Australian Koolie Dog Breed: Facts, Traits, Character and Look

Australian Koolie Dog Breed_ Facts, Traits, Character and Look
Height: 15 to 24 inches tall
Weight: 33 to 55 pounds
Lifespan: 16-18 years
Colors: Solid Black, Red/Chocolate, Black & White, Red & White, and Tri-Colored
Suitable for: Families, Kids, Working, and Therapy
Temperament: Patient, Loyal, Sensitive, and Reserved
More Australian Koolie Details: Read below↓

The Australian Koolie is a high-energy medium-sized herding dog. The Koolie originated in the 19th century in Australia and was one of the breeds used to develop the Australian Cattle Dog breed and the Australian Kelpie. Other names for this breed include German Koolie, Coulie, and the German Collie.

The Australian Koolie, like the majority of herding dogs, has an intense drive and a powerful work ethic, one that can’t be denied. These dogs will herd anything from sheep, cattle, goats, horses, buffalo, fowl, and bulls, including other people and pets. While its inherent friendliness keeps this breed from being much of a guard dog, its attentiveness and intelligence make it an excellent watchdog.

The female Koolie delivers four to six pups after a 60 day pregnancy period once per year. The Australian Koolie’s lifespan is 16 to 18 years. Many people use the abbreviated name Koolie when referring to this Australian herding dog that stands 15 to 24 inches at the withers and weighs between 33 and 53 pounds.

Choosing a name for your Australian Koolie involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Koolie’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but as far as your canine companion goes, only the sound matters. Australian Koolies respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Koolie pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name-ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Koolie will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Australian Koolie. Below is a list of suggestions of names inspired by your Koolie’s country of origin. 

Australian Koolie Puppy Names 

Girls

Boys

Marley

Milla

Digger

Archie

Sienna

Isla

Dingo

Aussie

Pippa

Dusty

Boomerang

Wallaby

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What is the History of the Australian Koolie?

The Australian Koolie’s ancestors were the Black and Tan Collie and the smooth-coated blue merle Collie. A strong reminder of the Heeler dog, the Koolie, is thought to have got its name from German immigrants to Australia who couldn’t pronounce the word ‘collie’ correctly, so the name came out as Koolie. The Koolie of today is a product of a cross between the German Koolie and the Australian Dingo.

However, no reputable records on the origins of the Australian Koolie exist, and there are dozens of variations on the story of their roots. Records will at least be available from 2000 onward because the Koolie Club of Australia was formed. Furthermore, the Australian Sporting Registrar Recognized the Koolie in 2004, and the Stockdog Committee of the Australian Shepherd Club of America accepted the Koolie as a recognized and accepted herding breed.

What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Australian Koolies?

Australian Koolies are extremely intelligent, and they have no problem picking up on just about any set task, always eager to impress. They are equally capable of adapting to family life, including kids, other pets, guests and adults of all ages. All this has made the Australian Koolies sought-after working and companion dogs in their home country.

Australian Koolies

Characteristics

Temperament

Australian Koolies are patient and dedicated. These dogs are equally committed to their work and their owners, offering stamina and skill along with devotion and loyalty. Often mistaken as shy or timid, Koolies can seem reserved around strangers. The breed is not aggressive but can demonstrate dominance.

Their natural herding instincts can make Koolies eager to control animals and children. These bundles of energy do best in active homes where owners understand their need for regular, high-intensity physical activity.

Adaptability Level

Koolies adapt well to lifestyle changes and different living environments. They don’t mind moving from one place to another with their owner, and they are excellent working dogs that can adapt to all terrains and weather conditions.

Sensitivity Level

Australian Koolies are slightly more sensitive than other dog breeds, and soft punishment affects them emotionally. Positive reinforcement in this breed works far better than punishment or harsh words, as they can be particularly sensitive to criticism.

Affection Level

Koolies are genuinely loyal, soft and gentle, loving and affectionate dogs toward their handlers. Despite the activity, they enjoy quality time with their owners and are considered great therapy dogs for those in need. This breed responds strongly to their handler’s emotions because they bond closely. Their happiness is your happiness.

Overall Friendliness

He is active, energetic, fun, clever, friendly and playful, but if you have him trained and socialized, he becomes even more of a great family pet. He is intelligent and will require a steady, firm, fair, and consistent owner. You wouldn’t call him an aggressive dog.

Kid-Friendly 

Koolies are intelligent, loyal, and loving dogs that make wonderful family pets when socialized from a young age. They can get along well with children if raised around them but should be supervised to protect smaller household members such as cats or rodents.

Children should always be supervised with dogs, even when they are family, and they should be trained on how to interact with animals to avoid incidents. Socializing Australian Koolies early and teaching them to interact with new people and animals will help, and the earlier training begins, the better.

Pet-Friendly

Koolies are energetic, hardy, playful, hard-working pets who get along with children, other dogs, cats, and other pets.

Exercise Needs

The Australian Koolie is a highly energetic breed. They were initially bred to work and run on farms all day, and their exercise requirements reflect that heritage. If you live in an apartment or a crowded city, getting the Australian Koolie as much exercise as they need may be challenging. The Australian Koolie needs vigorous daily exercise unless you live somewhere with a lot of space for them to roam and run. Another thing to remember is that Australian Koolies will not do well if they spend a lot of time kenneled or crated due to their energy level and desire to be included in family life.

Playfulness Level

Australian Koolie herders love to play with children and go for long hikes when not working. Keep plenty of toys available when you cannot devote time to them, or they can become destructive in your home. Being a Koolie with an innate herding instinct, they require a sturdy fence to keep them from trying to herd vehicles, bicycles or neighborhood children. Early socialization will make them more accepting of new situations and people. The Australian Koolie is not dog-aggressive and should do well in a home with multiple dogs.

Energy Levels

Australian Koolies are never happy to be idle; instead, they must spend excessive energy. Inactive lifestyles can cause boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior. If your Australian Koolie no longer works on a farm, you must ensure your furry friend has enough space to run and play to spend energy. Vigorous walks, taking your Australian Koolie as a jogging, cycling or skateboarding companion will provide enough exercise to ensure a calm canine for the rest of the day, instead of looking for something to destroy out of pure boredom.

Trainability Level

Developed as a farm dog, the Australian Koolie is bright and highly trainable. These dogs can be trained for herding and livestock guarding, though they also make great family pets. This breed will bond closely with its owner, so positive reinforcement training is highly effective. Keep in mind that these dogs may be prone to destructive behaviors if not properly exercised or left alone too long.

Intelligence Level

Members of the Australian Koolie breed are very intelligent herding dogs which means they need a firm, consistent owner. Boredom and loneliness can easily lead to destructive or nuisance behavior. If you have the time to devote to them, they will desire to please you and training gains will come quickly.

Barking Tendency

Australian Koolie dogs communicate both through vocal and non-vocal means. True to their dog nature, they bark loudly when they perceive a threat and warn everybody within reach. However, their barking is not excessive.

What are the Physical Traits of the Australian Koolie?

Koolies are strong, agile dogs with well-muscled bodies and free, tireless gaits. Like other active herding breeds, Koolies have deep chests, muscular loins and shoulders, and well-furnished tails that hang in a slight curve to blend with a rounded, sloping rump. Their height and weight will vary hugely, but a general rule is that they will weigh between 33 and 53 pounds and be roughly 15 to 24 inches tall.

Australian Koolies are a double-coated breed with a short, dense, rain-resistant undercoat and a close, flat outer coat. While some Koolies have short, smooth hair, others can have medium or long hair. The breed comes in many colors, including solid black, red/chocolate, black and white, red and white, and tri-colored solid red or black with white markings and brown points. They can also have a grey, black, red/chocolate or white undercoat with large splashes of dark colorings, including red/chocolate for red merles or black and grey for blue merles.

It is typical for their nose and eye color to reflect their coat color, i.e., a black-furred dog will also have a black nose and dark eyes. Their triangular ears are usually floppy but stand erect when the dog is concentrating. 

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Australian Koolies?

Australian Koolies are popular in the United States. The prices of Australian Koolies range between $500 to $2,500. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price will typically be based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Australian Koolie.

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Australian Koolie and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, spaying or neutering, etc. You can expect to spend about $3,000 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $1,700 a year. 

The typical annual costs of having a medium-sized canine such as an Australian Koolie, food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $650. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Australian Koolie are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would not affect the maintenance costs because Australian Koolies are low maintenance, and their coat is easy to groom and maintain. You want to give him a good brush twice a week to get rid of loose hair, as Australian Koolies are moderate shedders.

The Australian Koolie does not tend to drool excessively; in fact, the breed hardly ever drools. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. The Australian Koolie has a moderate risk of obesity, especially if working dogs become house pets with insufficient exercise. Daily walks should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with premium quality dry dog food and live an active life together.

What is the best diet for Australian Koolies?

Your dog’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Australian Koolie’s diet on a medium breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages.

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as their Australian Koolies grow. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Australian Koolie from the table; all it does is add weight. Instead, follow the advice below to ensure your Australian Koolie friend’s optimal health.

What is the best dog food for Australian Koolies? Since Koolies often have sensitivities to chemicals like herbicides in their dog food, which can cause allergic reactions, Koolie owners should consider organic dog food. The potential benefits of an organic diet for your dog or cat include a reduction of allergies and itchy skin, reduced digestion problems, and better health overall.

Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Organic Senior Recipe. Although it is geared towards senior dogs, its glucosamine and chondroitin content will keep a super active Koolie’s joints moving so they can enjoy optimal life-long health. And since this product is USDA-certified organic, it’s free from synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. So you and your Koolie will no longer have to worry as much about irritating, chemical-related allergies.

Australian Koolie puppy’s portion depends on age, but 2 to 3 cups are appropriate. In contrast, an active, healthy adult Australian Koolie should have 3 to 4 cups, depending on the brand and formula of the food. Feeding Australian Koolies several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

A premium dry dog food should form the basis of your Koolie’s diet. You can add variety by supplementing this food with fresh meat, bones, cooked eggs, canned wet dog food and even fruits and vegetables, but keep these additions to no more than 10 percent of the dog’s daily diet. 

Below is a list of what to look for in the dry dog food formula when choosing the best nutrition for your Australian Koolie.

  • Lasting energy providers: Dog food made with premium meats like chicken, duck, turkey, beef, lamb, salmon and novel proteins like venison, bison, buffalo and wild boar. Fiber-rich carbs and highly digestible proteins keep your Koolie feeling energized and full throughout the day.
  • Ingredients for better health: Food that includes powerful superfoods like tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries, along with their immune-boosting properties.
  • Optimizing Nutrient Absorption: Recipes with chelated minerals promote mineral attachment to proteins for maximized absorption during the digestive process.
  • Immune System Support: Formulas with prebiotics and species-specific probiotics with bacteria that are naturally found in a dog’s GI tract.
  • Perfectly Balanced Omegas: Contains just the correct dose of fatty acids, marine-sourced omega-3 and omega-6 from plant sources.

When Australian Koolies are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Orijen for active breeds is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should an Australian Koolie Puppy Eat? 

The Australian Koolie is a medium-sized breed whose pups under 12 weeks should get four bowls of food per day. When Koolie puppies become three months old, owners can feed them three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Australian Koolie puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for medium-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Australian Koolie should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times over two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • Australian Koolies with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar are the exceptions because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the common health problems of Australian Koolies?

It is not unheard of for an Australian Koolie to live until 17 or 18 in good health, and for a dog of its size, this is quite remarkable. Koolies are widely recognized as a healthy and hardy breed, a trait likely due to their large gene pool and the fact that they were never intensively inbred.

It once was common for Koolies to have one or two blue eyes but since the DNA discovery linking blue eyes in Koolie to the merle gene, which creates blind/deaf pups, improved safer breeding practices with the encouraged merle to solid mating for the health of the breed and not the looks.

It is now well recognized that breeding two Merle-coloured dogs together is likely to result in a high incidence of deafness, blindness and even death within the litters produced. Pups born to these parents are often called ‘double merles’ or ‘lethal whites.’ Due to this increased risk, Merle dogs should never knowingly be bred to other Merle dogs.

The Australian Koolie is a healthy breed, but regular veterinarian checkups remain essential. The following list of health conditions should be monitored:

  • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Australian Koolie puppies grow. It is caused by loose joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the Koolie grows and becomes heavier. Although it could start in puppyhood, it usually only becomes evident in adult dogs, making annual medical examinations crucial.
  • Elbow Dysplasia is the most common cause of lameness in the forelimbs of active breeds like the Australian Koolie.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or Gastric Torsion, also known as ‘bloat.’ a life-threatening disorder that happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention.
  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is a disorder caused by incomplete development of the eye. The severity of the anomaly ranges from no apparent visual defect to total blindness. A board-certified Ophthalmologist can easily be checked when the puppies are 6-8 weeks old.
  • Allergies are a common ailment in Australian Koolies. They are especially sensitive to chemicals and herbicides in some foods. However, along with food allergies, herbicides can also cause contact allergies caused by treated plants the Koolie may touch. Also, inhalant allergies if your Koolie moves about where herbicides are sprayed and carried in the air they breathe.
  • Muscle strains and injuries happen to any dog that works for a living. The Australian Koolie will have a higher chance of developing injuries over their lifetime than will companion animals or show dogs. Most commonly, they will be seen at a veterinary clinic for lacerations, claw injuries, soft tissue injuries and fractures.

What are the nutritional needs of Australian Koolies?

The nutritional needs of an Australian Koolie include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Koolie are listed below.

  • Protein: Australian Koolies need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids they contain essential for a Koolie’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Australian Koolie’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Australian Koolies need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Australian Koolie sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Australian Koolie puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Koolies by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Australian Koolie Koolie.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Australian Koolies are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for an Australian Koolie’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Koolies.

Where to Buy or Adopt an Australian Koolie?

Though Australian Koolies are mostly similar, different breeders specialize in various working abilities. For instance, you might want a dog with different qualities depending on if you want an Australian Koolie to work on a large sheep ranch, herd cattle, one that is well-suited to help out on a small hobby farm or a companion dog for your family. It is an excellent place to start searching for the right Koolie for you.

Finding a good breeder is the key to finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or who promote the dogs as being “good with kids.”

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Australian Koolie puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. Below are several authoritative entities that might put potential Koolie owners in touch with reputable breeders or rescue centers.

  • The Australian Koolie Breeders International
  • The Koolie Club of Australia Inc.
  • Australian Koolie dogs in Canada
  • Europetnet
  • Meadowfield Koolies Europe
  • American Kennel Club (United States)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • United All Breed Registry
  • International Canine Association
  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)

If you manage to track down Australian Koolie breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Australian Koolie puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes.

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

Although you might find an Australian Koolie puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries allow the importation of Australian Koolies may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Australian Koolie is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Australian Koolie?

The Australian Koolie, or simply Koolie, is an Australian Koolie capable of mustering and droving with little or no guidance. It is a medium-sized dog and comes in a variety of colors. The Koolie has been exported worldwide and is used to muster livestock, primarily sheep, cattle and goats. However, similar breeds are available, as listed below.

  • Australian Cattle Dog: Australian Koolies played a role in the development of Australian Cattle dogs. The cattle dogs, a.k.a. Blue and Red Heelers got their skills to herd livestock from Koolies. Both are medium-sized dogs. Koolies have a double coat, while Australian Cattle Dogs have a denser coat. more about Australian Cattle Dog social life, care & diet information.
  • Australian Shepherd: The Australian Shepherd is a larger dog than the Koolie. They are distantly related. Both breeds are sheepherding dogs, but the Australian Shepherd is more territorial and both can make an excellent watchdog. more about Australian Shepherd social life, care & diet information.
  • Australian Kelpie: Along with the Border Collie, this breed was crossed into some Koolie bloodlines. It has a similar personality, build, and working ability.

Michael Brady

Michael is an animal-lover who specializes in marketing. He started running Dog Food Care with his mother, Sarah, after leaving his office job. Michael gained enough flexibility in his schedule to be able to adopt a dog of his own and welcomed Emmie the dachshund into his home in 2020.