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 Australian countryside is full of farmers who plan their homes, their fencing, their watering points and wool sheds. They buy good rams and bulls and yet don't even think of their dogs on whom they depend to run these enterprises almost every day.
A good dog is one of the cheapest investments you can make on your property. He is an important labour saving device in this era of high cost labour. Find a breeder who has dogs that do work similar to your own. Ask the breeder for references of dogs bred by him working in your area, on your type of country. If he is a responsible breeder, he will be more than willing to meet this request.
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.
Initially, only samples from Livestock Working Kelpies are being sought.
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.
The NKFTC for 2019 was held in Carcoar NSW.
The WKC started the National Kelpie Field Trial Championships over 50 years. The first trail was held at the Golf Club at Mildura. It is now held in a different State each year.
The WKC thanks the hosting committee for the planning and hard work that resulted in a most enjoyable trial. With a record of 107 entries the trial finished on time due in part to time saved by the use of golf buggy by the Judge. The merino sheep were good trial sheep who tested the dogs but responded kindly particularly at the obstacles if handled calmly and allowed to settle. Congratulation to all concerned on a great hosting.
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".
Members recently drew our attention to an announcement on Facebook that an Australian Company is now offering Kelpie DNA testing for Cerebella Abiotrophy ‘CA’ and query why there was no mention made in the November News Bulletin. That there was no mention in the Bulletin was because we were not aware or informed of a DNA testing service being offered.
We have no idea why the Working Kelpie Council was not given prior advice of the service now being offered especially when you take into account the extent of the active financial and ‘in kind’ research support which has been given since ‘CA’ was first recorded by J B Thomas, Murdoch University WA and Don Robertson Muresk Agricultural College, WA and published in the Australian Veterinary Journal , Vol.66 # 9 September 1989. Without WKC support it is highly unlikely that research would have continued to the stage where tests could be offered.
Concerns are raised about the value of the testing and we asked Prof Claire Wade to help and she kindly explained:
‘There seem to be at least three different disorders that result in the disorder that people label as CA. They all behave as recessives, but the early onset one seems to have a big range of severity so that some ‘affected’ or ‘at-risk’ animals by genotype might appear to be nearly entirely normal, while others have the symptoms that most people associate with CA. The late onset form has higher penetrance, meaning that most dogs that will test as ‘affected’ or ‘at-risk’ will demonstrate disorder symptoms. The European version also appears to have reduced penetrance as one member of that family was reported to be normal but had an ‘affected’ or ‘at-risk’ genotype.
When I say either ‘affected’ or ‘at-risk’, I mean that the animal has two copies of the risk variant. Animals that have only one copy are normal. There may yet be another disorder that shows these symptoms too, as we observed one family that had a different gene’.
‘Dog Breeding Science’ is a private company that is owned by a former PhD student from our faculty - Dr Kao Castle ‘
‘If the mapping paper(s) get published then the tests will become more widely available. We understand that because these disorders are not simple, that people will likely think that the tests do not work, but the statistical support for them is very very strong.’
Recently the WKC developed a Code of Behaviour and Practice for WKC registered breeders and members. It was published in the News Bulletin recently. The document is now available online here.
We recommend downloading a copy for your records.
Article about Late Jack Body breeder of the well known and very successful Glenlogie strain dogs. (Reprint from January 1990 Bulletin)
If anybody knows how to speak to a Kelpie, Holbrook's Jack Body does, it is the language of 70 years of handling some of the best sheep dogs in the country … soft, warm and exact.
Dog height, down on one knee he stretches his hand out and calls quietly, 'come, come'. 'I like to talk to my dogs,' he says. 'I want him to come a little bit at a time. If I say to a dog 'come here', I want him here and he has to be here now; not tomorrow. 'If you ask him to come six inches, you don't want six feet'. Jack Body has had dogs since he first started working on stations at the age of 11 in 1920. It was a matter of necessity, he says.
'I've just gone 80 years and I've always had good dogs. And I've always had a crook arm, so my dogs had to be better than the other blokes' dogs to get the jobs.'
Only once was he really at loss for a dog, Working on Kinross Station at Holbrook, young Jack was penning up for 16 shearers in a shed where 186 sheep a day was dragging the chain. With the wool flying off the wethers and without a decent dog, Jack was in the firing line from a shearer who was held up for sheep. It was the last time Jack didn't have a top dog. He promptly bought a rough haired red Kelpie appropriately called Ruff for a pound from Kinross boundary rider, Les Anderson, and the situation abruptly changed. Only 12 months old, Ruff showed his form and the same shearer had to lift his first sheep over the door as they were packed in so tightly.
From then on through the 1930's, Jack broke in, trained and sold dogs through a variety of jobs including boundary riding on Wyanawah station at Holbrook. By the 1950's Jack was working in town and it wasn't until the early 1970's that he showed his true form as a sheepdog trials man.
With a few acres and fewer sheep to train the Kelpies from his Glenlogie stud on, Jack set out to take on the world. The sport has taken him through every state in Australia except Western Australia, twice to Tasmania and twice to New Zealand.
It was across the Tasman where he met with his greatest triumph with his best trials dog, Glenlogie Rex. He was placed 11th in the world in the big Rotorua Expo International Sheep Dog Trial in 1978. Rex, he says, was the most intelligent dog Jack owned and was placed 40 times in trials, going on to sire numbers of top trial dogs. Glenlogie Mandy, by Rex, was Australian Champion with Jack at Mudgee.
Among the best Tex sired is Glenlogie Lucky owned by Chris Stapleton of Oberon who was the current National Kelpie champion, twice Australian Yard Dog Champion and twice NSW Yard Dog Champion. All in spite of the fact that Jack is not a yard dog fan.
But, Jack says, it does not matter how good or well bred a dog is, they have to be trained. 'A dog is only as good as the bloke that owns it and if the man's no good, the dog's no good.'
And how does he choose a top dog? 'In a pup, you don't,' Jack says. 'Anybody that says they can pick a pup at four, five, six months of age; nope, they're having themselves on. 'But as a general rule I like a good wide head that shows brain capacity. 'If you are breeding cattle you are breeding for beef, if you are breeding sheep you are breeding for wool or mutton and if you are breeding dogs, you are breeding for brains. But he's got to be working for you; he could have his brains working against you.'
But the people in the Know say Jack Body's dogs always work with him and it shows in his natural love of a great working dog. 'I've always had a dog, penning up, working on stations -- even if I wasn't competing, I'd still have a sheepdog -- they're wonderful mates.