What breed of sheep dog to buy?

5 posts

Member for

8 years 9 months
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/01/2011 - 10:46

What breed of sheep dog to buy?

Hi, I'm thinking about getting a couple of sheep dogs, does anyone know what breed I should get (or keep away from?)

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 09/22/2011 - 21:04

In a hotter climate, the long haired border collies are not as suitable for a working dog as the shorter haired kelpies. My neighbour who has a hobby farm close to where I live used to have a border collie (long haired). It didn't work very well during the hotter months and got a lot of clover burr caught in its coat. They ended up trimming the coat as it kept getting matted. My other neighbour has kelpies and he is very happy with them, they have a good temperament, are loyal and obedient.

I have heard some people say that the red and blue cattle dogs are very aggressive, this may be a generalisation. Has anyone had experience with these?

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

There are short haired Border Collies and these are used extensively in inland Queensland on cattle as well as sheep. The Border Collies used for cattle are genetically selected for ‘hard bighting’ and I have actually witnessed a large Brahman bull, who was defying the dog, brought to his knees. The dog waited  his chance, leapt forward, grabbed the bull by the nose and had him on his knees in two seconds flat. A good border Collie will run all day, even in the heat.   

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 12/06/2011 - 16:08

I'm assuming that you have sheep to handle with the dogs?

Unless they are already trained, I suggest that you only get one and learn to work the sheep with the one dog first. I have always had border collies, but kelpies are from the same origin and wonderful workers too.

Coolies are sometimes used for sheep. Other breeds are generally used for specialised situations.

Blue heelers are unsuitable.

To buy a pup, contact a local breeder who can show you at least one of the parents working. They should be able to help you with more information,... in particular how to train the dog. I like to choose a pup by clapping. An eight week old pup will show itself as suitable by pricking up its ears and looking at you with interest. It might even run over and say G'day. Avoid the pup that cringes and hides.

It is a joy to have a working relationship with a sheepdog... and they can make great pets. Good luck.

Last seen: 01/12/2020 - 21:19
Joined: 09/23/2011 - 16:27

I have just purchased a kelpie and am about to start training him. Unfortunately it hasn't been a great start for me. The dog came from a sheep property and when I saw him in the back of the owners ute he was quiet and dobedient - with two other dogs. He was handled by the owners wife/girlfriend and showed no fear etc. I was assured he had shown interest in the yards and working with older dogs (one of nine on the farm). When I got him home I found he was lousy with worms and unbelievably timid - thought it was the change of scenery. After a month he is only just starting to come good - for the first three weeks he would only respond to my wife. He is still very wary of any males and is unbelievably timid; showing signs of being beaten as a pup.

The lesson from my experience - use a reputable breeder. Having said that I'm glad we were able to rescue this dog from what was likely to be a poor life at the hands of his previous owner.

What I have found though, despite his fear of males, is that he is intelligent and willing to learn. He definitely has a natural instinct in relation to sheep - now just have to train him to do what I want before letting him go on the sheep. Before I can I need to get him to come to me reliably - no issue for my wife; just a little more time needed for me.


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