One look at the Koolie, and you’ll do a double-take. The spitting image of the Australian Cattle Dog, you may wonder if it’s a new breed. But don’t put the cart before the horse — the Koolie is the original king of the outback.
How Big Do Koolies Get?
The Koolie is a medium-sized dog averaging 35-50 pounds.
What Do Koolies Look Like?
Deep-chest but lean, with a strong back and powerful legs, they’re uniquely adapted to herding sheep.
Their flat, double coats have a distinctive look — lengths vary, but short coats are preferred. Virtually any color is permissible, but black and white and blue and red merle with heavy white markings are the most common. Eye shade varies from brown to blue.
The Koolie’s ears are wide-set, pricked and mobile — always alert for predators. Tails are bushy but stop short of being fox-like. Though they vary in appearance by region, they share similar characteristics with many herding dogs, including the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie.
What Is The Personality Of A Koolie?
Koolies are tender-hearted dogs with hard-working spirits. Intelligent, active and independent, they can manage a herd, cats or children — take your pick. Bred for the field, they’re a poor choice for apartments.
Among family, they’re gentle, affectionate and loyal. But they can also be strong-willed, needing the guidance of an experienced owner. Early socialization, training and enough exercise to keep them mentally engaged are the keys to raising a well-adjusted pet.
How Much Exercise Does A Koolie Need?
Koolies are outdoor dogs at heart with a need for fresh air and sunshine. Incredibly energetic, their stamina is legendary. Not satisfied with walks, they need a meaningful mission.
Almost exclusively working dogs, most are sought specifically for their world-class herding prowess. But they dominate local agility competitions and are increasingly working as search and rescue dogs. Always willing, they’re ready for any activity you offer and can be trained to do almost anything.
How Much Grooming Do Koolies Need?
Most Koolies have short but dense double coats to protect them from the elements — longer-haired dogs require more care. They shed year-round and seasonally, blowing out their undercoats in the spring and fall. Regular grooming keeps them looking their best.
Weekly brushing with a slicker removes dirt and debris and helps distribute the skin oils that give Koolies a shine. In the hot Australian sun, a healthy coat is the best protection for their sensitive skin. They have little doggy odor and need only an occasional bath.
The Koolie’s pricked pinnae are good news for owners concerned about ear infections. Their ear canals get plenty of light and air, so yeast and bacteria will struggle to grow — just wipe them clean at bath time.
Long days in the Aussie sun, however, may burn the delicate skin on the inside of their ears, so consider a daily spritz of sunscreen formulated for dogs. Human products can be toxic.
As active as they are, the Koolie’s nails tend to stay naturally trim, but their outdoor adventures put them at higher risk of broken nails. Trim them monthly with a grinding tool to keep them on the short side.
What Kind Of Dog Food Is Best For Koolies?
Koolies don’t need any particular type of dog food. They do tend to drift towards being overweight once they reach middle age if they’re being overfed. Talk to your vet to make sure that your dog is at its optimal weight.
Before we start with the food lists, just know that grain-free dog foods are a myth. There’s zero science showing that they are helpful. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that it’s causing issues in certain breeds of dogs. Food allergies are the only reason to even consider a grain-free diet but only choose one with the help of your veterinarian.
Best Puppy Food For Koolies:
Best Adult Food For Koolies:
How Long Do Koolies Live?
Anywhere from 13-18 years of age
What Health Problems Do Koolies Have?
Koolies are a newer breed of dog with not a lot of information yet as to what type of health issues to which they may be predisposed.
Where Can I Find A Koolie?
There are a handful of Koolie breeders in North America that can be found on this list.
Where Can I Learn More About Koolies?
Start with the Koolie Club of Australia.
Another great resource is Australian Koolie Breeders International.
Interesting Facts About Koolies
If you’ve never heard of Koolies, you’re not alone. Here are a few fun facts to help acquaint you with this rare and unusual breed.
• What’s In a Name?
Everyone like a good origin story, but the Koolie’s name likely evolved from a simple mispronunciation. Brought to Australia by German immigrants, though they didn’t originate in Germany, the name Collie sounded like Koolie to Aussie ears.
• They’re Descended From Collies
Koolies are thought to have existed in the British Isles as early at the 18th century. Though controversial because records are scarce, most canine historians suggest they’re the descendants of Scottish Collies.
Upon arrival in Australia, it’s said they mated with dingoes or similar local wild dogs to produce the modern version of the Koolie we know today.
• They’re Protective But Not Aggressive
Herding dogs are, by nature protective of their flocks. But whether it’s just too hot to chase predators in the outback, or they’re a live and let live type of dog, the Koolie can be domineering but is rarely aggressive.
• They’re Variable in Appearance
The Koolie isn’t recognized by any major kennel club, not because it’s unworthy, but because there’s no clear breed standard. Adapted for local use, each region of Australia from coast to coast bred their dogs with the most talented specimens in the area instead of for specific physical characteristics. Their purpose as to maintain a steady supply of top-quality working dogs.
The results have been less consistent than what kennel clubs insist on for recognition. Going forward, however, the Koolie Club of Australia plans to refine and improve the breed.