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Dogs That Don’t Shed – Common Hypoallergenic Dogs Australia (2021 Breed Profile)

Dogs That Don't Shed -
A Guide To Hypoallergenic Breeds

Are you looking for a hypoallergenic dog? Maybe you or a family member are allergic to dogs, so finding a dog that won’t shed might sound appealing.

To make your choice easier, we’ve compiled a list with the top hypoallergenic dogs you can choose from. Maybe your next best friend is on it!


Is There Such Thing As Hypoallergenic Dogs?

The short answer is no, there aren’t.

Despite never-ending marketing, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. Several scientific studies have researched whether or not dogs can be hypoallergenic, and they all got to the same conclusion [2]. The reason for this is the way dog allergies work.

Like all allergies, pet allergies happen when your body reacts to a foreign body [1]. According to researchers, dog allergies are caused by an immune reaction to a species-specific protein. In dogs, the main allergy-inducing protein is called can f 1 and it is found in every cell of a dog’s body. However, protein levels are higher in dog’s skin cells, saliva and urine. All dogs produce dander, drool and pee, so they all release allergens into the environment. Because of it, so-called hypoallergenic dog breeds have as much of this protein as ‘regular’ dogs.

In fact, a 2013 study performed by a research group in the Netherlands examined allergen levels in various hypoallergenic breeds [2]. These included Labradoodles, Poodles, Airedale Terriers and Spanish Waterdogs. Then, they compared their findings with ‘regular’ dogs.

When measured, they found almost no difference in allergen concentration among dog breeds. Researchers measured allergens in the dog’s coat, and in the air and floor of their households. Labradoodles showed a slightly lower allergen concentration in their household’s floors, but airborne and coat allergens were the same. All other breeds scored the same quantities as well.

So, what does this mean for you?

If you have a dog, you’ll have to deal with dog allergens regardless of the breed. For those with severe allergic reactions, you might want to forgo having a dog altogether. Dog saliva and dandruff will get to you, even after thorough cleaning. The only way around it is not allowing the dog inside the home, but we don’t think that’s fair for your pup!

So-called hypoallergenic dogs might shed a bit less hair, but their saliva and dandruff will still cause allergies. Of course, if you’re choosing a ‘hypoallergenic dog’ to avoid having dog hair everywhere, then some breeds might fit better with your needs.


Non-Shedding Dogs: Why Some Dogs Don’t Shed Hair

If you’re allergic to dogs, low-shedding dogs will still cause a reaction. However, if you’re allergic to dust and dust mites instead, a dog that sheds less hair might be a good option.

Let’s be clear: all dogs shed. Shedding is a natural process that happens to any being with skin and hair. Humans shed, and dogs shed as well. When sellers talk about hypoallergenic dogs, they’re rather talking about dog breeds that shed less hair, or show less shedding than others.

While all pups shed, those with a double coat shed significantly more hair than dogs with a single coat. A double coat is just what it sounds: it means your dog has two layers of fur that grow independently and have a different texture. Most dogs with medium to long hair have a double coat. In contrast, dogs with no undercoat have a single layer of fur and tend to shed a bit less in comparison.

However, there’s a special category of dogs that have been touted as non-shedding pups. Is this really so?

Well… not really. But some coat textures keep loose hair trapped, which might make it seem like a dog shed less.

In general, breeds with rough or curly hair are called low-shed dogs because the hair gets trapped within the curls. Of course, you’ll still have to groom and brush your dog to keep their skin healthy, but the hair won’t get on your clothes and furniture as easily.


Are Hypoallergenic & Non-Shedding Dogs The Same?

Not exactly. The American Kennel Club has a small list of ‘hypoallergenic dogs’ with breeds that might or might not shed a lot. Remember, for people with dog allergies, the hair isn’t the problem.

Real dog allergies are caused by specific reactions to proteins in dogs’ skin cells, dander and saliva. Because of it, even if a dog sheds very little, breeds that drool will spike your allergies.

In contrast, a dog with a longer coat, like a Maltese, drools very little and can be classified as ‘hypoallergenic’. To know what the best dog for you is, go to a doctor and confirm the source of your allergies. This will give you enough info to start looking for the right dog.

Now that we’ve explained the science behind non-shedding and hypoallergenic dogs, here are the most popular hypoallergenic dog breeds.


Best Small Hypoallergenic Dogs That Don’t Shed

Toy Poodle

White toy poodle

This is the star of non-shedding dogs, and the one that started it all. Toy poodles are a smaller version of their standard counterparts, and they are famous for shedding very little hair.

In reality, poodles shed as much as any dog with no undercoat. The difference lies in their curly coat: the pattern keeps loose hair trapped so it doesn’t get on your furniture. Toy poodles are also a favourite because they are small and easy to bathe frequently, which might help keep your allergies under control.

American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrie

While it seems obvious, choosing a hairless dog is a great option if you’re concerned about excessive shedding. The American hairless terrier is a relatively new breed that is getting more and more popular. They have two varieties, one hairless and the other with some fur.

Before adopting a hairless dog like this one, take into account the time and effort you’ll spend caring for their skin. Just like with other hairless breeds, this terrier needs consistent sunscreen and you’ll probably have to keep an eye out for sunburn. On the other hand, these feisty dogs behave like a traditional terrier, so you’ll need to train them for a strong recall. In general, this breed is better suited for active families.

Bichon Frise

Bichon frise

If you’re looking for a cuddly lap dog, this might be the best choice. Bichon frises are fluffy, smart and love to be around people. This is a playful little dog that enjoys spending time with you and being part of your day to day.

On the flip side, this breed loves to bark so take that into account before adopting one. Luckily, they tend to be friendly and aren’t at all aggressive. They're somewhat curly, frizzy coat is considered ‘hypoallergenic’ since shed hair gets trapped in there. However, to prevent matting, a thorough brushing a couple of times a week is a must. Overall, this is a breed that will need a pro groomer to keep up with haircuts and general maintenance.

Chinese Crested

Hairless Chinese Crested Dog

This is another hairless dog that you might want to consider. These small pups have huge, butterfly-like ears covered in straight fur, fluffy ‘socks’ and nothing else. This is an ancient breed, and Chinese emperors already favoured their royal looks.

As a pet, Chinese crested dogs are fiercely loyal. They love being close to their owners and denying them a spot on the bed is near impossible. These small and agile pups are great for apartment living and households with older kids.

Maltese

maltese dog

The Maltese is also a classic when it comes to hypoallergenic dogs. This is one of the most popular toy breeds because of its playful and gentle nature. Maltese have been a lap dog for centuries, and that’s what they enjoy doing.

Since they are so small, their exercise needs are minimal and fit well with older households where they’d rather cuddle than go out.

Despite their long, silky coat, this breed is considered ‘hypoallergenic’. Maltese have no undercoat and their fine hair sheds infrequently. However, they do need consistent grooming to prevent matting, as well as regular conditioning. If you want a cuddly dog and don’t mind the extra work, this might be the breed for you!


Medium Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed

Standard Poodles

standard poodle

Poodles need to be on this list as one of the most famous ‘hypoallergenic’ breeds. Of course, they aren’t actually hypoallergenic, but they don’t have an undercoat and their curl pattern keeps shed hair trapped.

In spite of the low amount of hair on your furniture, poodles still need a consistent grooming schedule to keep their skin healthy.  This breed also needs a lot of exercise, particularly if you adopt a standard poodle. They are a great fit for active families with kids, or as working dogs.

Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

The Airedale is on this list because of its hard, wiry coat. While these dogs have a double coat, the harsh, curlier texture of the outer layer traps shed hair in. Similar to how poodle coats don’t shed a lot, this is a bred that won’t get hair on your furniture.

This is a versatile and smart farm dog that fits well with active households. Because of their strong prey drive and signature terrier personality, they’re better suited for owners with some kind of dog training experience.

Labradoodles & Poodle Mixes

Labradoodle and Cavoodle

These poodle mixes are the most iconic hypoallergenic dogs you can find. In fact, most people get a labradoodle because of their touted hypoallergenic properties. While these can be great family dogs, keep in mind there’s no guarantee of hair texture when choosing a crossbreed puppy. This is especially concerning when dealing with so-called ‘hypoallergenic’ designer dogs like labradoodles and goldendoodles. Since one of the parent breeds is a heavy shedder -golden retrievers- and has a double coat, you won’t be sure whether your pup takes after those traits or the poodle side.

You should also take into account the problems with puppy mills and irresponsible ‘breeders’ that take up the majority of the poodle crossbreed market. When choosing such a popular crossbreed, it’s essential to pick a registered, reputable breeder that considers their dog’s health. This will up your chances of getting a healthy pup and avoid supporting unethical breeding practices.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier

This Irish farm dog needs consistent grooming but sheds very little. Standing at around 20 inches tall, they are on the smaller side of medium.

Their signature silky, fluffy coat in pale gold is very different from other terriers, but they share the same zest for life and personality. These pups are full of energy and have a very strong prey drive, so they’re better for active families with experience training terriers.


Large Dogs That Don’t Shed

Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer

All size of schnauzers could be included within the ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘low shedding’ category, but giant schnauzers are one of the few large dogs that don’t shed. These huge pups have a dense, wiry coat meant to handle harsh weather. Their coat also traps shed hair so they won’t cover your sofa.

Because of their size, this is an imposing breed, and they make great all-around working dogs. Schnauzers are smart, dedicated and loyal, needing daily exercise to be happy. In fact, this breed needs so much exercise that you can even take them skiing, hiking and swimming. In general, Giants need company and will fit better in a household that can give them the attention and training they demand.

Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel

This breed looks similar to a curly-haired cocker spaniel. They have those classic spaniel eyes, and a curly coat that’s fluffy and dense. Water spaniels are a classic when it comes to low-shedding dogs. Their curly coat forms coils that keep shed hair from falling all over your home.

Of course, like with other curly pups we’ve mentioned, this breed also needs consistent grooming to keep them happy. They’ll need a trim once a month to keep them from looking too dishevelled. While they are smart and playful, this breed has a lot of energy. They fit better with a very active family that will provide companionship and everyday activity.

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

This is another curly pup that has been called hypoallergenic for a very long time. They were used by Portuguese fishermen to retrieve gear lost at sea. They are an extremely gentle, affectionate breed that fits great with children of all ages.

They can reach up to 60 pounds, so this is a large dog! Keep this in mind when considering this breed. While they don’t shed, they need monthly clipping to feel and look their best. Plus, they also need weekly brushing.

As for exercise, this breed is active and will happily go out on long walks, but they’d rather spend time on the water.

Samoyed

Samoyed Dog

This large, gentle giant looks like a big white teddy bear. Samoyeds are classified as ‘hypoallergenic’ because they don’t drool, and they tend to have slightly different proteins to other breeds which might lower your allergy chances. However, these dogs shed a lot, so if dog hair and dust is the cause of your allergies, this isn’t the breed for you.

Of course, also keep in mind this is a cold-weather dog, so don’t choose it if you live in warmer climates.

Where to find a hypoallergenic dog

We’ve covered some of the most common non shedding dog breeds, but where can you find some any of these dogs? While registered breeders are an option, we recommend going to your local RSPCA or rescue before buying.

Adopting is a better choice both for your allergies, and because many of these breeds are very frequent in shelters. When it comes to allergies, we’ve already mentioned some dogs fit better with specific people. The only way to really know is meeting prospective pups and testing your allergic reaction. With some luck, you’ll find a dog that won’t trigger your immune system!

On the other hand, many of these breeds are consistently abandoned at shelters. Because of their popularity, many households have jumped in and gotten poodle crossbreeds and other ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs. Then, when it turns out these aren’t fully ‘non-shedding dogs’ they get thrown out. Lack of proper research and irresponsible dog ownership have filled Australian rescues with popular dog breeds. You can give a second chance to a loving pup, without feeding the harmful puppy mill system.

To adopt a hypoallergenic dog, check out your local RSPCA as well as breed-specific rescues based on your interests. There, you’ll be able to meet adoptable dogs that might fit your needs:


Pro tips - How To Live With Dog Allergies

If you’re allergic but still want a pup, there are some easy changes that could improve your allergy symptoms. While nothing will be as effective as completely avoiding contact with the allergen, the same Dutch group we mentioned before also found some ways to lower allergens in the home. Here’s what you should know:

PRO TIP:  Wash the covers: thoroughly washing your dog’s bedding lowers dander in the air and surfaces by as much as 86%! For best results, wash everything twice a week. Researchers discovered that after several weeks, airborne allergens were up to 60% lower.

PRO TIP: Use an air filter: airborne allergens are the cause of the majority of symptoms for people with sensitive immune systems. Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate arresting) filters, which are the only ones with pores small enough to trap dust and dander.

PRO TIP: Don’t bathe too often: it might sound counterintuitive but giving too-frequent baths to your dog might do more harm than good. Baths tend to dry your dog’s skin and irritate it, so they’ll tend to produce even more dander. In general, giving a bath once every two months, or once a month at most, will be enough.

PRO TIP: Brush 3x week: brushing removes dead cells and loose hair from your dog’s coat, keeping it out of your furniture and helping to lower allergies. It will also keep their skin healthy and evenly distribute sebum which in turn will keep dander to a healthy level. Doctors recommend getting someone else to brush your dog if you’re the one with allergies.

PRO TIP: Avoid using harsh chemicals on your dog or their bedding: as we’ve already mentioned, irritation can make dander worse. To keep your dog’s skin healthy, use mild soap and detergent when washing their bedding and bathing.

PRO TIP: Wipe your dog: use a damp cloth to take extra dust and pollen off your dog before going into your home. Get into the habit of doing this after every walk and before going through the door. This will get rid of most of the allergens that might be sticking to your dog’s coat and lower your symptoms from other foreign particles.

PRO TIP: Keep your dog off the bed: sharing a bed with your pooch is a no-no for allergic people. Researchers know that allergen concentration is higher wherever your dog sleeps or lays, so keep your bed a dog-free zone.

PRO TIP: Rinse your nose: this one’s more for you than your pup, but rinsing your sinuses helps with allergy symptoms.

PRO TIP: Vacuum frequently: this will depend on your schedule, but daily vacuuming is the best to handle dog allergies. However, even twice a week will improve your symptoms. If you can, invest in a robot vacuum: it will make the process pain-free. Remember to switch your vacuum filter frequently, and only use HEPA filters.


Final Thoughts

While hypoallergenic dogs don’t exist, with the right breed and grooming schedule you could lower your chances at getting dog allergies.

If you really want a dog regardless of your sneezing, following a tight grooming and cleaning schedule will make it easier.

Look over our recommended breeds and make a tour of your local rescues: maybe your dream, low-shedding dog is waiting for you!

FAQ

Will shaving my dog make it hypoallergenic?

No. if you’re allergic to dogs, it means your body reacts to a protein found in every cell of a dog’s body, with higher concentrations in skin cells, saliva and urine. This means shaving has no effect on your allergic reactions.

Shaving a dog won’t lower their shedding rate either, so you’ll still have dog hair around the house. Instead, the loose hair will only be shorter.

Can I be allergic to some dog breeds and not others?

Considering dog allergies involve a strong immune reaction to one or more proteins found in dogs, the answer is no. Since all dog breeds are the same species, they have the same biological composition.

However, allergies are complex, and you can be more allergic to specific dogs and not others. This doesn’t have to do with the breed but with that dog’s genetics. You might have experience with some dogs that have never given you allergies, but others have. This is because allergen concentration in dogs can vary greatly within the same breed. Plus, you might be allergic to different molecules found in dogs, that haven’t been thoroughly studied by researchers.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a pet allergy but have had a good experience with a specific dog, try to get a dog related to that one. Or get to know a dog by fostering before fully committing to adoption.

References
  1. Mayo clinic. Pet allergies. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pet-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352192
  2. Doris W. Vredegoor, Ton Willemse, Martin D. Chapman, Dick J.J. Heederik, Esmeralda J.M. Krop. Can f 1 levels in hair and homes of different dog breeds: Lack of evidence to describe any dog breed as hypoallergenic. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Volume 130, Issue 4. 2012. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674912007932?casa_token=OAFrSMnDcwAAAAAA:_mLJrOPB_bfCe0hXp3fYe1BziPmmvnKlFuEZFPdxxXvRM8Jb3svkB1hMa3MhESvDOnXfmM2HW1M6
Cavoodle playing in the leaves

The Cavoodle (2021 Breed Profile)

The Cavoodle Breed Profile -
Meet The Cavalier Cross Poodle

Vital Stats

Dog breed groups

not registered

Height

25 to 35 cm

Weight

2 to 8 kg

Life span

10 to 18 years

The cavoodle is one of the most popular designer dogs in Australia. Do you know anything about this novel breed? We’ve reviewed everything there is to know about the Cavalier poodle mix so you can decide if it’s the right fit for your home.


The Toy Cavoodle

Cavoodle running


Cavoodle Temperament & Personality

Child Friendliness

Dog Friendliness 

Cavoodle Exercise Needs

Cavoodle Intelligence and Trainability

Cavoodle Grooming Needs 

Cavoodle Health Issues

Apartment Friendly

This crossbreed, also known as the cavapoo, is a mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a miniature poodle. The resulting dog is medium to small, fluffy and active dog. Today we’ll go over everything you need to know about this new crossbreed.

Cavoodle Temperament & Personality 5/5

Considering both the Cavalier and the poodle are known for their gentle and loyal nature, it’s no surprise this crossbreed is also well-tempered.

The Cavoodle has some traits from the poodle and others from the Cavalier, but since this is a new crossbreed, you’ll never know what side you’re getting.

First, we have the poodle. This is an active, charismatic dog that oozes self-confidence and enjoys spending time with people. Poodles have very distinct personalities and tend to consider themselves as equals within their family. This can offer many funny moments, but also means they need consistent, positive training at a young age to behave in a home setting.

Then, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a lap dog with all the instincts of traditional spaniels. These little ones thoroughly enjoy cuddling and tend to be people-loving as well, but also run behind any scent that interests them. Both of these dogs are very family-oriented, and do best when they spend most of their time with their humans.

Neither of these breeds are particularly fond of strangers, but when properly socialized they’ll tolerate new people easily.

Given their gentle temper, we’re giving this breed 5 out of 5 stars.

Child Friendliness 5/5

Both of these breeds are great with children of all ages. In fact, this is one of the reasons for the rising popularity of the Cavoodle in Australia. These smart pups are small enough to be cuddly, and very easy to train. Some people have even chosen Cavoodles as their kid’s first dogs.

Of course, keep in mind their small size if you’re considering this crossbreed for your family. Younger kids can be wobbly on their feet, and at less than 30 cm tall, Cavoodles can get hurt easily. Supervising your kids and dog is essential to avoiding accidents, but it can also be good to wait until the kids are older. An older kid or teenager will be more mindful of a Cavoodle’s size, and keep an eye out for their location before making sudden movements.

Of course, if you intend to be the primary caregiver of your Cavoodle, then the age and accident risk won’t be such a big issue.

Since this breed is remarkably friendly towards kids, we’re giving it 5 out of 5 stars.

Dog Friendliness 4/5

Again, the only way to know about a crossbreed’s temper and behaviours is by looking at its parent breeds.

For starters, Poodles tend to be boldly self-confident, which can result in excessive barking and even some mouthiness towards other dogs. In contrast, cavvies love to be part of a pack and enjoy making strong bonds with other pups.

Overall, both parent breeds are friendly towards other dogs, but would rather spend time with humans than with other pets. This means your Cavoodle will generally be a good option if you have dogs or other pets. However, remember that regardless of a breed’s inclination, early socialization is key to adequate behaviour.

Socialization is especially important to avoid excessive barking, which can be a problem with toy dogs like the poodle and the Cavalier.

Considering the Cavoodle tends to be amicable, we’re giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

Cavoodle Exercise Needs 3/5

When considering how much exercise will your Cavoodle need, it’s important to look at the parent breeds. Both the poodle and the spaniel are active breeds. However, the poodle in particular is a very athletic, smart dog that needs consistent physical training. These pups were bred for hunting until not so long ago, and those instincts are still there. Toy poodles are easy to neglect when it comes to exercise, because they can run around the house and burn part of their energy. However, this isn’t enough to keep their minds and bodies busy.

If left to their own devices and without proper exercise, poodles will get bored. In turn, this can foster undesirable behaviour like anxiety, destructive behaviours, and even aggression.

In contrast, cavvies can be active, but also fit well with more sedentary ways of life. This breed was created using chase dogs to make a lap dog that would look like a spaniel in a much smaller package. In general, Cavaliers enjoy moderate activities as long as their heart is in good condition. Keep in mind their hunting instincts can get the best of them, so don’t walk them off leash.

PRO TIP: To avoid unwanted troubles, give your Cavoodle pup short walks every day and one or two intense sessions per week. This should be enough to keep their body healthy and mind entertained.

Because exercise is easy to accomplish with this breed, we’re giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

Cavoodle Intelligence and Trainability 5/5

Both poodles and cavvies are smart, easy to train breeds. Because of it, the Cavoodle is also relatively easy going when it comes to training.

In general, these pups enjoy pleasing their owners and following directions. They are very smart and tend to quickly understand what’s needed of them. In spite of this, some light repetition isn’t a problem, which might come in handy if you’re still unfamiliar with your dog’s physical cues during training.

Considering their child friendliness and willingness to please, Cavoodles are a good option for novice dog owners. Of course, this mix still needs the same socialization and positive training as others. But their gentle and cooperative nature doesn’t demand a strict, consistent schedule like more independent breeds such as the Staffy.

Since Cavoodles are eager to please their owners and enjoy spending time with you, we’re giving this breed 5 out of 5 in this category.

Cavoodle Grooming Needs 3/5

If you’re thinking about the Cavoodle due to the so-called ‘hypoallergenic poodle coat’, this isn’t the right choice. For starters, there’s no such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog coat. This myth came to be because of poodle’s curly hair. The curl keeps hair from shedding all over the furniture, and owners started to think this meant poodles didn’t shed.

Poodles do shed, and in fact they need extra grooming and care to detangle their curls. On the other hand, the main allergen in dogs is in their dandruff and saliva. Unfortunately, poodles have the same amount of dandruff and drool as any other dog breed. This means if you or someone in the family is allergic to dogs, Cavoodles and poodles will cause a reaction.

Cavoodles have a mixed coat with a texture that depends on which side they take after. In general, this fluffy crossbreed has a medium to short coat, with different natural lengths throughout.

This means you’ll need to brush your dog daily if the coat is curly, and at least 3 times a week if it’s on the straighter side. You might also have to invest in monthly haircuts, particularly to cut the bangs and ensure your dog can see well. Cavoodles also have a double coat, so they’ll shed hair year-round and a lot more during spring time.

Considering its grooming needs, we’re taking off 2 stars.

Cavoodle Health issues 2/5

Unfortunately, this crossbreed has some serious health issues that come from intense inbreeding from the Cavalier side. If you’re thinking about getting a Cavoodle, it’s important to consider the possible health conditions of your future pup.

Like with other breeds, Cavalier breeders tried to accentuate the signature physical traits of these dogs. One of the distinctive features of this breed is their small, rounded head. However, inbreeding and careless breeding has led Cavaliers to be prone to syringomyelia. In short, this is a congenital ‘mismatch’ between the skull and the brain, and many times the spinal cord is also compromised.

Although this condition is generally rare, syringomyelia is very common in this breed. Plus, the chances of a Cavalier mix developing this condition are high. In fact, according to the NGO Cavalier health, researchers estimate more than 95% of Cavaliers have malformations in the junction between the brain and the spine [1]. On top of it, this condition appears more severely and frequently in each succeeding Cavalier generation. This means dogs now have these issues more frequently than 10 years ago.

Syringomyelia is extremely serious, and treatments are very limited. Dogs with malformations have tender necks, severe pain in the head, and other neurological symptoms like seizures and body shaking. Since this condition worsens with time and there’s no cure, many dogs with it are placed in hospice care, and euthanized to avoid further suffering.

Cavaliers are also more prone to a heart condition called mitral valve disease. This is one of the breeds most likely to develop this malformation. Pups with this condition start with a small heart murmur, but it slowly progresses to hinder quality of life. In fact, according to experts, mitral valve disease tends to become fatal within one to three years of diagnosis and is the top cause of death for the breed [3]. Other heart conditions are also common.

Of course, Cavoodle puppies also bring poodle genes. This popular breed is generally healthy, but they are more prone to hormonal imbalances. In general, poodles are more likely than other breeds to suffer from Addison’s disease and thyroid problems [4]. Before adopting a poodle or a poodle mix, make sure your pup and its parents have been tested for possible hereditary diseases. Cavoodles are prone to eye conditions -like retinal atrophy- on top of the issues mentioned above.

Considering the very serious health conditions in Cavalier genes, we’re taking off 3 stars.

Apartment Friendly 4/5

If you’re looking for a puppy that will be happy in a flat, the Cavoodle could be a good choice. Given their size, smaller living spaces are often enough to keep them lightly active and entertained.

If you offer your new pup the recommended amount of exercise, apartment living is possible. Your Cavoodle puppy will enjoy jumping on and off the couch and following you around. However, remember the poodle in them leads to occasional unnecessary barking. If this isn’t handled through training, it can become an issue, so make sure to redirect the behaviour if you live close to your neighbours.


Finding A Cavoodle Puppy

Cavoodle Puppy waiting patiently

If you’re considering bringing this cute pup into your home, you might be looking into buying a Cavoodle puppy. Before you jump in, there’s a couple issues you need to think through:

First, we have the price. This crossbreed has risen to popularity, particularly since many celebrities are adopting Cavoodles. Unfortunately, this also means they’ve become a hot commodity, like chihuahuas in the early 2000’s. In Australia, Cavoodle prices can reach up to $7000, sometimes even more.

On the other hand, you’ll have to consider where you get your Cavoodle puppy. This is a new crossbreed, and because of it there are no official registered breeders. The problem with it is that you’ll only find puppies coming from amateur breeders and puppy mills. Both of these options mean your future pup won’t be adequately tested for health concerns, and its parents are subject to harsh living conditions. Plus, puppy mills are very problematic from an ethical standpoint, you can read an in-depth article here.

One of the issues with puppy mills is that people still buy Cavalier puppies at very high prices, so there are many unscrupulous breeders that don’t take health concerns into account. When purchasing a Cavalier or one of its mixes, you’re helping perpetuate the vicious circle of breeding unhealthy, unhappy dogs. Because of it, we cannot recommend purchasing a Cavoodle pup from a ‘breeder’ or puppy mill.

If you’re interested in this breed, it might be worth it to try your luck at a rescue.


Rescuing A Cavoodle

With higher popularity comes higher abandonment rates. Like with other breeds that suddenly become fashionable, crossbreeds like the Cavoodle are slowly more common at local rescues. Rescuing a Cavoodle puppy is a good option if you’re interested in the breed but don’t want to support puppy mills or sketchy non-registered breeders.

Visiting your local RSPCA or rescue group is a great place to start. However, there are also breed-specific rescues that might have the Cavoodle pup you’re looking for. Here are some that you could check out:


Final Thoughts

Even though the Cavoodle is a loyal, cuddly pup, we cannot recommend you buy one. Like all ‘designer dogs’, there are no registered breeders for this mix and your pup won’t have reliable health testing. Likewise, so-called ‘breeders’ don’t take responsibility for the health of their litters like registered breeders do. Buying from puppy mills perpetuates the exploitation of dogs, disregarding the health of litters and parents alike.

Plus, the cavalier in particular is a breed with plenty of health issues due to decades of careless breeding. The majority of these dogs come to the world with inherited malformations that cause a great deal of pain for the dog and expenses for their families. Buying a puppy from a breed with these kinds of issues will only reinforce the problem.

If you’re interested in a Cavoodle or small crossbreed dog to bring into your life, look into adoption from your local rescue. Adopting a puppy mill rescue, or an abandoned ‘Christmas gift’ is as rewarding as getting a ‘brand new’ puppy, but you won’t be feeding dangerous designer dog breeders or puppy mills.

FAQ

What size is a full-grown Cavoodle?

Cavoodle size depends on different factors, mainly the size of its parents. While Cavalier King Charles Spaniels stand at around 30 to 33 cm, toy poodles are bred to be around 25 cm tall.

This means your cavapoo puppy can grow up to be anywhere from 25 to 30 cm tall. On the other hand, it’s important to take into account the poodle type used in the cross. Miniature poodles stand a bit taller than their toy counterparts, so a cavoodle with miniature poole in it will definitely be closer to medium.

How long do Cavoodles live for?

As with all dogs, your Cavoodle’s lifespan depends on its inherited health issues as well as its lifestyle. Like with other crossbreeds, your Cavoodle pup will have a lifespan within the ballpark of its parent breeds.

Considering poodles live between 10 and 18 years, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels live 12 to 15 years, you can expect your Cavoodle to live around 15 years.

However, if your dog inherits any serious health condition -particularly common among Cavaliers- their lifespan would be severely affected. Cavalier mixes with heart or neurological conditions can live as little as 3 to 5 years, depending on the issue.

References
  1. Cavalier Health. Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 2004. https://cavalierhealth.org/syringomyelia.htm#IN_DEPTH:
  2. VCA hospitals. Syringomyelia and Chiari-like malformation. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/syringomyelia-and-chiari-like-malformation
  3. Bowen, jill. Heart disease is top cause of death in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The Roanoke times. https://roanoke.com/archive/heart-disease-is-top-cause-of-death-in-cavalier-king-charles-spaniels/article_e5c317dd-1244-57ca-9d6e-8278f60bb7cd.html
  4. The poodle club of America. Health concerns. https://poodleclubofamerica.org/health-concerns/
Staffy having a rest with tongue out

The Staffy (2021 Breed Profile)

The Staffy Breed Profile -
Meet The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Vital Stats

Dog breed group

Terrier

Height

35 to 45 cm

Weight

14 to 24 kg

Life span

12 to 14 years

If you’re looking for a funny, extroverted pup that loves being around people, then the Staffy might be the right choice.

The Staffordshire bull terrier is a sturdy, active dog with a heart of gold. In today’s article, our experts reviewed the breed so you can make the best choice for your family. Here’s what you need to know!


The Staffy Guide

Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 9 months old


Staffy temperament and personality

Staffy child and people friendliness 

Staffy dog-friendliness 

Exercise needs

Staffy intelligence and trainability

Staffy grooming

Staffy health issues

Apartment friendly

While similar, the American and the English Staffordshire bull terriers are two different breeds. Check out the FAQs below for a thorough explanation of their differences. Today is all about the Staffy, which is short for the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Staffy Temperament & Personality 5/5

This breed is loyal, courageous and friendly. Staffies are very well-tempered and don’t get scared easily. They have a very stable character and are in general very patient with kids.

There’s a stigma around Staffordshire Bull Terriers labelling as an aggressive breed, but this cannot be further from reality. In fact, the American kennel club breed standard specifically mentions

"[Staffordshire bull terriers are] sweet-natured, family-oriented dogs with a reputation for being patient with kids" – Staffordshire bull terrier, breed standard, AKC [2].

Back in their bull-fighting days, these dogs were bred to enjoy downtime with their families, and this is a trait that continues in modern-day Staffies. This breed thoroughly enjoys cuddling for hours after a long day of play!

This is a sweet, playful dog, but because of its active nature and fighting past, they need socializing and consistent exercise. For you, this means dedicating time and effort to slowly introducing new experiences to your dog in a positive way. The goal of socialization is building on the natural confidence of your dog while teaching them canine manners. If left to their own devices, Staffies can develop competitiveness towards other dogs. Avoid guarding issues by exposing them to new situations from the start.

On the other hand, Staffies are also known for their fun-loving nature. This breed is one of the goofballs of the canine world, and enjoy making their owners laugh. Because of their smarts, they quickly understand to make ‘jokes’ and aren’t afraid of ridicule. If you’d love a dog to play, snuggle and workout with, this breed might be the one. We’re giving Staffies 5 out of 5 in this category.

Staffy Child & People Friendliness 5/5

Like other pit bull-type dogs, Staffies are remarkably friendly. If you have young kiddos, the English Staffordshire terrier might be an especially good option, since they’re known for being great with children. The American kennel club mentions the Staffordshire bull terrier has "a special feel for kids".

As play companions, this breed is perfect for kids of all ages. English Staffies are on the smaller side of medium, so they won’t tower over children. Plus, they thoroughly enjoy taking naps with their younger friends. These dogs understand kids can be grabby and are relatively tolerant of a few tugs here and there. However, it’s important to teach kids to be gentle with the dog regardless of how patient they are. If not, your Staffy will ‘correct’ the rough handling with a small nip, which can scare kids even if it won’t hurt them. Avoid any issues by correcting harsh behaviours in kids as soon as they appear.

Of course, like with most dog breeds, Staffies need to have an adult or responsible older teen as their main handler. As we’ve already mentioned, this is a good-natured breed. However, they need a consistent play and training schedule to be on their best behaviour. Burdening young kids with that responsibility is irresponsible and will probably end with the dog’s needs not being met.

When it comes to strangers, this breed loves to mingle. They are a great pup if you want to enjoy dog-friendly gatherings, go to the park or host at home. Once they are socialized and trust you, Staffies will rarely bark. If they do, you should probably check what’s going on.

Given the sweet nature and patience of this breed, we’re giving Staffies 5 out of 5 in this category.

Staffy Dog-Friendliness 4/5

The Staffordshire bull terrier was initially bred to display aggressiveness towards other animals, including bulls and dogs. These traits were eventually discouraged in the early eighteenth century, but in recent decades irresponsible breeders started reinforcing aggressiveness in pitbull-type breeds to sell pups as fighting dogs. This has led many people to consider Staffies are aggressive, particularly against other dogs.

However, A properly socialized Staffordshire bull terrier will showcase its natural tendencies: being a mild-tempered, patient dog that enjoys having four-legged playmates to jump around with. Staffies do great in multi-dog households, and if they meet young, can be best friends with other pets like cats and birds.

If you don’t provide consistent socialization at a young age, your Staffy might develop undesirable behaviours towards dogs and other pets. In general, this looks like an relentless, brave dog, that won’t back off from a challenge. The issue with non-socialized dogs is that they have a hard time letting their owners handle confrontational situations, and also don’t have a good grasp on what constitutes aggression from other dogs. In turn, this can eventually turn into mouthiness, defensive behaviour and even aggression.

Providing a controlled environment where your Staffy pup can learn to understand physical cues and get their energy out is the best way to enjoy the true Staffy personality.

PRO TIP: Set up a consistent routine and schedule daily socialization time with your new pup. This will make the process easier.

Considering you need to offer structured playtime and socialization to guarantee appropriate dog friendliness, we’re taking off 4 stars.

Exercise Needs 5/5

Given its bull-fighting ancestors and muscular composition, it’s not a surprise the Staffy needs consistent exercise to be happy. This is an active dog that will thoroughly enjoy hour-long walks and some extra-active playtime whenever you can spare a few minutes. In general, you’re looking at 45 minutes of daily exercise time in the form of walks, jogs or intense play.

If you want a dog to go with you on bike rides, this might not be a good option. While they can be very athletic, Staffies are stocky and have relatively short legs. This can make it difficult for them to keep up the pace with fitness cycling, particularly if you want to strap your dog to the bike. Bringing a Staffy with you on a bike ride is possible but you’d have to go at a slower pace.

Like other active breeds, Staffordshire bull terriers crave the movement. If you keep them at home without enough exercise, they can develop behavioural issues like excessive barking, separation anxiety and in some cases, aggression. Remember this is a terrier, so they will cause mischief if bored!

If you’ll be leaving your dog at home for more than an hour every day, toys are a great option. Try to find something your dog really enjoys, since not all pups will like the same type of toys. Of course, remember Staffies come from mastiff-type dogs, so they have strong jaws. Get sturdy, well-made toys that won’t fall apart in a couple of days and your dog will enjoy hours of fun.

Given this dog needs a lot of activity to be happy, we’re giving them 5 out of 5 stars in this category.

Staffy Intelligence & Trainability 4/5

This is a smart pup. We’ve already mentioned its bullfighting past, so it’s no surprise they’re clever and can quickly find ways to solve problems. Of course, their brains also means they need some convincing, especially in the first few weeks of training a brand new puppy.

In general, your Staffordshire bull terrier will understand what you’re asking after a couple of times. Staffies tend to enjoy following their owner’s wishes, but they are also prone to doing things their way. This can make essential training a bit difficult for novel owners.

However, this breed is easy to train if you approach the process with patience and an open mind. Choose what commands you need your dog to perform exactly as told -like recall- and be more flexible with the rest. Training a Staffy can be a lot of fun, given they love to give their own spin to the tricks you’re trying to teach. Since training sessions need to be consistent throughout their life, keep an open mind and enjoy the process!

Because these dogs can be hard to train for new owners, we’re taking off 1 star.

Staffy Grooming 5/5

Staffordshire bull terriers have dense short coats that lie very close to the skin. Because of their texture, this breed doesn’t need any hair trimming. In general, upkeep is very easy with this breed. You’ll only have to brush them once a week to get rid of excess hair, and that’s it.

In contrast, you’ll need to be more mindful of their ears: their rose or half-pricked ears need some gentle cleaning once a month, and you need to make sure there’s no humidity left in there. This breed can be prone to ear infections when damp, so prevention is key.

Other than that, you’ll only have to keep their nails trimmed and teeth clean, but that’s general dog upkeep with any breed you choose.

Since this is an easy-to-care-for dog, we’re giving the breed 5 out of 5 stars.

Staffy Health Issues 4/5

Overall, this is a healthy breed. There are some genetic issues like with all other dogs, but nothing too prevalent.

Interestingly, Staffies are prone to hereditary cataracts, but in Australia, there is no record of them [3]. This could mean Australian Staffies have a larger genetic pool than populations in other countries.

Staffordshire bull terriers also have a metabolic disorder, L2-HGA. According to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Heritage Centre in the UK, this hereditary condition affects dogs in different ways but in general, they show behavioural changes -like dementia and anxiety- as well as neurological issues like seizures and ataxia. While the disease is rare, the numbers of affected dogs in the UK are rising [4]. Veterinarians know this is a recessive condition, meaning two carrier parents need to breed for puppies to have it.

If you have questions about your future puppy’s health, talk to your breeder. A responsible breeder will test all their dogs to avoid passing on conditions like L2-HGA. Currently, there’s a DNA test available to screen for this disease, so ask your breeder to show the parent’s results.

We’re giving Staffies 4 out of 5 stars in this category.

Apartment Friendly 3/5

While the Staffy is a relatively small dog, they aren’t ideal for apartment living. This is an active breed and it needs consistent exercise to be happy. However, if you lead an active lifestyle yourself, apartment living is possible. In this case, you’ll have to provide at least 1 hour of daily mild exercise, and one or two shorter intense sessions per week.

Keep in mind Staffies love being around their family, so they aren’t a good choice if you want to leave them by themselves on hour on end without supervision.

Because of these issues, we’re giving this breed 3 out of 5 in this category.


Thinking About Adopting A Staffy Puppy?

Staffy puppy

So, do you think this is the right breed for you? Then it’s time to find yourself a Staffy of your own. Since this is a popular breed in Australia, finding a Staffy pup from a reputable breeder will probably be easy.

To choose the right breeder, getting in touch with your local Staffy club is a good place to start. These associations will help you make the final decision in regards to the breed, and also have updated lists of registered breeders. They might know of someone with an upcoming litter!

Here are some local Staffy clubs you could check out:


Rescuing A Staffy

Two rescue Staffordshire Bull Terriers waiting to be rescued

Giving a second chance to a pup is always great, but even more rewarding if it’s a Staffy. This breed is one of the dogs most frequently found in pounds. Because this breed has such specific exercise and training needs, and the changing laws regarding pit bull-type dogs, Staffies are one of the most abandoned dogs in Australia [5].

If you want to rescue a Staffy, visiting your local RSPCA is a good place to start. There are also breed-specific rescues that always have pups waiting for a forever home. Here are a few you can check:


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly, loyal pup with a heart of gold, then the Staffordshire bull terrier might be the right choice. For those willing to add the long walks and extra cuddle time to their routine, this active, well-tempered pup is the perfect companion.

FAQ

Is the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier the same as the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

Short answer: no.

The English Staffy is a different breed than the American Staffy. In fact, the American kennel clubs registers the English Staffy as Staffordshire bull terrier, and the American variety as the American Staffordshire bull terrier.

Of course, these two dogs can look pretty similar, especially considering the American version actually comes from the English breed. Plus, there has been some crossbreeding in recent years. However, the American Staffy is slightly larger than its English counterpart. On the other hand, the American version has also been crossed with other pit bull-type dogs in America, so that breed can have a jaw that looks squarer.

What colours can Staffies be?

According to the official American kennel club breed standard, Staffordshire bull terriers can be red, fawn, white, black or blue; or any of the colours with white.

Red Staffies are a reddish-brown colour, while a blue Staffy will have a greyish-blue coat. Brindled Staffies are also possible, as well as brindle and white. Black-and-tan pups aren’t common since the official breed standard disqualifies the colour.


References
  1. Modern dog magazine. Difference between American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier. https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/whats-difference-between-american-staffordshire-terrier-and-staffordshire-bull-terrier
  2. American kennel club. Staffordshire bull terrier breed standard. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/staffordshire-bull-terrier/
  3. Greencross vets. Is a Staffordshire bull terrier right for your family? https://www.greencrossvets.com.au/is-a-staffordshire-bull-terrier-right-for-your-family/
  4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier Heritage Centre. L-2-HGA Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria. http://www.thestaffordshirebullterrier.co.uk/Breed%20pictures_files/l2hga.htm
  5. Staffies and kelpies leading the turnover at the RSPCA. https://the-riotact.com/staffies-and-kelpies-leading-the-turnover-at-the-rspca/10253
staffy kelpie mix

The Staffy X Kelpie (2021 Breed Profile)

The Staffy X Kelpie -
Ultimate Mix Breed Profile

Vital Stats

Dog breed group

N/A

Height

35 cm to 45 cm

Weight

14 to 28 kg

Life span

10 to 14 years

Are you looking for an active and energetic dog that also loves cuddling? Then the Staffy cross Kelpie might be the right choice. This unusual crossbreed is challenging and rewarding. Today we’re covering everything you need to know about it.


The Staffy Cross Kelpie: A Little Back Story

staffy kelpie mix

The Staffy cross Kelpie is a relatively new crossbreed, but its two parent breeds are not. Both the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Australian Kelpie have been around for 100+ years! To understand where the Kelpie Staffy mix comes from, we’ll go over the history of those two breeds.

While the two parent breeds have their origins in England, that’s where the similarities end. On the one hand, we have the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also known as Staffy. This is a mastiff-type dog originally bred as an all-purpose working dog. Because of it, they are stocky, muscular and powerful. Their ancestors are a mix of mastiffs, collies and non-descript farm dogs. Like other bull types such as the bull terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier became popular with the rise of blood sports in the UK.

These ‘sports’ involved pitting different dogs against each other or other animals, like bulls. That’s where the term ‘bulldog’ comes from. These dogs were bred to have powerful jaws and short, stocky legs to avoid getting too hurt. Fortunately, blood sports were officially banned in the UK in 1835, although underground betting was still common. For those illicit pits, people started to cross traditional bulldogs with terriers, to merge the feisty temperament of the latter with the physical strength of the bulldog.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the result of these mixes: powerful like the bulldog and spirited like the terrier. Its name comes from the county of Staffordshire, where they were very popular. By the late nineteenth century, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier arrived in America, and breeders started developing it as its own breed. Nowadays, the American Kennel Club recognizes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, very similar to the original dog used in illegal pits, and the American Staffordshire terrier, a taller, heavier version. The latter is part of what we now know as pit bull-type dogs.

Then we have the Australian Kelpie dog, with a very different background. This active herding dog was created in Australia when local shepherds started crossing different collie-type dogs originally from the UK. Australian farmers needed a sturdy, medium-sized dog that could herd sheep through large expanses of land. The Kelpie is agile, energetic and independent, with an iron-clad work ethic. Nowadays, this breed is still used as a working dog because of its strong ethic and smarts.

Coming from these two powerful and active breeds, it’s no surprise the Staffy Kelpie cross has a good work disposition, loves to do its job and is overall a loyal dog that excels at herding and guarding.


The Staffy x Kelpie Mix

Now that we’ve covered where this gentle pup comes from, we’ll go over what makes it unique. If you’re wondering whether this lovable crossbreed could be the right fit, here’s what you should know.


Kelpie x Staffy Temperament and Personality

Good with Kids

Good with Other Dogs and People

Exercise Needs

Intelligence & Trainability

Grooming

Health Issues 

Kelpie x Staffy Temperament and Personality 5/5

Given this is a new crossbreed, there isn’t a way to consistently predict its temperament and behaviour. However, going off of its parent breeds, you can more or less know how the puppies will be like.

Let’s start with the Kelpie. This active herding dog was bred to work independently, so it’s no surprise they enjoy solving problems on their own. While this is great when raised as a working dog, Kelpies as family pets pose some challenges owners should be aware of. In general, this breed is affectionate and loves to spend time with its owners, but also needs some space and quiet time. Kelpies can be very high-energy, but they are friendly. Well-socialized Kelpies aren’t aggressive and do better when they can be part of your day-to-day. This breed is never shy and enjoy facing new challenges. On the flip side, they don’t like meeting large crowds of people and will tend to stay at the outskirts of a large group.

Then we have the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This muscular pup has always been a family pet, even while it was bred as a bull-baiting dog. In contrast with its tough exterior, Staffies are known to be affectionate, loving and brave. In fact, pet food manufacturer Eukanuba conducted a survey that showed the Staffords were among the top two ‘most communicative and affectionate breeds’, and Staffies were also the ‘most partial to a belly rub’ [4]. Their charming behaviour makes them fit well in family settings, and in 2019 it was classed as Britain’s most popular dog breed of the year [3].

PRO TIP: Don’t mix up the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier. While similar, these are two distinct breeds! Staffies are smaller and slightly less stocky, while American terriers are larger, heavier and look more like the American pit bull.

Staffies are friendly, but also tend to love a challenge. While these dogs aren’t aggressive, they don’t back down if they feel another dog is picking a fight. To avoid any issues, any Staffy -or a mix- should be properly socialized and trained in recall.

Considering its two parent breeds, the Kelpie x Staffy mix is a loyal dog that enjoys being active and spending time with family. However, the Kelpie and the Staffy have very different social traits, since the Staffy loves to welcome people and doesn’t mind being the centre of attention. Because of that, it’s not possible to know whether your new mixed puppy will be outgoing or not. A good rule of thumb, even if you’re adopting a purebred puppy, is meeting its parents. While part of a dog’s behaviour is based on its socialization, some of its natural tendencies and character come from its parents.

Overall, a Kelpie Staffy crossbreed pup will tend to be affectionate, active and smart. Because of it, we’re giving this mix 5 out of 5 stars.

Good with Kids 4/5

As we’ve mentioned before, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known for being great with kids and a lovable family dog. Because of it, any of its crosses also tend to be affectionate and generally patient, even with little grabby hands!

After being properly socialized, your Kelpie x Staffy dog will probably be loyal and patient with kids. Socialization is key with all dogs, but especially if you want yours to constantly face loud, unexpected situations like running kids, other dogs and new people.

The herding dog in your Kelpie Staffy mix makes it a great playmate for kids but can also develop mouthiness if you don’t pay close attention. Mouthiness among herding dogs is very common, because they need to use their teeth to move cattle around. However, in a home setting mouthiness can frighten kids and exacerbate common misbehaviour like chasing moving bikes or cars.

If you’re a new dog owner, it’s important to distinguish between general mouthiness and actual aggression. Simply put, a mouthy dog will use their mouth to communicate. This means trying to grab your hand with their mouth to lead you, nipping at your feet, or chasing kids and nipping at them. In general, nipping will very rarely draw blood and is very brief. In contrast, aggression and actual biting is accompanied by other physical cues. These include growling, showing teeth, showing anxious and focused behaviour or an aggressive stance.

Both Kelpies and Staffies are well-tempered dogs, so aggressiveness is uncommon. However, to prevent mouthiness or excessive herding behaviour, socialization should be a priority. To do this, slowly expose your dog to unknown situations in a controlled environment. Make sure every experience is positive and reinforce these feelings by offering treats and praise whenever your dog stays calm. The key is making sure your pup understands there’s nothing to worry about.

Once properly socialized, your Staffy Kelpie mix will make a great companion for kids of all ages. Because of it, we’re giving this crossbreed 4 out of 5 stars.

Good with Other Dogs and People 4/5

Both Kelpies and Staffies are well-mannered and, like in the item above, you’ll probably have no issues once properly socialized. However, keep in mind these two breeds have very different attitudes towards strangers. If you expect your dog to go with you to large social gatherings, this is something to consider.

For starters, Kelpies were bred to work independently or with very few people. While this breed isn’t shy, they prefer the company of a small group of people and other animals. In general, they don’t love being in the spotlight. As such, a Kelpie will tend to stay back and oversee the situation, instead of mingling with the group. Kelpies make friends slowly and take their time when meeting new people.

In contrast, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very people friendly. They enjoy having rubs and praise, even from strangers, and love making new friends. Your mixed puppy might get more traits from one parent or the other, so it’s important to be prepared for both outcomes.

When it comes to introducing your Staffy Kelpie crossbreed to other pets, keep in mind their herding instincts. Running small pets can be triggering for kelpie mixes if your dog isn’t properly socialized. To avoid it, introduce other small animals when your dog is young, or just let the pets get to know each other in a controlled setting.

PRO TIP: The Staffy is considered a pit bull-type dog by most authorities. While this isn’t an issue most of the time, you might find it difficult to do air travel with your dog since some carriers don’t allow the breed even in cargo. Australian authorities don’t consider the Staffy a restricted dog [1], so they don’t need to be muzzled in public. However, a Kelpie Staffy cross might face issues with these laws especially if they look more like a Staffy or pit bull than a kelpie.

Remember the Staffy in your new pup makes your dog brave, so try to limit contact with outwardly dominating dogs. To avoid fights, it’s important to keep an eye out for any physical cues when meeting unknown dogs.

Since the two parent breeds tend to be generally friendly and tolerant of other dogs, we’re giving this crossbreed 4 out of 5 stars.

Exercise Needs 5/5

This is no surprise, but any Kelpie Staffy mix will need a lot of exercise to be happy. Considering the working past of the Kelpie, and the bull-baiting origin of the Staffordshire, of course this crossbreed needs long walks!

As a rule of thumb, you should offer structured sessions every day. This can look like long walks around the neighbourhood, playing at the dog park, running with you or even agility training.

Overall, the best option for the Staffy x Kelpie is something that will be both physically and mentally challenging.

If you don’t offer enough exercise, your dog can become destructive, mouthy and even aggressive. A bored working dog won’t be a good family pet! Of course, every dog is different, so change up your exercise schedule according to their needs. Some pups do great with one walk a day; others need at least two. Finding a playmate in the dog park, or having several dogs in the house, can offer enough exercise for some. It’s important to understand your dog’s needs and see how they do.

Because of it, this crossbreed is better suited for an active family that enjoys the outdoors. We’re giving the Kelpie Staffy mix 5 out of 5 stars.

Intelligence & Trainability 5/5

Both Kelpies and Staffies are very smart dogs, so training is generally easy. Of course, with smarts come a few challenges. For example, your dog might get bored faster whenever lessons start getting too repetitive. Keep them engaged and interested by showing them new tricks that are mentally challenging. This could be accomplished either through complex obedience lessons, or even agility training.

Given the two parent breeds are muscular and agile, your Kelpie Staffy cross could have a lot of fun training in circuits. Plus, it’s a great way to get in some much-needed exercise as well.

Because of their smarts, these dogs are nowadays more common as service or working dogs in urban contexts. Kelpies can be trained as police or sight dogs, and Staffies do well as anxiety companions and hospital service dogs.

Grooming 5/5

Overall, this crossbreed is easy to take care of. While you won’t be sure about the specific coat your crossbreed puppy will inherit, both the Kelpie and the Staffordshire terrier are easy to groom.

The Kelpie, for instance, has a soft, medium-length coat made to handle every weather. They have an undercoat, which sheds throughout the year and especially in spring. But besides the shedding, you’ll only need to brush once or twice a week.

In contrast, Staffies have short, dense hair with different possible colours. Staffies tend to be either one single colour or brindled. Overall, both breeds are easy to care for and, besides brushing, will only need their nails trimmed and ears cleaned once in a while.

However, your mixed pup can have the double coat of the Kelpie or the short hair of the Staffy. If you want to minimise the loose hair in your home, a crossbreed pup might not be the best option. Since you won’t know which parent your puppy takes after, you won’t be able to know whether or not they will shed a lot.

Health Issues 3/5

Like other working breeds, both the Kelpie and the Staffy are healthy breeds. Because of their utilitarian past, they were bred without very many health issues. However, the rise of breeding for pet purposes has limited their genetic pool and caused some conditions to appear more frequently.

For example, Kelpies are prone to cerebellar degeneration, also known as ataxia. This is an inherited brain condition that slowly kills cerebellum cells. In turn, this causes motor skills problems and eventually, death. Unfortunately, there are no genetic tests available to prevent litters with this condition. This is a recessive disease, meaning both parents have to have the faulty gene in order for pups to have it. Currently, only a biopsy can effectively diagnose the condition and dogs are euthanised to prevent suffering.

On the other hand, Staffies are also generally healthy but have a tendency to certain eye conditions. Hereditary cataracts are one of the main issues with this breed. Allergies also tend to be a problem, and vets think the causes might be genetic.

Of course, the two parents should also be tested for common, non-dangerous conditions like patella luxation and hip dysplasia.

Because of the slight health issues that might affect this crossbreed, we’re taking off 2 stars.


Is the Staffy Cross Kelpie Good for Apartment Living?

They could be, but only if you offer plenty of outdoor exercise. If you have an apartment, it’s important to consider both the size and needs of your prospective puppy.

Size-wise, the kelpie and the Staffy are one the small side of medium, so they could fit well in a bigger flat. However, these are both very active breeds, and you need to provide sufficient walk and playtime to keep their energy in check. If you want your new dog to go out with you every day, and don’t plan on leaving them alone for hours, having a Kelpie cross Staffy in an apartment is feasible.

However, if you want to be away for most of the day and don’t particularly enjoy outdoor walks year-round, this is probably not the right choice.


Adopting A Kelpie Cross Staffy Puppy

staffy cross kelpie mix puppy

Since this is a very new crossbreed, most litters happen by chance. In fact, it might be very difficult to find a Kelpie cross Staffy puppy in your area. However, if you’re sure this is the right choice for your family, there might be other options. Local breeders and rescue groups might know about an upcoming mixed litter, or even know about available puppies. Breed clubs and associations have an updated list with registered breeders that might be able to help. Here’s a small list of resources:


Kelpie Staffy Rescue and Fostering

Kelpies and Staffies are among the dogs most frequently abandoned according to the RSPCA [2]. Because of their very specific exercise needs, and the socialization they should go through, many families abandon their pups very young.

Adopting a Kelpie Staffy mix is a great way to offer a second chance to a pup. Plus, an older dog is easier to place because its personality is already visible. That way, you can be sure it’s the right fit for your family. To find a mixed puppy, check out your local RSPCA and rescues. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction:


Final Thoughts

If you want a pup that will keep up with your active lifestyle, then a Kelpie cross Staffy might be the right choice. Considering its gentle disposition and loyal nature, this is a dog that will fit perfectly with caring owners looking for an everyday companion. While first-time owners might have a harder time with training, this could be a great breed for outdoor lovers.

Want to learn more about Kelpie or Staffy mix breeds? Check out the below:

References
  1. Prohibited cat and dog breeds in Australia. https://www.petraveller.com.au/blog/prohibited-dog-and-cat-breeds-in-australia
  2. Staffies and kelpies leading the turnover at the RSPCA.  https://the-riotact.com/staffies-and-kelpies-leading-the-turnover-at-the-rspca/10253
  3. Walden, Lisa (2 May 2019). "Staffies And Westies Have Been Revealed As The Most Affectionate Dog Breeds". Country Living. Retrieved 12 July 2019
  4. Tuahene, Shekina (18 April 2019). "EUKANUBA survey reveals lifetime of love between owner and dog". Pet Gazette. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
The Australian Kelpie

The Kelpie (2021 Breed Profile)

The Australian Kelpie Dog -
Ultimate Breed Profile

Vital Stats

Dog breed group

Foundation Stock Service (AKC), Herding Dog Group (UKC)

Height

40 cm to 34 cm tall

Weight

13 to 25 kgs

Life span

10 to 13 years

The Australian kelpie is a medium-sized pup famous for its herding ability. Nowadays, more families are adopting kelpies as pets, but is this breed a good fit for you? In today’s article we cover everything you need to know before taking in a kelpie puppy.


The Australian Kelpie Overview

Australian Kelpie resting


Australian Kelpie Temperament & Personality

Good With Kids & Other People

Good With Dogs & Other Pets

Exercise Needs

Kelpie Intelligence & Trainability

Kelpie Shedding & Grooming 

Health 

Apartment Living 

Australian Kelpie Temperament & Personality 4/5

The kelpie comes from a strong line of working dogs, bred to handle sheep over large expanses of land without reprieve from the sun. Because of it, kelpies are known for their energy and physical abilities. According to the Working Kelpie Council:

"There is little question that the Kelpie is an Australian version of the short and/or smooth coated 'Working Collie'" – WKC, About the kelpie [1]

Considering their strong collie inheritance, it’s no wonder these active, hardworking dogs share many personality traits with other collie-type dogs. This means Australian kelpies are alert, friendly and smart. While these pups show a seemingly never-ending stream of energy, they also know when to relax and stay back. A well-trained, socialized kelpie is good-tempered and isn’t aggressive, even in challenging situations.

Kelpies were bred to work sheep and cattle without a lot of supervision. Because of it, this breed tends to be independent. However, they are also loyal dogs that enjoy working and spending time with their owners. Today, kelpies are bred as working dogs. However, because of their good looks and good temper, they’re progressively becoming more common as house pets. If y you want to adopt a kelpie, keep in mind they don’t like staying alone for hours on end. While independent, they enjoy working as a team with their handler. Nowadays, this can mean going with you to run errands, bringing your dog to work, or even going on long walks throughout the day if you usually work from home.

Personality-wise, these dogs are great for adventurous families that love the outdoors. Kelpies enjoy physical challenges and won’t shy away in new surroundings. On the flip side, this isn’t a particularly social breed. They tend to like smaller groups rather than large crowds and will stay alert and away from strangers.

Because of their wariness when it comes to strangers but overall good-tempered nature, we’re taking off 1 star.

Good With Kids & Other People 4/5

This breed is loyal and friendly and can make a great companion to children of all ages. However, it’s important to keep in mind this is primarily a working dog, so you’ll have to retrain their natural instincts to keep them out of trouble. Kelpies aren’t aggressive but tend to herd children and other moving targets -like small pets or bikes- when not properly socialized and entertained. This can lead to mouthiness.

Kelpies were bred to muster cattle and keep them close to the farmer. As a pet, this behaviour tends to shine through when children are running around and playing. If your kelpie isn’t highly de-sensitized to loud kids playing or bikes passing by, they’ll try to muster them and keep them close. While in itself this isn’t a huge issue, herding dogs use their teeth to make sure the cattle -or in this case, your children- follow instructions.

Mouthiness can be a serious issue with pet working dogs, and a kelpie might even draw a bit of blood from scratching the skin. Whether you have young kids or not, if you plan on having a kelpie as a family pet it’s important to socialize them enough so running children, bikes and motorcycles won’t put them in herding mode.

PRO TIP: Discourage mouthiness by offering a better option whenever your pup starts using their teeth. Tell them a firm ‘no’, and then let them chew on a toy. Slowly they’ll understand they shouldn’t use their teeth to guide people around.

Even for well-trained kelpies, it might be difficult to be constantly exposed to shrieks, running and other loud noises that come with having children. If you have young kiddos and are positive a kelpie is the best fit for your family, make sure to offer the dog a safe place where they can get away from the noise and calm their senses. This is also the case if you intend to bring your dog to social gatherings with large crowds. These are sensitive dogs, and without some quiet time for themselves, kelpies can be over-stimulated and excitable. In turn, this makes it more difficult for them to follow orders.

On the other hand, it’s important to note an adult or responsible older teen will have to be a kelpie’s main handler. All working dogs have a strong sense of hierarchy, and adults can offer the positive reinforcement and timely corrections needed to raise a friendly, well-adjusted dog. Younger kids can spend time with kelpies playing or reading to them but shouldn’t be expected to take on their care. Kelpies can be hard to train for first-time dog owners since they need positive reinforcement, consistent discipline and don’t do well with punishment.

Considering kelpies can make great playmates for kids, we’re giving the breed 4 out 5 stars in this category.

Good With Dogs & Other Pets 4/5

This breed is generally friendly towards other dogs, especially if they’ve grown up together. Overall, kelpies aren’t at all aggressive and any such traits are strongly discouraged among breeders. In fact, being so active, kelpies enjoy having other dogs for rough play and running. If you have the choice, having a dog of a similar size or larger is the best option when choosing a playmate for a kelpie.

Kelpies can also get along with other house pets like cats and other small animals, but it’s best if they get accustomed to one another while the kelpie is still a puppy. In those early stages, puppies absorb every bit of information around them. As such, if you introduce them to the house cat and they learn to cuddle instead of chasing them, your kelpie will remember that throughout their life. However, keep in mind the natural instincts of the breed before adopting one.

Herding is the same prey drive wolves and lions have but modified. This means herding can be triggered by moving targets, loud noises and visual stimuli. As a kelpie owner, it’s on you to get your dog used to city noises, but also keep an eye out for their physical cues.

If your dog is properly trained, socialized and trusts your guidance, their prey drive will be manageable. In turn, they’ll be able to tolerate unfamiliar dogs and noises around them, without going into herding mode.

An untrained kelpie can be hard to control and might not be able to tolerate living with smaller animals without herding them. If left unattended and without proper exercise, a bored kelpie can start to herd and eventually chase smaller animals. Keep other pets and wildlife safe by training and socializing your kelpie dog.

Given kelpies are well-mannered but need proper socialization to get accustomed to other animals, we’re taking off 1 star.

Exercise Needs 5/5

Considering this is a herding breed, it’s no surprise kelpies are remarkably active, agile dogs. As pets, this means they’re better fitted for families that enjoy outdoor time and don’t mind offering long walks on a daily basis.

On top of walks, jogging and outside play, it’s important to keep their mind engaged as well. This can involve mixing obedience sessions in your exercise time, or doing an activity that forces them to think, like puzzles. As mentioned by the American kennel club:

"[for Australian kelpies] a good jog or long workout combined with the mental exercise of obedience lessons should be done daily" – Australian kelpie Breed Standard, American Kennel Club [5]

Ideally, you should offer your kelpie the possibility of working cattle, even if only occasionally. This will keep their senses sharp and help burn off their energy. If this isn’t possible, mentally challenging training, like agility or complex tricks, might also help.

If you would love to have a companion for your outdoor adventures, this might be the breed for you. However, if you can’t keep up with their physical demands, choose a dog that would rather stay in most of the time.

Kelpie Intelligence & Trainability 4/5

Herding dogs like the kelpie are among the smartest breeds, because their job requires them to work independently and solve problems on the go. Their smarts make them great companions. However, it can also make training more challenging, especially if you don’t have a lot of dog training experience.

These dogs need both physical and mental stimulation to be happy. They will do best with a consistent exercise schedule, and a routine that challenges their intelligence. Since this breed loves to learn and please their owners, they enjoy short training sessions and quickly understand what you need. Because they are so sensitive, training should be reward-based and positive, focusing on reinforcing good behaviour. Harsh tone of voice or punishment can have a negative effect and cause your kelpie to become anxious or aggressive. As a rule of thumb, whenever you start to get tired, it’s time to stop the session. This will keep training fun and positive for both of you.

When training your kelpie puppy, patience is key. Since the breed was selected to think independently, they tend to follow orders on their own terms. This might be frustrating, but it’s what makes this breed unique! In general, it’s important to make sure they understand what’s needed of them and choose your battles. To convince a kelpie to do it ‘your way’, you might have to do some light bribing with snacks. A pet kelpie should be especially trained in recall, so they come back whenever you need them to.

Pro tip. The kelpie isn’t officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, so you won’t be able to enrol them in official show competitions. Keep this in mind if you want to show your kelpie. However, both the United Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club do recognize it and allow them to compete in shows.

Considering this is a smart, well-behaved dog that needs a patient owner, we’re giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

Kelpie Shedding & Grooming 4/5

These dogs are soft-coated, with medium-length hair and an overall athletic look. The shorter hair, especially compared to other collies, makes grooming a little easier. However, keep in mind kelpies are double-coated, meaning they shed throughout the year. Plus, you should also expect a shedding season, usually around spring or when temperatures start to rise.

To keep their skin in good health, schedule a thorough brushing once or twice per week. This will get rid of most of the loose hair and limit everyday shedding. However, there’s no way to completely avoid dog hair from sticking to all surfaces in your home. If keeping a hair-free house is important, a double-coated dog like the kelpie might not be ideal for you.

Besides brushing, the kelpie is a relatively low-maintenance dog without special needs. It’s important to keep their nails clipped and ears clean, but other than that you should have no issues.

We’re taking off 1 star in this category because of the shedding.

Health 4/5

Because of their working past, kelpies are generally strong, healthy dogs. However, there are some genetic conditions that can affect this breed more often than others. One of these is cerebellar degeneration, also called ataxia. This is an inherited brain condition that causes the death of cerebellum cells, a section of the brain in charge of coordinated movements, among other things.

Ataxia is a recessive disease, meaning it happens when two parents with the gene -but without symptoms- breed a litter.

While dogs with the disease have a shorter lifespan, the specifics consequences depend on every dog. In its initial stages, dogs show lack of coordination and poor decision-making skills [4]. However, since this is a degenerative disease, it gets progressively worse. Eventually, your pup might need help eating, going to the bathroom, and moving. There is no therapeutic treatment for this condition, and many puppies with early signs are humanely euthanized to prevent suffering.

To diagnose this disease, experts are currently trying to create a DNA test for breeders and owners. A private veterinary testing group in Australia is currently the only place where ataxia genetic testing is possible. Your vet will also be able to diagnose this condition through an MRI, but for the time being a cerebellum biopsy is the only way to be completely sure.

On top of ataxia, kelpies are also prone to other less severe conditions common among dogs this size. These include patella luxation and hip dysplasia. Generally, responsible breeders will offer orthopaedic testing to prove a pup’s parents are healthy and won’t pass on these issues.

PRO TIP: Stay away of breeders claiming their dogs are ‘100% healthy’ and this breed ‘doesn’t have any health issues, so they don’t test for them’. These bold statements point at their lack of understanding about the breed and show they only want to sell you a puppy. A responsible breeder will tell you the pros and cons of the breed and let you know of the tests the parents have undergone.

Apartment Living 2/5

The kelpie is a working dog, so apartment living is generally not a good option. On the other hand, this breed needs a balanced environment to develop their best traits, meaning they do best with scheduled physical and mental stimulation, as well as some quiet time to wind down and relax.

In general, the small confines of an apartment aren’t the best options for this kind of active dog. however, if you work outside the home and intend to bring your dog with you, it’s possible to have a kelpie inside an apartment.

Considering you’ll have to compromise and possibly modify your lifestyle to keep this breed in an apartment, we’re taking off 3 stars.


Where To Find A Kelpie Puppy

Kelpie mother with puppy

If you’re interested in adopting a kelpie puppy, finding a registered breeder is your best option. A good breeder will help you make sure this is the right dog for you and solve any questions you might have. When meeting a breeder, be upfront about your needs and doubts. Choosing a breeder, you’re also choosing a lifelong support for your future dog, so make sure you get a good feeling from them.

Plus, even if a breeder doesn’t have any litters coming up, they might be able to point you in the right direction. To find one near you, contact your local kelpie club or association. They generally have an updated list of registered breeders and will be able to guide you. Here are some clubs you might want to check out:


Rescuing An Australian Kelpie

Since this is such a demanding breed, it’s very common for pups to get abandoned or sent back to the breeder. While the kelpie makes a great family dog, they have very specific needs that not everyone is willing to accommodate.

As such, kelpie rescues are generally overflown with abandoned dogs that weren’t properly trained, socialized or exercised as much as they needed. Rescuing a kelpie puppy or adult dog is a great way of getting the breed you want, without going to a breeder.

In Australia there are several working dog rescues, as well as breed-specific centres, where you can find a rescue kelpie up to adoption. In fact, Carey Edwards, president of the Australian Working Dog Rescue, states kelpies make around 70% of their rescues because they’re so easily abandoned [3]. Going to a traditional RSPCA adoption centre is also a great way to find your next best friend.

If you’re interested in offering a second chance to a pup, there are several groups where you can find a kelpie up for adoption. Here’s a non-exhaustive list:


Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about Australian kelpies, you can make an informed decision before adding one to your family. Is this the right dog for you? If you enjoy the outdoors, plan to bring your dog with you most days, and have experience training dogs, a kelpie could be a good fit. Keep in mind this breed can be challenging for new owners, so having patience and an open mind is key. We hope your new life as a kelpie owner is full of adventures!

Interested in learning about Kelpie Cross Breeds? Check out the below breed profiles:

FAQ

Are kelpies related to dingoes?

Not really.


Australian dingoes and kelpies look alike, so for decades people thought kelpies were the result of crossing dingoes and British collies. But a 2015 study [2] showed that in fact, kelpies aren’t at all related to dingoes, and their heritage comes exclusively from collie-type dogs. This study mentioned that the outer similarities could have been caused by abandoned farm dogs -including kelpies- mixing with local dingo populations.

What colours can kelpies come in?

While red kelpies are the most iconic coat colour because of the ‘red dog’ film, kelpies have different coat shades. Of course, there’s red, which is a very light tan colour, as well as brown, black, grey and its combinations.

One thing to keep in mind is that two parents of the same shade can have ‘rainbow puppies’, meaning their offspring can have very different colours from their parents.

References
  1. Working kelpie club. About the kelpie. Available here.
  2. Courtney Fowler. June 27 2019, ABC News. Kelpie DNA study unravels mysterious origins of Australian working dog, but finds no dingo. https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-06-28/kelpie-study-finds-no-detectable-dingo-dna/11250106
  3. Kate Hill. January 9, 2019. ABC News. Kelpie lovers beware, your own Red Dog comes with hard work. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-10/red-dog-not-suitable-for-everyone/8172568
  4. Degeneration of the Cerebellum of the Brain in Dogs. PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/neurological/c_dg_cerebellar_degeneration_brain_disease_in_dogs
  5. Australian kelpie Breed Standard. American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/australian-kelpie/
Kelpie & Border Collie Mix

The Border Collie X Kelpie (2021 Breed Profile)

The Border Collie x Kelpie -
A Working Dog Breed Profile

Are you considering getting a Border Collie cross puppy? Then the Border Collie Kelpie cross might be right for you. This mix is an active, lively dog with lots of energy to work and play. If that sounds like your cup of tea, here’s what you should!


Vital Stats - Kelpie x Border Collie

Vital Stats

Dog breed group

Herding

Height

Around 50 cm, depending on the parents

Weight

14-21 kg

Lifespan

10-17 years


Border Collie X Kelpie: A Little Backstory

Border Collie & Kelpie Mix

This furry pup is a relatively new crossbreed, but its ancestors go way back. In fact, both Border Collies and Kelpies descend from collie type herding dogs brought to Australia in the late nineteenth century.

At the time, Australia and New Zealand were starting to open up their lands to farmers, and properties spanned hundreds of acres. In that context, the sheep and wool industry needed hardworking dogs that could handle thousands of sheep on their own.

The early Border Collie was developed by shepherds in Wales and England, later imported into Australia to handle cattle.

On the other hand, using collie-type dogs from England and wales -including the Border Collie-, several working dogs were developed to handle herding in large areas under the harsh Australian sun. By the early twentieth century, farmers started to favour certain types of dogs that would eventually be established as distinct breeds.

The Kelpie was one of those dogs developed to handle sheep on their own. Nowadays, this breed is mainly used as a working dog in the cattle industry. Some Kelpies also perform in obedience and agility, as well as herding competitions.

In this light, the Border Collie Kelpie cross comes from a strong line of herding dogs. Because of that, they have good work disposition and could generally do a good job herding and guarding cattle.


The Border Collie Kelpie Cross

Now that we’ve covered where this lovable pup comes from, let’s dive deep into what makes it unique. It’s important to remember that this is a rare cross with no dedicated breeders, so its characteristics come from the merging of its two parent breeds.


Border Collie x Kelpie Temperament and personality

Child friendliness

Friendliness towards dogs and other pets

Exercise needs

Intelligence and Trainability

Grooming

Health issues

Border Collie x Kelpie Temperament & Personality 4/5

Considering its Border Collie and Kelpie heritage, the Kelpie x Border Collie mix is generally a gentle, mild-tempered dog with a good disposition. To understand what you’re getting into, let’s look at its parent breeds:

Border Collies are fast, alert dogs that enjoy pleasing their owners. Because of their herding heritage, they can easily work independently but will also follow orders without issue. These hardworking pups love to have a set schedule and tasks, especially if they involve working alongside their owner. After decades of breeding, Border Collies are recognised as the best herding dogs for almost any job.

On the flip side, Border Collies are highly sensitive to their surroundings and might get overwhelmed easily if they are in a busy space. While this breed is never shy, they can act aloof and wary towards strangers, until their handler lets them know they’re safe. Border Collies are affectionate and enjoy cuddling, but only as a treat after a stimulating day of work!

Then we have the Kelpie. Also known as Australian Kelpie, these dogs were specifically selected to herd sheep on their own, without getting feedback from shepherds. This means Kelpies enjoy challenges and working independently. However, they are also fiercely loyal dogs that want to please their owners and enjoy praise after a job well done.

On the other hand, this breed tends to like smaller groups of people instead of large gatherings. Like Border Collies, Kelpies don’t shy away from unknown situations but aren’t outwardly outgoing. In general, a Kelpie that isn’t sure about its surroundings will stay on the outskirts of the action until they have assessed everything that’s going on.

As you can see, both of these breeds are friendly and affectionate with their families but would rather stay away from large groups of people and noisy situations. The Border Collie Kelpie mix follows after those footsteps and will stay reserved in unknown situations while enjoying the challenges that come with a working life. In general, this mix is used as a herding dog, but has also been known to act as scent and rescue dog with the police, or as dedicated agility competitors.

Since this crossbreed is friendly but somewhat wary of strangers, we’re taking off 1 star.

Child Friendliness 4/5

Considering the friendly attitude of both parent breeds, this pup has generally a positive attitude towards children. The Kelpie cross Border Collie tends to be affectionate, especially once it’s been properly socialised. This is key if you want a well-behaved dog that won’t get easily overwhelmed.

To ensure your dog can handle children well, it’s important to offer socialisation opportunities during puppyhood. According to the American veterinary association, socialisation is

PRO TIP: "the process of preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities" – Socialization for Dogs and Cats [2]

This means you’ll gradually expose your pup to new situations until they feel secure and safe. The more you do this, the easier it will be for them to handle the outside world. In general, you’ll want to expose your puppy to the kind of stimuli they’ll encounter in their future daily life. For example, if you have young kids, their first interactions together need to be supervised to ensure it’s a positive experience for everyone.

If you have calm children or older teens, a Border Collie Kelpie cross will be a good companion for their outdoor activities, and they might even be great helpers in their training. However, keep in mind an adult will generally have to be their main handler, especially if the children aren’t experienced dog owners. Once this crossbreed is socialized and used to the sounds of an active family, they’ll enjoy spending time with kids, take care of them and cuddle with them.

In contrast, if your dog isn’t accustomed to kids, their herding instincts will kick in as soon as they run near them. You’ll want to avoid tapping into those instincts since herding small children involves nipping, running and general stress for the kids. To keep this from happening, slowly introduce your dog to kids and train them to have a strong recall.

We’re taking off 1 star because in general an adult will have to be the dog’s main handler and you need to keep an eye out for running children, but other than that this is a great breed for families.

Dog & Animal Friendliness 3/5

Both Border Collies and Kelpies are friendly towards other dogs. In general, these active breeds thoroughly enjoy having another four-legged buddy to play with and get their energy out. However, when choosing the Kelpie cross Border Collie, it’s important to consider the strong herding instincts of both its parent breeds.

A Border Collie Kelpie mix will tend to herd anything that runs, including kids and house pets like cats and small dogs. If you want your dog to be a family pet, it’s important to learn to manage those herding instincts and control this crossbreed’s mouthiness.

Since herding comes from a very modified prey drive, it’s spurred by any moving target. As their owner, you need to redirect your dog’s attention whenever they have the visual stimuli of running kids, dogs or cars.

You can lower your chances of dealing with herding issues if your crossbreed puppy meets the family pets during puppyhood. If your Border Collie Kelpie cross grows up with cats, kids and small dogs, they will generally not consider them prey.

Of course, you still need to reinforce their recall training and avoid risky situations. Plus, even if your dog doesn’t go after the family cat doesn’t mean they will stay calm around unknown cats. As a herding dog owner, it’s key to avoid risky situations and understand your dog’s physical cues to prevent accidents from happening. Remember you will be trying to get this dog to go against its natural instincts, so this will be a lifelong commitment. Check the trainability section for some pointers about these issues.

Because of their strong herding instincts, we’re taking off 2 stars.

Exercise Needs 5/5

Considering both parent breeds were raised to be hardworking herding dogs, it’s no surprise the Border Collie x Kelpie mix needs a lot of active time to be happy.

If you’re looking for a companion dog for a sedentary lifestyle, this isn’t the breed for you. But if you want a pup that will enjoy going on long walks with you and share your love for the outdoors, this crossbreed might be the right choice.

A Border Collie X Kelpie puppy needs at least one long walk a day to keep them fit and healthy. They will also enjoy shorter walks and training sessions that will help them stay sharp throughout their life.

If you’re not a jogger yourself or can’t dedicate enough time to outdoor play, consider finding a dog buddy. Playing with other dogs will generally burn your pup’s energy and tire them out so they come home to sleep.

We’re giving this crossbreed 5 out of 5 in this category.

Intelligence & Trainability 4/5

The Border Collie is known as one of the smartest dogs ever, while the Kelpie isn’t too far back. Because of its parents, you can expect your Kelpie Border Collie cross to be smart and easy to train.

While both of the parent breeds are working dogs, it’s important to note the Kelpie was selected to be more independent and work without a shepherd. This is a great feature when herding large amounts of sheep, but it could also make training as a house pet more difficult for Kelpies and their crossbreeds. The independent streak in Kelpies means they need some convincing, so they understand what’s needed of them, and that they should follow your cues.

During training, you’ll have to do some gentle bribing and occasionally let this strong-willed dog do things on their terms. They will understand what your goal is, and then do it using what they consider is the more efficient method. Only focus on harsh obedience if it’s something important, like recall. In other instances, let them do it their way!

With these breeds and their crosses, it’s especially important to focus on positive reinforcement training. These dogs are extremely sensitive to their owner’s moods and don’t take well to violence or mistreatment. As an owner, you need to foster a loving, respectful relationship with your dog that reassures them and makes them feel secure.

In general, this crossbreed is easy to train if you have the patience to let them understand what you want them to do. Because of their independence and smarts, we’re giving this dog 4 out of 5 in this category.

Grooming 4/5

When it comes to grooming, you won’t know your new puppy’s needs until they’ve grown to be at least a year old, sometimes two. This is because Border Collies and Kelpies have very different coat textures and grooming needs.

On the one hand, we have Border Collies. These dogs can have anything from medium-length to relatively short hair, depending on the line and the breeder. It’s important to note most short-haired Border Collies are exclusively bred from working lines for work purposes, so you might have a hard time finding one to adopt as a pet. If you do manage to adopt a short hair Border Collie, remember that specific pup has probably been bred selectively as a herding dog and will show those traits even stronger than a collie bred as a pet.

In contrast, Australian Kelpies have short, dense hair that keeps them protected from the elements.

A Border Collie x Kelpie puppy can inherit the medium-length coat of the Border Collie or the short hair of the Kelpie. In some cases, it’ll have both and look slightly raggedy all the time. Unfortunately, you won’t know in which category your new pup falls until they’re at least a year old.

While this might not be an aesthetic concern, coat length is an important consideration if you’d rather have less dog hair to clean up. The two parent breeds of your mixed pup have a double coat, meaning they’ll shed year-round and it will get worse in the spring. However, longer hair is more noticeable on furniture, so you might want to avoid that.

This crossbreed will need one good brushing a week, and constant clean up to keep your home fur-free. Besides the shedding issue, this dog doesn’t have any special grooming needs beyond hygiene and nail clipping.

We’re taking off 1 star because of the shedding.

Health Issues 4/5

Border Collie cross Kelpies have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years and generally strong dogs.

Since this crossbreed comes from two working dogs, you can expect them to be healthy throughout their life. Of course, like other dogs of this size, there are some issues you need to be aware of:

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Seizures
  • Eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy and collie eye anomaly
  • Patella luxation

Other serious genetic conditions can appear among Border Collies and Kelpies, but these are very rare and tend to show symptoms within the few first weeks of life.

On a final note, keep in mind Australian Kelpies and other working dogs are more prone to obesity than other breeds [3]. Your puppy might inherit these traits, so you need to be especially careful with their diet.

PRO TIP: if you’re getting your Kelpie cross from a breeder, ask them to provide negative genetic tests for collie eye anomaly, as well as a vet’s assessment on the parent’s eye health.

Because of the possibility of serious inherited diseases due to their collie genetic pool, we’re taking off 1 star. 


Are Border Collie Kelpie Dogs Apartment-Friendly?

In general, this isn’t a dog that will do good in an apartment. Because of their medium-to-large size and very active nature, these pups need enough space to run around and get their energy out.

If you commit to providing ample time every day for your dog to go out, play and train, apartment living might be feasible. This is also an option if you plan to take your dog with you to work, where they’ll have the chance to be mentally stimulated.

In all other cases, or if you’d rather have the possibility to leave your dog at home, choose another breed. Both Border Collies and Kelpies need daily mental and physical stimulation to be happy, or they risk becoming bored, misbehaving and eventually destroying your belongings out of boredom. Keep this in mind before choosing this crossbreed!


Adopting A Border Collie Kelpie Puppy

Since this is a rare crossbreed, Border Collie Kelpie puppies tend to happen by mistake. This makes them very difficult to find, particularly since you won’t encounter breeders dedicated solely to them.

Despite this, you might get lucky talking to either Border Collie or Kelpie breeders. They might have an unexpected litter coming their way! Here are some Australian breeders that might help you out:


Kelpie Border Collie Rescue and Fostering

Another option to adopt a Kelpie Border Collie cross is through a rescue. Visiting your local RSPCA and asking for news about this mix might help you find your new pup. But you’ll likely have more luck looking into local rescues dedicated exclusively to Border Collies and Kelpies. In general, they’ll know if there are any Border Collie Kelpie dogs looking for a home. Here are some rescues you can visit:


Final Thoughts

This furry cross breed might be a great choice if you’re looking for an active and loyal pup that can go on runs around town and loves to learn new tricks. Because of their lively spirit and good-natured character, these are great companions to older children, provided an adult takes charge of their training.

While this dog can be a handful for inexperienced owners, training and sharing your life with a Border Collie Kelpie cross can be an exciting adventure for the right family. We hope you have enough info to decide if this is the right choice for you!

Interested in learning about more Border Collie or Kelpie cross breeds? Check out the below:

References
  1. The trouble with designer dogs. Chicago tribune editors. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2008-07-23-0807230782-story.html 
  2. Socialization for dogs and cats. American Veterinary Medical Association. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/socialization-dogs-and-cats
  3. McGreevy, P. D., Thomson, P. C., Pride, C., Fawcett, A., Grassi, T., & Jones, B. (2005). Prevalence of obesity in dogs examined by Australian veterinary practices and the risk factors involved. Veterinary Record, 156(22), 695-702.
The Border Collie

The Border Collie (2021 Breed Profile)

The Border Collie - Breed Profile

Vital Stats

Dog breed group

Herding dog group

Height

53 cm for males, around 50 cm for females.

Weight

14-20 kg for males, 12-19 kg for females.

Life span

12-15 years

Are you interested in adopting a smart Border Collie? If you’re still don’t know if this is the right breed for you, we’ve got you covered. Our experts reviewed everything you need to know about this popular breed.

Border Collies are talented working dogs, bred as shepherds in the United States, and later in Australia and New Zealand. These athletic pups have a dense, medium coat and usually sport black and white markings.


The Border Collie Guide

Border Collie lying down

Other Stats

Temperament and personality

Child Friendliness

Dog Friendly

Exercise Needs

Intelligence

Trainability

Grooming

Border Collie Temperament & Personality 4/5

The typical black and white Border Collie has been a staple at agility competitions for decades. But to know if this is the right dog for you, you need to understand their temperament.

Most Border Collies are very affectionate and enjoy spending time with their owners, especially in a work environment. However, this breed takes some time to get to know new people and doesn’t particularly enjoy being around strangers. While a properly socialised Border Collie won’t be scared, aggressive or shy, they’ll act reserved towards strangers and stay alert in case of danger.

They are also bred to be highly sensitive to noise and sight stimuli in order to watch sheep from afar. But in urban settings full of people, their good vision tends to make public places overly stimulating. Because of this, if you want to take your dog to the park or the restaurant to meet friends, this might not be the right choice.

In spite of their initial wariness, Border Collies won’t be aggressive towards visitors and, once you let them know they are friends, they’ll welcome your guests and try to get them to play.

Border Collie Child Friendliness 3/5

Border Collies love kids, especially since they can keep up with their playful energy. This breed tends to be friendly, and because of it they might have a harder time with small children. Toddlers and babies can be wobbly on their feet, and a playful border could be too boisterous for them and make them fall unintentionally. In contrast, older children and teens are the perfect companion and can even take part in their training.

If you have young kids of your own, or you want your Border Collie to be around kids, the main thing you need to watch out for is nipping.

Border Collies tend to be "mouthy" because of their strong herding instincts. As a working dog, this breed would use their teeth to guide sheep and cattle around. It’s important to recognise this is very different behaviour than actual biting due to aggressiveness.

Nipping, characteristic of herding dogs, involves only the front teeth, will last a couple seconds at most, and usually won’t draw blood. This behaviour is usually spurred by a running target like children, bikes or other small animals. If you want your border to be well received in public, mouth training is key. Discourage biting whenever possible and avoid playing games that involve chasing-and-biting, even if it’s playful. A dog that nips a child, even if it doesn’t draw blood, might get in trouble with the authorities! In fact, according to Australian law, if your dog attacks a person, you’re liable as its owner [6]. Of course, Border Collies aren’t aggressive, but apprehensive parents might see the issue differently.

PRO TIP: work on discouraging your Border Collie’s prey drive as soon as they start showing it. If left to their own devices, Border Collies tend to chase after everything that moves, including kids, bikes, motorcycles and cars. This is dangerous behaviour, especially if the dog will be around children who can get scared! Redirect prey drive by training a strong recall and offering attractive rewards whenever they come back to you.

It’s important to mention that while this breed can be very affectionate toward kids, they aren’t the right choice if you want a dog for your kids. With a Border Collie, you -the adult- have to be their leader and their main trainer. This breed needs to feel confident in your leadership, or they’ll try to handle the situation by themselves. Children and most teenagers don’t always have the resources or experience needed to be that leader for a strong-willed dog like the Border Collie. If you want this breed and have kids, ownership can be a great learning experience so when they’re older, they’ll know how to properly train and care for a dog.

While this is a kid-friendly breed, we’re taking off 2 stars because they can be too boisterous for small children and need to have an adult as their main handler.

Border Collie Dog Friendliness 4/5

As we have already mentioned, this isn’t an aggressive breed. In fact, Border Collies thoroughly enjoy having other dogs and animals to play with and get their energy out. However, when it comes to making friends with other dogs, we need to go over their herding instincts again.

While medium to large dogs don’t pose an issue, you might find some troubles when trying to introduce a Border Collie to small and toy-sized dogs. This breed tends to want to play-herd smaller animals, including dogs. Confident dogs, no matter the size, will stand up for themselves and your border pup will soon see them as equals. But if you have a skittish and small dog, they’ll have a harder time dealing with the herding instincts of a Border Collie.

To avoid this, it’s important to train your dog to avoid nipping, and if possible, introduce an older dog to a young Border Collie puppy. This way, they’ll establish a hierarchy early on and the Border Collie won’t chase around the smaller dog. If this isn’t possible, try to introduce the new dog slowly and always have supervised playtime to avoid issues in the beginning.

Since this breed is very friendly towards other dogs, but you need to be mindful when introducing small animals to them, we’re giving the Border Collie 4 out of 5 stars.

Border Collie Exercise Needs 5/5

This isn’t a breed for sedentary people. As a working dog, Border Collies were bred to have a lot of energy and stamina. These dogs need at least 3 long walks a week, and one or two short ones a day. It’s best if exercise is done in a natural setting, were your dog can smell and run without being overly stimulated by cars, lights and loud sounds.

Many joggers turn to this breed because they can keep up with that type of exercise schedule and enjoy the structured training it offers.

However, keep in mind Border Collies don’t know when to stop. Because of the nature of herding, these dogs were bred to stay working until the shepherd told them the workday was over. But as a home pet with no strict work schedule, it’s on you to keep your dog both entertained and safe.

A Border Collie will keep playing up until their bodies can’t move because for them even "play" is work [7]. It’s on you to know when it’s time to stop and rest because they won’t know if it’s enough.

On the other hand, even if it’s common to hear that Border Collies need constant activity, this shouldn’t be thought of as exercise alone. This breed needs more mental than physical stimuli: running on a treadmill won’t be enough to keep their mind busy.

Because of that, successful Border Collie owners tap into their dog’s smarts to stimulate them. This can be achieved through dog puzzles that they need to solve in order to get food out or training for agility.

Since this is a very active breed, we’re giving the Border Collie 5 out 5 in this category.

Border Collie Intelligence 5/5

Border Collies are recognised for their wits and work ethic. In fact, this is such a key feature of the breed that the American Kennel Club breed standard mentions:

PRO TIP: "The Border Collie is extremely intelligent, with its keen, alert expression being a very important characteristic of the breed." – American Kennel Club. Border Collie breed standard

These smart pups are always learning and enjoy pleasing their owners. This can make basic training very fast, but also challenging for new dog owners.

Their wits can also make training and correcting behaviour more difficult. These pups are so smart that sometimes only one repetition is all they need to learn. While this is great when you’re teaching them recall, it’s not so good when you -inevitably- slip up. Then, after just one time where they got what they wa