Although a Koolie owner for the last 24 years Michelle has only been involved in stockdog training of both her Koolie and Kelpie for the last 6 years, so offers a unique and fresh perspective without expectations of any results or outcomes. Her ambition was to train her working dogs in the practical application of working stock and for yard, three sheep and utility trials, along the way she discovered what is involved in training working dogs with natural talent for the work they were bred for.
Currently I own and work Chance a red merle male Koolie on sheep and cattle.
I'm no expert and have a limited experience with Koolie or kelpies to compare. I believe while all working breeds are to be respected, Koolies do have different working styles, ethics and approaches.
Chance is a gentle soul and has a natural talent, his handicap with everything has always been me, but; he loves me through to his core as I do him. Couldn't imagine my life without him. We started out green together, working sheep when he was 4months old. I was lucky as he had the natural ability to go around his sheep, that is step no.1.
If your dog won't go around stock properly, you have quite an amount of work ahead of you. If they can't get around 10 head of stock and always be on the lookout for a breakaway how will they ever work a large mob.?? I attended Koolie Club workshops on stock handling (I myself just being a pet person) really enjoyed the teamwork of doing a job together. When Chance was five years old I was given a blue/tan kelpie, she is now 16 months.
Koolie vs Kelpie - they are so different. The Koolie is so devoted to their owners that they tend to always look for that thank you. Their natures are much more sensitive than the Kelpie. The Koolie doesn't have as much eye as a Kelpie but what they lack in eye they make up for in strength. The Koolie even if he is calm likes to get the job done quickly, in my opinion they lack patience at times so they need to be steadied down.
My Kelpie isn't strong eyed but has enough to get the job done. Both my Koolie and Kelpie are very good at reading stock. They both have a walk up, Demi is more natural. (But she has me already as a trained handler Chance had to suffer my ignorance).
Because the Koolie is so keen to work at times they can tend to forget their introduction to stock on the cast and tend to sometimes startle the stock.
There are good and bad workers in each breed, and it all comes down to what you require for yourself as far as stock goes. My other Koolie I owned was totally wild on stock it was always a big game to him. He dropped stock and would just let them go and always looked for the opportunity to bite uncalled for needless to say he doesn't work stock now.
I trial both my dogs in yard trials and utility. I am in suburbia so don't have access to stock as much as I would like to. The Kelpie is very independent in everything she does, that is in her genetic makeup. My Koolie is my shadow.
I prefer the Koolie as he is calm and nothing much ruffles his feathers.
Where Demi is a 'flibbity gibbet' she just can't keep still, and has to be moving and working all the time, no off button (she'll even work the other dogs when there are no sheep). Demi will work sheep for anyone if she knows they are in charge whereas Chance has to know you before he will go to work for you. Working ability does come back to breeding, Chance's daughter Fleck is a natural backing dog where her dad needed to be taught.
I feel everyone would get some benefit from attending at least one sheepdog workshop experience with their Koolie. We selected very experienced trainers that have owned Koolie's previous, and manage large sheep and cattle stations and they also judge at sheep and cattle trials.