Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
This fascinating cross is not overly present in the US but has a lot to offer to any household. Meet the Australian kelpie lab mix – a rare but special mix. This cross is mostly seen in Australia where both kelpies and labs are quite popular. Throughout the rest of the world, however, lab breeders will only occasionally make crosses between these two breeds as few people are looking for (or aware of) Australian kelpies.
And that is indeed a pity as Australian kelpies are a fantastic herding breed that makes for a phenomenal family pet. So, their cross with the already popular Labrador – the Lab Kelpie or “Kelpador” – is equally noteworthy. But, let’s get into a bit more detail below.
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Australian Kelpie Lab Mix Appearance and Size
Australian kelpies are about 4 inches (10 cm) shorter than labs so the cross between the two breeds will usually be somewhere between the two. The average adult Kelpador will be about 18 to 23 inches (45.7 to 58.4 cm) tall at the shoulder and will weigh anywhere between 40 and 70 pounds (18.1 and 31.8 kgs).
Black and chocolate will be the most common colors of this cross with some dogs also having lighter chest or leg color markings. Walnut and more reddish colors are also possible albeit rare.
The exact body type and head shape of the Kelpador can vary between characteristics of the two-parent breeds – there is no strict standard in that regard. However, most of the variations aren’t overly significant either. The main thing to notice is that Keladors will typically have a lighter build than purebred Labradors as kelpies are a more lightweight breed.
Learn more about: Yellow Lab Dachshund Mix And Its Surprising Qualities
Exercise Needs Of A Kelpie Cross With Lab
About an hour or so of vigorous outdoor exercise (typically divided into two walks) is the minimum for a healthy Kelpador. And we do emphasize on “vigorous” – this shouldn’t be just a slow walk around the block but rather – active playtime in the park or a jogging session.
Aside from that, a few hours of free playtime in a well-fenced yard are strongly recommended. If you don’t have a yard, Kelpadors can live in apartments but will need to compensate with even more time in the dog park – at least a couple of hours of active exercise will be a must, in addition to some indoor playtime.
What’s The Personality Of The Kelpie Labrador Mix?
Predicting the exact personality of this cross can be tricky as we don’t have that much data on them. However, we know that labs are very social, smart, and eager-to-please family dogs and that kelpies are an exceptional herding breed that also loves being around people and is a hardworking companion.
So, even though the two parent breeds have different histories – one is a gun dog and the other a herding dog – they are both very intelligent, social, and loyal. Kelpies are more of a working dog and love performing tasks and literally helping around the house when asked (and trained) to do so. Labs, even though they come from hunting dogs, are also selfless workers which is why they make for great therapy and guide dogs.
Overall, this means that the lab kelpie mix is just a very well-rounded family dog. They can easily get along with kids, other pets, and even strangers. This canine will love to be around you and to earn your love in any way possible. Separation anxiety will be an issue, however, as it is in both purebred labs and kelpies. So – only take such a dog if you can give it the attention and human contact it needs.
Also, don’t think that just because this dog is loyal and social, it won’t need obedience training and socialization – it does. The breed’s favorable personality traits just mean that said training will be easier and more effective than with other breeds.
Health Specifics Of The Australian Kelpie Lab Mix
Both kelpies and labs are quite healthy breeds so there’s little reason to expect the Kelpador won’t be the same. Of course, these dogs can still develop some health issues, they are just not as likely to as some other breeds. Getting a health certificate and a family history from the breeder is still strongly recommended, however.
- Patellar luxation
- Hip dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Other eye problems
- Tricuspid valve dysplasia
Pros and Cons Of The Australian Kelpie Lab Mix
- Social, friendly, and lovable breed
- Playful and energetic
- Quite healthy overall
- Rare and difficult to find outside of Australia
- Separation anxiety can be an issue
- Little to no standards on the exact appearance of this breed
Is The Kelpie Labrador Mix Right For You?
If you can find it, the Kelpador can be a phenomenal family pet. The only things that should really give you pause are whether or not your lifestyle can prevent separation anxiety in this breed and/or you can meet the Kelpador’s exercise needs. Neither of these considerations is really unique to the Australian kelpie lab mix, however, and both apply to purebred Labradors as well.
Everything else about this cross is positively delightful. Great with kids and other pets, amicable toward strangers with the right socialization, playful and energetic, smart and happy to please, those dogs are a really good crossbreed for families. Do make sure to find a good breeder when looking for such a dog, however, as well as to ask for a health certificate.
In the US, in particular, it’s not uncommon for breeders to use non-purebred dogs for such crosses. This isn’t necessarily a problem but can sometimes introduce certain health risks you need to know about.