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Which will prove easier to train, and which will make the better sheepdog in the end, Australian Kelpie Red or Border Collie Mossie?
Working Kelpie sheepdogs are now in common use throughout the UK and there’s a healthy debate over which makes the best sheepdog. To shed some light on the matter for ourselves, we decided to train a Kelpie along with a Border Collie
Before we could start our informal (and somewhat haphazard) training comparison between a Kelpie and a Border Collie, we wanted to find a Kelpie puppy with a similar high work drive to our home bred pup Mossie.
This blog was intended to record my personal experiences of training my first-ever Kelpie, alongside a Border Collie. It includes the highs and lows of my emotions, and should definitely NOT be seen as either an endorsement, or a condemnation of Kelpie sheepdogs. Properly trained, Kelpies can make very good sheep or cattle dogs.
We chose Red because he’s from excellent working parents. Red was born on a farm in Brecon (South Wales, UK) in mid April 2010. Both his parents work daily on the farm. One of ten puppies in the litter, Red was the last pup to leave the farm after being kept back as a possible replacement sheepdog.
Red has an extremely high drive. He travelled home perfectly during the 100 minute journey, sleeping most of the time. Obviously, when he arrived, he was a little cautious but still playful and with good appetite.
When introduced to the other (17) dogs, he was keen to play but a little worried when another dog rushed towards him. He quickly learned to climb onto the picnic table and use it as a refuge.
When the dogs were put away for the night, Red was not happy. He barked constantly, knocked his feed and water bowls over and attempted to climb over the retaining mesh in his pen.
Eventually the din stopped, so we went to check that he was OK before leaving him for the night. As soon as his pen door opened a tiny bit, Red tried repeatedly to barge out and became noisy again. He was obviously perfectly alright (if a little upset) so we left him overnight. There was some barking for a while but Red soon settled down and we were surprised to be able to enjoy a peaceful first night.
Red is nice dog, we like him. He’s very determined to get his way, especially when it comes to sheep but he’s showing signs of being a quick learner.
Mossie was born on the 29th January 2010 here at Kings Green Farm. Her parents are our own working sheepdogs, Jill and Eli – two of our favourite dogs with wonderful temperaments and a tremendous work drive. Eli in particular is extremely kind to other dogs and puppies.
Mossie’s a survivor of a dreadful accident. For some reason, her mother (Jill) loves to carry heavy objects around so with safety in mind, when her last litter was born we put a very heavy concrete water bowl in her pen. Lactating bitches need plenty of clean water but unfortunately, the bowl wasn’t heavy enough. The day after the puppies were born, Jill somehow carried the bowl into the bedding area and dropped it on her puppies.
Only two of the eight pups survived. One was promised to a conservationist in the south of England. The other is Mossie.
Mossie’s parents Jill and Eli, are all there when it comes to being tough. Eli’s only a youngster himself but he’s been hard to train because of his determination. Even from a young puppy, Eli would get in amongst the sheep at the slightest opportunity. Now, he’s developing into a superb sheepdog.
From the day she started to crawl around, Mossie convinced us she was not just your ordinary pup. Very tough in all respects but likeable and eager to please. She’s always determined to be where the action is.
Mossie’s a lovely pup. We’re very fond of her. Despite being strong willed and quite often noisy (like her dad) she’s a quick learner and should make an excellent, powerful sheepdog.