Not everyone can handle a kelpie, and one experienced breeder has a message for those who just want a playful pet.
- Kelpie breeder Greta West warns that kelpies don’t make great pets
- Breeder says interest in kelpies increased after Red Dog and Muster Dogs shows
- Kelpies need both mental and physical stimulation
Studmaster Bill Scott has spent over 60 years working with herding and cattle dogs, and he was a firm believer that kelpies weren’t for everyone.
He said interest in the breed has increased following the popular ABC reality show, Muster Dogs.
“After the movie Red Dog, everyone wanted a Red Dog pet, and it’s already happening again with this [TV] program,” he said.
Based in Greta West, North East Victoria, Mr Scott oversees up to five litters of kelpies a year at Stockmans Working Kelpies, with the puppies traveling across Australia and even overseas to take on working roles.
Few of them end up as pets despite growing demand.
“99% of mine are working dogs, it’s very rare that I sell one as a pet,” he said.
“The only people I’ve sold puppies to as pets are people who got kelpies recently and did the right thing with them.
Even those who end up in a job need the proper care and stimulation.
“There are bloodlines of kelpies that will never, ever be suitable as pets, they are too work oriented and not people oriented.
“I have seen dogs who are bored not even enough work, they are on farms but they work ants.
“They need their brains stimulated and they need work.”
Physically and mentally fit
Another misconception Scott found was that working dogs simply need lots of exercise.
He said the mental training was just as important as the physical.
“If you don’t work their brains and only get them physically fit, you leave them alone and they’ll dig holes in the garden and destroy things and aren’t very happy.”
And while Mr Scott loved his dogs, who he said never asked for more than a pet and food, he warned that it takes well over a year to create a champion herding dog.
“[They’re] still far from having a finished dog in 12 months.”