Istrian Sheepdog vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison

Istrian Sheepdog vs Australian Kelpie - Breed ComparisonIstrian Sheepdog is originated from Slovenia but Australian Kelpie is originated from Australia. Istrian Sheepdog may grow 12 cm / 5 inches higher than Australian Kelpie. Istrian Sheepdog may weigh 20 kg / 45 pounds more than Australian Kelpie. Istrian Sheepdog may live 3 years less than Australian Kelpie. Both Istrian Sheepdog and Australian Kelpie has almost same litter size. Both Istrian Sheepdog and Australian Kelpie requires Moderate maintenance.


istrian sheepdog - historyKnown also as the Karst Sheepdog, the beautiful, medium sized Istrian Sheepdog hails from Slovenia, Yugoslavia in the 1600s, being used to guard sheep. In fact, the Karst Shepherd was recognized as the Illyrian Shepherd in 1939.

The dog is fairly scarce in his own country, but interest in the dog started developing in the late 1970s. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes the breed and it has also been exported to the United States, being recognized by the United Kennel Club.

It is also recognized by a number of smaller kennel clubs. The dogs numbers have declined at certain periods in its history but fortunately breeding programs boosted its numbers.

australian kelpie - historyThe energetic Kelpie came into being around 1870, with this working dog breed having a role to play with the herding of sheep in the harsh Australian outback.The sheep and wool industry in Australia has always been big business, and Australian ranchers were looking for a tough dog that could cope with sheep but also cope with the harsh environment.

These are adaptable dogs too and their ancestors include the Coley or Collie, a British herding-type dog, the English- and the Australian Shepherd and the Dingo. In fact it is believed that up to 4% of their genes comes from the Dingo. These adaptable dogs were also brought to North America where they quickly adapted to the different climate and different livestock.

The Australian Kelpie isn’t your regular pet as they are essentially an outdoor, working dog. They are recognized today by the United Kennel Club and registered by the North American Australian Kelpie Registry.

Basic Information

Working dog
Working dog
Height Male:
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
46 - 51 cm
18 - 21 inches
Height Female:
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
43 - 48 cm
16 - 19 inches
Weight Male:
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
14 - 20 kg
30 - 45 pounds
Weight Female:
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
12 - 20 kg
26 - 45 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 12 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
3 - 6
4 - 7
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Karst Sheepdog
Kelpie, Barb
Colors Available:
Dark and Light shades of Grey
Many Colours, from solids to bi-colours - tan, fawn, blue, red, black, chocolate
Long, thick and harsh
short and dense
Moderate, Seasonal
Affectionate, Aggressive, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Territorial
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


istrian sheepdog puppy - descriptionThis is a medium sized, muscled, strong dog with an iron-grey coat that has shades of deeper grey. His beautiful coat is long, thick and fairly harsh to the touch, with the undercoat protecting the dog against cold weather.

Around the neck area the hair is longer, forming an eye-catching-like mane. The stomach area has longer hair too. He has a noble look about him with kind, brown eyes and a round skull. The muzzle of the dog is dark, the limbs long and muscular and the tail is long and covered in thick fur.

The dog is slightly longer than its height, and both males and females stand at 54 to 63cm in height and weigh between 26 and 40kg. The long tail reaches right down to the hocks. The ears of the dog are fairly short and are floppy.


This dog has always made an excellent guard dog, being alert and also being distrustful of strangers. He will need to be trained and socialized if you want him to be obedient to you and more amicable around children in the home as well as visitors to the home.

If he is trained and well socialized, he is able to make a good pet. However, he is an energetic dog, used to working and he isn't recommended for life in the city if there is only a tiny garden. He needs space and will require a large garden.

He will also need to be exercised and not just left to his own devices in the backyard. Because he is essentially a working dog he doesn’t easily fit into the role of pet and companion. He is a working dog and will need to be kept busy.

The Coat

australian kelpie puppy - descriptionThe Kelpie is a medium-sized dog with a coat that comes in a number of colours – black, chocolate, fawn, red, blue, tan, white and gold. . The nose colour blends in with the dog’s coat colour and can be black, brownish and even pinkish.

A Sharp, Intelligent Look

The Kelpie has a medium-length tail which is low-set. The ears are pricked, giving the dog an intelligent, alert appearance. The dog’s head is also narrow and long, and his eyes are bright and inquisitive.

Lithe and Athletic

The Australian Kelpie has an athletic appearance, with a body which is longer than their height, similar to that of a German Shepherd. Because the Australian Kelpie is such an energetic, active breed, he’ll need plenty of ‘jobs to do’, lots of ball games and other exercise to keep him free from boredom and to ensure he maintains his lithe, lean, muscular limbs.


istrian sheepdog dog - characteristicsYour Istrian Sheepdog is a unique, strong-willed dog that is used to guarding, and working and he wants to be kept involved and busy.

He is wary of strangers and makes an excellent guard dog for any family home. Remember that it is never good to invest in a dog purely for guard dog purposes. A dog such as the Istrian Sheepdog is a social creature and he also wants- and needs to be part of a human family that provides him with plenty of interaction with them.

The Istrian Sheepdog is a loyal, loving dog who is capable of forming strong bonds with his human family. With proper training and socialization he makes a good friend of children and the elderly too.

Include him in all your family activities just like any human family member and he will make you a splendid, courageous pet.

Friend of Children

australian kelpie dog - characteristicsThe Australian Kelpie is an active, busy, intelligent, loving breed who is highly protective of his human family. He gets on well with children and other pets in the home but you’ll want him trained if you want him to be gentle around children and smaller pets. He does tend to gravitate towards one particular family member as his ‘favourite’ though.

He Must be Busy

Your Kelpie won't do well in an apartment as he is a working dog who wants plenty of place to run and play. If he is bored, it manifests itself with constant barking. Make sure to provide a stimulating, active lifestyle for your Australian Kelpie, provide him with everything a dog needs and you’ll be rewarded with a devoted and loyal companion.

Health Problems

istrian sheepdog puppies - health problemsAs with many other dog breeds, the Istrian Sheepdog is a healthy dog that, because of history of hard work, is robust and able to stand up well to common dog illnesses.

However there is one dog illness that strikes many dogs and at any age, and it is hip dysplasia. This is a malformation of the hip joints.

You'll notice that your once active dog is lethargic, doesn't want to play so much anymore and battles to get up after lying down. The disease is painful for your dog and it can lead to mobility issues. The disease is diagnosed with x-rays and your vet will recommend treatment options to make life more comfortable and less painful for your beloved pet.

A Healthy Breed

australian kelpie puppies - health problemsYour Australian Kelpie is a hardy breed and you won’t find many health problems with him. Yes, every dog is susceptible to illnesses which are common with all dog breeds, and these are illnesses such as hip dysplasia and cryptorchidism.

You will need to check your Kelpie out for eye disease such as PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a group of genetic diseases which are found in some breeds of dogs. This can lead to cataracts and blindness.

Lifestyle and Environment Impact Health

Health problems in your Australian Kelpie can certainly be partially prevented by the way you feed your dog and by the environment you provide him with. Every dog has the potential to develop genetic health problems, but as we’ve said, the Kelpie is a generally healthy breed.

Always find a reputable breeder whose focus is on breeding healthy dogs and who can provide certification that the parents of the dog are clear of defects and are in tip-top condition for breeding.

Puppy Vaccinations

Along with quality food and fresh water, getting your puppy vaccinated is hugely important. Australian Kelpie puppy shots will protect your new 4-legged family member from the likes of distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis. Your puppy will also need additional booster vaccinations after his first shots which start at around 8 weeks of age.

Caring The Pet


istrian sheepdog dogs - caringThis is a dog that is used to guarding his flock and he will need to be in a home that has a fair sized garden. He can adapt to life in the city or to the countryside, but wherever he is, he will need sufficient exercise. Take him with you on your walks or hikes and give him some rope- and ball games.

General Care:

Wherever you live in the world, when the Winter winds howl and blow in icy rain or snow, a dog is at an increased risk of illness. You decided to have a dog in your home and it is your responsibility to care for him. Winter weather is downright unpleasant and dangerous for most pets.

Bring your pet in during such weather and provide him with a warm, dry sleeping space. During hot weather, make sure your pet has a cool, shady spot to lie down in, out of the boiling sun. Whatever weather you're experiencing, your pet should never ever be without a constant supply of fresh, cool water.

Provide him with excellent food that is full of vitamins and minerals to keep him healthy. Learn to know what human foods can be toxic for him and cause him digestive problems.


Your double coated Istrian Sheepdog will need a thorough brushing at least twice a week because of his dense, double coat. He does shed and isn't a hypoallergenic dog. His thick coat can tangle easily if it isn't properly brushed and maintained.

Clip his nails when and if they grow long. Other grooming aspects for this attractive dog require checking his ears for infection and also checking his teeth as dental disease can lead to a host of serious illnesses in your dog.


australian kelpie dogs - caringAustralian Kelpies 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. Australian Kelpies are moderate shedders.

Feeding your Kelpie

It is important to get your puppy off on the right foot to avoid health problems later on. Homemade dog food which includes chicken, rice and vegetables is always the best food for your dog. If you can't prepared your own meals for your Kelpie, top grade commercial dog food brands are recommended.

When looking at dog foods, remember that your Kelpie is a working dog – a naturally active breed and you’ll need to look at dog food which has been specially formulated for active dogs. Every dog will need raw meat in their diet if you want to avoid a dog with an itchy, flaky skin, a dog with poor energy levels and a dog that has no resistance to infection.


Every owner who cares for their dog will provide him with socialization and training. The Australian Kelpie is an intelligent breed who responds well to training.

Comparison with other breeds

  1. American Bulldog vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  2. Border Collie vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  3. Sakhalin Husky vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  4. Alaskan Husky vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  5. Catahoula Leopard vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  6. German Pinscher vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  7. Portuguese Water Dog vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  8. Puli vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  9. Griffon Bleu de Gascogne vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  10. Borador vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  11. German Spaniel vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  12. Canadian Eskimo Dog vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  13. McNab vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  14. Porcelaine vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  15. Finnish Lapphund vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  16. Berger Blanc Suisse vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  17. Griffon Nivernais vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  18. Hokkaido vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  19. Petit Bleu de Gascogne vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  20. Pumi vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  21. Australian Kelpie vs Aidi - Breed Comparison
  22. Griffon Fauve de Bretagne vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  23. Basque Shepherd vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  24. Istrian Sheepdog vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  25. Jamthund vs Australian Kelpie - Breed Comparison
  26. Sakhalin Husky vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  27. Portuguese Water Dog vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  28. Puli vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  29. McNab vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  30. Porcelaine vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  31. Hokkaido vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  32. Petit Bleu de Gascogne vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  33. Pumi vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison
  34. Istrian Sheepdog vs American Bulldog - Breed Comparison
  35. Istrian Sheepdog vs Border Collie - Breed Comparison
  36. Istrian Sheepdog vs Alaskan Husky - Breed Comparison
  37. Istrian Sheepdog vs Catahoula Leopard - Breed Comparison
  38. Istrian Sheepdog vs German Pinscher - Breed Comparison
  39. Istrian Sheepdog vs Aidi - Breed Comparison
  40. Istrian Sheepdog vs Griffon Bleu de Gascogne - Breed Comparison
  41. Istrian Sheepdog vs Borador - Breed Comparison
  42. Istrian Sheepdog vs German Spaniel - Breed Comparison
  43. Istrian Sheepdog vs Canadian Eskimo Dog - Breed Comparison
  44. Istrian Sheepdog vs Finnish Lapphund - Breed Comparison
  45. Istrian Sheepdog vs Berger Blanc Suisse - Breed Comparison
  46. Istrian Sheepdog vs Griffon Nivernais - Breed Comparison
  47. Istrian Sheepdog vs Griffon Fauve de Bretagne - Breed Comparison
  48. Istrian Sheepdog vs Basque Shepherd - Breed Comparison
  49. Istrian Sheepdog vs Canaan Dog - Breed Comparison

View/Compare Breeds

Popular Dog Breeds