How Long Do Kelpies Live? (Kelpie Lifespan)

Popularly known as the best dog to survive Australia’s harsh climate, the Australian Kelpie is an excellent dog for an active family.

Initially, the Australian Kelpie is a herding dog with an independent, intelligent, and energetic personality.

Their primary role was to herd livestock, especially sheep, goats, and cattle, all day in the hot Australian climate.

To date, the Kelpie possesses the same qualities. As a result, they are among the most famous herding dogs in Australia and the United States.

One of the most common and hardest questions Kelpie owners ask is ‘How long do Kelpies live.’

This insightful article will look at the life expectancy of the Australian Kelpie and possible health complications its owners should know.


How Long Do Kelpies Live?

Australian Kelpie by Ellen Levy (CC BY-SA 3.0)

We all know that dogs cannot live with us forever. So, Kelpie owners need to understand their average lifespan and the complications that may develop at old age.

The Kelpie is a medium-sized dog with an average weight of 11-20 kgs and an average height ranging from 43-51cms.

According to the US Breed Survey, the average life expectancy of the Australian Kelpie ranges between 11-14 years.

However, some dogs live an additional three years than expected.

Various factors affect the lifespan of this dog breed. Often, aging in dogs depends on their weight, breed type, physical health, physical ability, and diet, among others.

It is worth mentioning that Kelpies require plenty of physical and mental stimulation since they are an energetic breed.

Their stamina and endurance do not allow them to sit pretty in an apartment waiting for their owners.

Thus, if you live an active lifestyle, the Kelpie is an ideal companion.

Whether it is going hiking, running, jogging, or even just playing in the yard, these dogs enjoy a working and active role.

They will also perform any task given happily, but an ignored or bored Kelpie often acts out and indulges in destructive behavior.

For this reason, it is not advisable to adopt a Kelpie if you are a first-time dog parent.

What Health Problems Do Kelpies Have?

Generally, Kelpies are a healthy and agile dog breed. But just like other dog breeds, they suffer from various health conditions, especially when they are old.

While searching to adopt a Kelpie, it is essential to consider getting an offer for its health guarantee.

A good dog breeder ensures that you are aware of the common health issues that run in the genes of your preferred dog.

They should also enlighten you on the precautions followed while breeding the dog. Additionally, they should advise you on the preferred preventative health plan for your dog.

Thus, you should be cautious about whom you buy your Australian Kelpie from, preferably a registered dog breeder.

Many health problems associated with Kelpies are genetic, meaning they are only specific to their breed.

However, it does not mean that your Kelpie is going to suffer from these health issues. It simply means that they have a higher risk to suffer from them than other dogs.

5 Of The Most Common Health Problems Among Australian Kelpies

Hip Dysplasia

An inherited health condition that results in the hip bone-forming improperly, often leading to arthritis.

Common symptoms of this disease include the dog experiencing difficulty when waking up or lameness in their hind legs.

Patella luxation (knee problems)

This is a health condition that occurs when the dog’s kneecap (patellar) slips out of its sockets.

It is a mild condition, fixable when the dog kicks its legs out sideways to pop the kneecap back in.

It often involves just one leg, but the problem can be severe and require surgery.

Cerebellar Abiotrophy

A genetic neurologic disease that often affects dogs from early puppyhood. Affected dogs begin to show symptoms from the age of 6-16 weeks.

Common symptoms include the dog becomes uncoordinated and losing a sense of distance and space.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This is a genetic disease that involves the dog losing its eyesight. Australian Kelpies are more likely than other dogs to suffer from this condition.

It is vital to note that it is not a painful disease, and neither is it curable.

Common symptoms include dilated pupils or night blindness, which begins anywhere around three to five years of age.


This is when a male Kelpie’s one or both testicles do not drop into the scrotum.

The condition is often present at birth as the testicles remain in the abdomen, causing more complicated health issues later in life.

Adult dogs with this condition are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

What Do Kelpies Die From?


According to the 2012 National Pet Insurance Industry review, 27% of all dogs, including Kelpies, die from cancer at old age.

Various types of cancer can affect different organs in a dog. Its manifestations include growth or tumor, enlarged lymph nodes, wounds that do not heal, abnormal bleeding, and even swelling.

Earlier detection of cancerous symptoms helps in the management of the disease.


Another common health condition known to affect Kelpies drastically is obesity.

It is pretty alluring to feed your dog any food, especially when they look at you with their soulful eyes as you eat.

However, all dog parents should know that such foods increase their chances of being obese.

This serious condition can lead to further problems related to heart disease, back pain, and digestive or metabolic disorders.

It may also cause or worsen joint problems.


If you are looking for a medium-sized dog that loves attention, enjoys working, and thrives on being active, the Kelpie is the ideal canine companion for you.

They are the perfect breed for a family that wants a dog to include in their daily lifestyle.

Due to their impressively high IQ, Kelpies are relatively easy to train, especially when they have a strict, competent, and confident instructor.

Now that you have the answer to ‘how long do Kelpies live,’ you can make an informed decision before adopting it.

If you are a Kelpie parent already, make sure you take your dog for regular checks and common vaccines at your local veterinarian.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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