Not everyone can handle a kelpie and an experienced breeder has a message for those who just want a playful pet.
- Greta West kelpie breeder warns kelpies do not make great pets
- Breeder says interest in kelpies has risen following Red Dog and Muster Dogs shows
- Kelpies need mental stimulation as much as physical
Studmaster Bill Scott has spent more than 60 years working sheep and cattle dogs, and he firmly believed kelpies were not for everyone.
He said interest in the breed had grown following the popular ABC reality show, Muster Dogs.
“After the film Red Dog everybody wanted a pet Red Dog, and it’s already happening again with this [TV] program,” he said.
Based in Greta West in north east Victoria, Mr Scott oversees up to five kelpie litters a year at Stockmans Working Kelpies, with the pups heading across Australia and even overseas to take on working roles.
Few of them end up as pets despite increasing demand.
“99 per cent of mine go as working dogs, it’s very rare for me to sell one as a pet,” he said.
“The only people I have sold pups to as pets are people who have had kelpies recently and done the right thing by them.
Even those that do end up with working roles need the right care and stimulation.
“There’s some bloodlines of kelpies that will just never, ever be suitable as pets, they’re just too work orientated and not people orientated.
“I’ve seen dogs that are bored even not getting enough work, they’re on farms but they’ll work ants.
“They do need their brain stimulated and they need work.”
Physically and mentally fit
Another misconception Mr Scott found was that working dogs simply need lots of exercise.
He said mental training was just as important as physical.
“If you don’t work their brain and you only get them physically fit, you leave them alone and they go and dig holes in the garden and wreck things and aren’t very happy.”
And while Mr Scott loved his dogs, who he said do not ever ask for more than a pet and a feed, he cautioned it takes much more than a year to create a champion muster dog.
“[They’re] still nowhere near a finished dog in 12 months.”