Breed standard

The first breed standard of Australian Kelpie was written in 1902 by Robert Kalinski. The Standard of Australian Kelpie was adopted by the ANKC, effective from 1st January 1963.  The FCI recognized the Australian Kelpie in 1973, and the FCI standard is based on the ANKC Standard. 

FCI Breed Standard
Breed standards (PDF)
Dog breed Australian Kelpie
FCI-classification FCI-Standard N° 293
Group 1 (Sheepdogs and Cattledogs, except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1, with working trial
Origin / Utilization Australia / Sheepdog
General appearance The general appearance shall be that of a lithe, active dog of great quality, showing hard muscular condition combined with great suppleness of limb and conveying the capability of untiring work.It must be free from any suggestion of weediness.
Important proportions The length of the dog from the forechest, in a straight line to the buttocks, is greater than the height at the withers, as 10 is to 9.
Temperament The Kelpie is extremely alert, eager and highly intelligent, with a mild, tractable disposition and an almost inexhaustible energy, with marked loyalty and devotion to duty. It has a natural instinct and aptitude in working of sheep, both in open country and in the yard. Any defect of structure or temperament foreign to a working dog must be regarded as uncharacteristic.
Head The head is in proportion to the size of the dog. The overall shape and contours produce a rather fox like expression, which is softened by the almond-shaped eyes.
Cranial region Skull: Slightly rounded and broad between the ears. The forehead running in a straight profile towards the stop.
Stop: Pronounced.
Facial region Nose: The colour conforms to that of the body coat.
Muzzle: Cleanly chiselled and defined, preferably slightly shorter in length than the skull.
Lips: Tight and clean, free from looseness.
Jaws/Teeth: The teeth should be sound, strong and evenly spaced, the lower incisors just behind but touching the upper; that is a scissor bite.
Cheeks: Neither coarse nor prominent, but round to the foreface.
Eyes: The eyes are almond shaped, of medium size, clearly defined at the corners, and show an intelligent and eager expression. The colour of the eyes to be brown, harmonising with the colour of the coat. In the case of blue dogs a lighter coloured eye is permissible.
Ears: The ears are pricked and running to a fine point at the tips, the leather fine but strong at the base, set wide apart on the skull and inclining outwards, slightly curved on the outer edge and of moderate size. The inside of the ears are well furnished with hair.
Neck The neck is of moderate length, strong, slightly arched, gradually moulding into the shoulders, free from throatiness and showing a fair amount of ruff.
Body Topline: Firm, level.
Loins: Strong and well muscled. Flanks of good depth.
Croup: Rather long and sloping.
Chest: Deep, muscular and moderately broad. Ribs well sprung and carried well back, not barrel ribbed.
Tail The tail during rest should hang in a very slight curve.During movement of excitement it may be raised, but under no circumstances should the tail be carried past a vertical line drawn through the root. It should be furnished with a good brush.Set on a position to blend with sloping croup, and it should reach approximately to the hock.
Forequarters General appearance: The forelegs should be muscular with strong but refined bone, straight and parallel when viewed from the front.
Shoulder: Clean, muscular, well sloping with the shoulder-blades close set at the withers.
Upperarm: Should be at a right angle with the shoulder-blade.
Elbow: Neither in nor out.
Metacarpus (Pastern): When viewed from the side, the pasterns should show a slight slope to ensure flexibility of movement and the ability to turn quickly.
Forefeet: The feet should be round, strong, deep in pads, with close knit well arched toes and strong, short nails.
Hindquarters General appearance: Should show breadth and strength. When viewed from behind, the hind legs, from the hocks to the feet, are straight and placed parallel, neither close nor too wide apart.
Stifle (Knee): Well turned.
Hock joint: Fairly well let down.
Hind feet: The feet should be round, strong, deep in pads, with close knit well arched toes and strong short nails.
Gait / Movement To produce the almost limitless stamina demanded of a working sheepdog in wide open spaces, the kelpie must be perfectly sound, both in construction and movement. Movement should be free and tireless and the dog must have the ability to turn suddenly at speed. When trotting the feet tend to come closer together at ground level as speed increases, but when the dog comes to rest it stands four square.
Coat Hair: The coat is a double coat with a short dense undercoat. The outer coat is close, each hair straight, hard and lying flat, so that it is rain-resisting. Under the body, to behind the legs, the coat is longer and forms near the thigh a mild form of breeching. On the head (including the inside of the ears), to the front of the legs and feet, the hair is short. Along the neck it is longer and thicker forming a ruff. The tail should be furnished with a good brush. A coat either too long or too short is a fault. As an average, the hairs on the body should be from 2 to 3 cms in length.
Colour: Black, black and tan, red, red and tan, fawn, chocolate, and smoke blue.
Size Males: 46 to 51 cms
Females: 43 to 48 cms
Faults Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work.
Severe faults Loose shoulders. Any tendency of cow- or bow hocked. Weaving or plating movement. Movement that is restricted or shows stiltedness.
Disqualifying faults Aggressive or overly shy dogs.Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.The latest amendments are in bold characters.