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

2018 National Kelpie Field Trial Championship

The 2018 NKFTC will be held in WA at 102 Noble Road (off Albany Highway) West Wagin on 26 to 29 April.

Entry form is availabe here Please note entries close 23rd March 2018.

New videos recently uploaded

The 2017 NKFTC finals video are now online for you to view... Click here

NKFTC Winners 2017
  • NKFTC Winners 2017

National Kelpie Field Trial Championship Alexandra VIC

Adam James with Tundabardi Buster
Kevin Howell with Karana Tige II
Adam James with Myamba Moss
Greg Walton with Karana Max VI
Gary White with Whites Fella II
Jake Nowlan with Amos Zone
Adam James with Yarrabee Scout
79+X  =79

Is this the start of a new era?
Over many years, Gary White and Kevin Howell have dominated the National Kelpie Field Trial Championship (NKFTC). In 2017 that has all changed. A young man (Adam James with Tundabardi Buster) from Victoria not only won the trial but managed to get three dogs into the final. Adam remarked at his winning speech that he had been too busy on the farm, before the trial, to do any special training with his dogs. A remarkable feat. Hopefully we see more of Adam and his excellent dogs in years to come.

The 2017 NKFTC was held at the picturesque Alexandra Showgrounds, hosted by the Upper Goulburn Working Dog Group from the 3RD to the 5th of March. There were 22 competitors working 67 dogs in the trial, with representation from WA, SA, NSW, Tas and Vic.

The weather was excellent all through the trial with beautiful autumn mornings, warm days and cool nights.

The ewes supplied by Fox Pastoral at Merton were very strong and consistent throughout but were touchy through the mid afternoons of each day.

The Course was first-rate and the length of the cast was 140 meters. The cast was a little tricky with some natural obstacles (trees) to negotiate, the three ewes were brought through a nine-metre delivery circle and then into a holding pen. The yard work was then completed with twelve ewes worked through a simple drench and draft race. The three sheep that were picked up on the cast were then let out and worked around the course comprising of a gap, Y race and pen.

Throughout the final, the sheep were very sensitive to the position of the dog and did become very difficult if not treated well.

The Judge, Norm Severs from Bairnsdale Victoria did and exceptional job over the competition and his scoring was consistent over the whole tournament. Congratulations are in order for doing a remarkable job in consistent 30-degree heat.

The members of the Committee and the organizers of the provisions must be thanked for the excellent food provided for the trial. All the food made available throughout the day plus hot food for breakfasts and lunches were excellent. They also catered for dinner each night. All dinners were an excellent standard.
Finally, the let-out people and the organizers in the yards did a skilful job with first-rate releases.