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2010 National Kelpie Field Trial Championships - Australia


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Hi,

 

The Working Kelpie Council has videos of the finalists at their 2010 National Kelpie Field Trial Championships at this site.

 

http://www.wkc.org.au/Gallery/Videos/WKCNKFTC/2010/Default.php

 

I would be interested to hear comments about differences in working style and ability between these kelpies and border collies, as well as observations about differences between this trial and trials elsewhere.

 

Kerry

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Hi,

 

The Working Kelpie Council has videos of the finalists at their 2010 National Kelpie Field Trial Championships at this site.

 

http://www.wkc.org.au/Gallery/Videos/WKCNKFTC/2010/Default.php

 

I would be interested to hear comments about differences in working style and ability between these kelpies and border collies, as well as observations about differences between this trial and trials elsewhere.

 

Kerry

 

I just watched this. I only watched the winning run thinking that would be the place to start. Wow it is very different from what we are used to in ISDS/USBCHA trialing. Closest thing I can think of in my experience would be an AHBA Ranch Trial course.

 

First the trial field is small enough that it is what we would tend to think of as an arena. Then there is a whole section in the middle where they are moving sheep around from one small pen to another without ever letting them out on the field. Actually it seems it would be pretty complicated to remember what you are supposed to do. Then they let the original group of sheep back out and go through a set of panels, an interesting sort of loading ramp to nowhere, and then a pen. All of the obstacles are done with the handler able to standright at the obstacle (as opposed to our drive panels in ISDS style trials).

 

As far as working style it seemed to me the kelpie was much more upright than the typical border collie. I don't think it was ever asked to lie down. It seemed to be more waiting direction than free thinking that you will see in top border collies. There were several "stalls" of the sheep and the Kelpie never really seemed to walk into the sheep mainly getting them going by flanking back and forth. Also there were several times when the sheep would come through an obstacle where the handler would send his dog to the head and cross the course to simply hold the sheep while the handler moved to the next obstacle.

 

 

Just a very differnt thing than ISDS style trials.

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I think those dogs could be trained differently and get different results. Gusto can lie down, he just hates it LOL! He has some station bred dogs behind him and that might make some difference.

 

Most of the Kelpies I have seen are more upright than the BC's they are quite prone to watching the handler as many of these dogs did, but that can also be a consequence of training. Most of the handlers I saw used hand signals. Kelpies are not overall as biddable as a BC. The good ones I've seen are VERY keen on heading and will tend to run wide, but it can be a battle to get them to keep the pressure on the stock, with the dogs tending to want to bolt to the heads when the sheep start to move.

 

I have seen a few Kelpies over the years and they range the same as BC's. The good ones are hard to discern from a BC in working style, they can range to the red schipperke type show dogs (with little ability) to something akin to a pit bull on stock (some of the cattle bred ones). Most in this country are working bred-or at least the ones I've seen are. The majority are very similar in working ability to working bred BC's with balance and gathering ability their strong suites.

 

Gusto, the one I have has done 700 yard OR, can drive 200yards, cross drive, is a great penning dog and can shed. Something happened between the time I originally trained him and when I inherited him from his owner (she dies) and I cannot get him to relax reliably. As Claudia noted, when he relaxes he is a charm to work! Yesterday I could have shot him(he wasn't relaxed). This has happened since the original training I put on him and I don't know what happened. He has also been used often to dog break cattle and is both a strong dog and a strong willed dog.

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I enjoyed watching this (only the winning run) and thanks for sending the link. Looks very much like a typical ranch dog course. Trying not to be too judgemental, especially without knowing the requirements of the course, but the dog does seem a might mechanical in it's relationship to the stock. Kept looking at the handler whilst on the field. (mind you, the handler loved his whistle eh?)

 

It was fun to watch the penning work. Although it seems a little rough on the stock.....but it is interesting to see the dogs up on the sheep backs. I've seen the necessity of this stunt first hand though. Many years ago BSD (before sheep and dogs) I spent a few months on a sheep farm in New Zealand working with a big flock of 2000..... Moving 800 ewes from one pasture to the next, through an 18ft gate, means the leading sheep walk through and stop to graze a few feet inside the new paddock. This causes a huge traffic jam, so one of the dogs jumps up on backs to push the lead sheep ahead some. Very cool to see how useful this is.

 

It's interesting how trials evolve around the strengths of the dogs and needs of the shepherds.....

 

Nancy in Ontario

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Hi,

 

thanks for those comments. I should add that I asked because I'm starting to think about my next dog - probable ETA late 2012, as I want to take Bluey a lot further before I start a pup. The short kelpie coat is a great attraction, as I've spent the summer pulling burrs out of Bluey's coat (yes, I have seen short-coated BCs, but I don't particularly like them). I also have the impression that Kelpies are faster than the BCs in Australia. (Although not as fast as the Coolies I have seen!) But I have been spoilt by Bluey, because he is extremely biddable, and many of the comments I've read say that Kelpies are not - although some breeders are working hard on that.

 

Kerry

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My dog, Gusto is a bit 'harder' than some of the Kelpies I've seen, but most are a bit short on biddability. From what I undersatnd the BC's down under are overall not what the Kelpie is for work. But I think that is changing with an increase in ISDS style trials (vs the 3-5 sheep trials) and probably the importation of more dogs from GB.

 

Can't say about speed, but the BC's here in the states are equal to the Kelpies I've seen (haven't really seen any Coolies).

 

I do find it interesting that so much of the work in Australia is done in a fetch only. Some aspects I really like, although I thought there was a 'gate' on the end of the bridge (or was told years ago) to show that the dogs could push stock and I would imagine that would encourage the use of barking (which I also understand was a part of the yard trials). Personally I think the use of the drive in the ISDS style trials probably helped promote biddability in the BC (sometimes to the detriment of natural ability).

 

 

Pam

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I have to admit to being quite surprised when I saw the course. It looks like a simple, lower level AHBA ranch or ranch large flock trial. Yes, I do admit to running in a few AHBA ranch style trials for fun with young dogs in training, so I know exactly what they look like and the level of work required to run in them.

 

Comparing their Nationals course to an AHBA trial is not meant to insult the breed. I've seen a fair number of Kelpies work sheep and goats in the USA. I would quite readily compare their skills and ability to Border Collies. There are good ones that are a true asset to any farm, biscuit eaters and everything in between (which is also true of Border Collies).

 

The dependence on hand signals also surprised me because the Kelpies I know in the USA work off whistles and verbal commands like Border Collies. You only see a small percentage of people using lots of hand signals in the N/N class and in AHBA trials (generally the non Border Collies) in the USA.

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There is a woman in my area who has Kelpies. She runs two successfully in PN & I believe just moved one up to Open. I haven't been to many trials this winter... Her Kelpies are very nice dogs. They do seem to be more upright in working style. The first time I saw these dogs work I thought they were a bit weak, but they were on their home farm with their home flock, and it became very obvious that the sheep simple knew the dogs very well & so worked very quietly. (As opposed to my run on those sheep when my first group overshot the judges booth & headed for the hills!) After seeing her Kelpies on other seep, including range ewes, I know they're not weak at all, but very calm & nice to their stock. These Kelpies seem to be very biddable, and they are real characters off stock :)

 

When I sent Hoot off to be started, there was a Kelpie there of the same age (~ 1 yr). He was something of a maniac. On stock, he looked like he was just going to dive in there & maul the sheep to death. He quite surprised me; while he was insanely fast & upright, I never once saw him even attempt to grip a sheep. He was far more hard-headed than the Kelpies I know here, and he seemed like he needed to run through thick brush for about a week before he'd settle down. He probably just needed to mature, because he had the makings of a decent working dog. He also HUGE- could have passed for a chunky Doberman! But very, very sweet & got along great with Hoot.

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