy Smith advice on buying a good horse. Smith's reply was "Save up your money and buy the best bred one you can find". I give the same advice to the Kelpie owner starting out - buy the best! The dog may not turn out to be a champion but you've got more chance with a well-bred one, than one off the neighbour or "getting one out of Bill Jones' good bitch", or "a pup by old Tom's good dog".

read the full article

National Kelpie Field Trial Championship Yallambee WA

Adam James with Myamba Moss
Kevin Howell with Karana Tige II
Cordon Curtis with BinnaBurra Johnny
Greg Walton with Karana Jed
Gary White with Whites Fella II
Gary White with Whites Jimmy
Nan Lloyd with Kumbark Ace
Ken Atherton with Ramulam Lad

The NKFTC for 2018 was held in WA at Yallambee, Ken and Jenny Atherton’s property north of Arthur River in the states south. The cast was up hill and the ground ran down alongside a dam. Quite picturesque and provided a good view for spectators.

The sheep were Dohnes and were fleet of foot and inclined to run down the fence on the cast if not headed quickly enough. They also had a tendency to split if pushed too hard.

They provided plenty of challenges for the dogs and frustration for the handlers. The more experienced dogs managed to hold them together and some good scores were achieved.

The cast lift and draw was the most difficult section. Once that was managed they then had to be worked into a small holding yard. This required patience and good covering dogs.

Once in the yard, the first gather also proved a headache for some people, if the dog was not in the right spot the sheep quickly worked it out and would race through any gaps. The rest of the yard course generally caused few problems.

Once the yard course was completed, handlers then went back out and released the five sheep they had yarded. They then continued towards the first obstacle which was a gap, followed by a trap. For the trap the dog had to put the sheep into a narrow obstacle and hold them until the handler walked to the other end and opened the gate to let them out. The last obstacle was a pen, which was not easy, and as the sheep could not be rushed, many competitors simply ran out of time here.

It was a great trial, with challenging sheep, a good course and great spirit of competition from all handlers.