Australian kelpies hard at work. Photo: The Australian kelpie is famed as a working dog. (ABC News)
by Tim Lee
The Australian kelpie is acclaimed as the best all-round stock dog in the world, but the breed’s origins have long been shrouded in mystery — now a new book claims to have found some vital answers to its ancestry, including proof of a dash of dingo in its DNA.
Key points: The New book points to dingo DNA from Fraser Island and the mainland in the Australian kelpie Author Bill Robertson said dingo genes came about in late 1870s, when one mated with a collie, the association is more than coincidental.
Renowned for its boundless energy, speed, tenacity and supreme ability to herd and move stock, Australia’s most famed working dog owes some of its qualities to Australia’s native dog.
The kelpie, proclaimed an official dog breed in 1905, is widely acknowledged to derive from Scottish collies bred at Warrock Station near Casterton in western Victoria in the late 1870s.
Today the breed is found everywhere — from sheep country in the dusty outback to the frozen wastes of the Arctic where it is used to herd reindeer.
Some historians go as far as to say that without the kelpie, sheep flocks could never have inhabited vast tracts of Australia’s harsh inland and the nation’s ride to prosperity through wool might never have happened.
Former champion shearer Bill Robertson claims to have uncovered the real story behind the origins of the working dog.
It has long been rumoured that the original kelpies were developed by interbreeding Scottish collies with the dingo.