The Kelpie

kelpie-copyFollowing the recent Australian launch of the Aeroprakt A22LS Kelpie, I received the following from Adrian Norman, of Cleveland Bay Aviation, near Townsville in north Queensland, one of our Foxbat Australia associates:

“The ancestors of the Kelpie were simply (black) dogs, called Colleys or Collies. The word “collie” has the same root as “coal” and “collier (ship)”. Some of these collies were imported to Australia for stock work in the early 19th century, and were bred to other types of dogs (possibly including the occasional Australian Dingo), but always with an eye to working sheep without direct supervision. Today’s Collie breeds were not formed until about 10 or 15 years after the Kelpie was established as a breed, with the first official Border Collie not brought to Australia until after Federation in 1901.

Kelpies are partly descended from Dingos, with 3–4% of their genes coming from this native Australian Dog. At the time of the origin of the Kelpie breed, it was illegal to keep dingoes as pets, some dingo owners registered their animals as Kelpies or Kelpie crosses. Kelpies and dingoes are similar in conformation and colouring. There is no doubt that some people have deliberately mated dingoes to their Kelpies, and some opinion holds that the best dilution is 1/16–1/32, but that 1/2 and 1/4 will work. As the Dingo has been regarded as a savage sheep-killer since the first European settlement of Australia, few will admit to the mating practice.

The first “Kelpie” was a black and tan female pup with floppy ears bought by Jack Gleeson in about 1872 from a litter born on Warrock Station near Casterton, owned by George Robertson, a Scot. This dog was named kelpie after the mythological shape shifting water spirit of Celtic folklore. Legend has it that this “Kelpie” was sired by a dingo, but there is little evidence for or against this. In later years she was referred to as “(Gleeson’s) Kelpie”, to differentiate her from “(King’s) Kelpie”, her daughter.”

So now you know!

 

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