There were a couple comments on barking being a Kelpie trait so I thought I’d share my reply as Kelpie fans would be disappointed if I didn’t explain that as a general rule Kelpies do not bark while working.
The barking kelpie in the videos on the last post is the pup tied up on the Ranger, frustrated because he's not working. I’ve come across many young border collies who also bark like fiends when watching other dogs work. Watching such a volume of sheep for the first time also incites barking in many young dogs, regardless of breed. When at work Kelpies work quietly like the border collies. The two dogs on the ground in the videos never bark while working. Some yard lines of kelpies will bark but the bark is purposeful, and only as needed. Cajun will bark a few times, but not incessantly, when he is riding along on the Ranger and knows we want sheep to move, and that's very handy. Put him on the ground though and he doesn't make a peep.
Barking is not a breed trait in the Kelpie but it is in the New Zealand Huntaway which may be mistaken for Kelpies. That said, some lines of Kelpies do bark when forcing, however it is important the bark be purposeful. It should be a bark or two if needed and then back to quiet. It should not be incessant barking.
Kelpies and Border Collies work much the same way, showing eye and working quietly and yet are very different dogs to have around and live with.
Speaking in general terms, the Border Collie in North America is a very, very popular breed and as such is a bit of a specialist with a particular style of work and showing a lot of eye to move livestock. In some overseas countries the border collies are more upright in style, showing eye as needed rather than at every movement of the livestock. The Kelpie should show eye as needed. When working a mob, the Kelpie will appear very upright in style, showing less eye. They should not overwork but work where needed. When on a few head of sheep the Kelpie will show intense eye and style similar to a Border Collie.
A good dog is a good dog, and we use both breeds here, carrying a deep appreciation for the varying styles of work and personality in every dog we come across. The dogs make this life what it is.
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