A short-coat tri-merle Koolie
|Other names||Australian Koolie/Coolie - German Koolie/Coolie - Coulie - German Collie|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Australian Koolies/Coolies have been recognised on the Australian Sporting Registrar, the Australian Shepherd Club of America's Registrar, the American Herding Breed Association's Registrar, and New Zealands Obedience Registrar
Koolies/Coolies registered with the Koolie Club of Australia are accepted to the Canine Control Sporting registers in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The Koolie/Coolie also known as Australian Koolie or German Koolie is an Australian dog breed. Specifically, it is a herding dog, a subcategory of a working dog. Koolies have existed in Australia since the early 1800s, established through old photos owned by elder Koolie breeders and personal records such as diaries.
Like the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, the Koolie Club of Australia defines the breed based on its ability to work rather than on its conformation. Unlike the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, however, most Koolie breeders refer to the Koolie as a breed rather than as a type, and assert that it "breeds true", with various types or strains within the breed.
Many countries will gather their working dogs under the same category like Germany with their herding dog breeds all classed as Altdeutschehuetehunde (heading dogs). New Zealand not only classify their breeds this way, but they also grade them by their working traits. Koolies in New Zealand are registered as a "heading dog": A dog which has a natural instinct to cast out (i.e., circle widely), round sheep and bring them back to their owner. The Koolie is known as a silent working dog. They are used for “heading” sheep and also for quiet careful work at close quarters at lambing time or for “shedding” (cutting out) sheep. It is only through the registrar of the Australian Koolie Club that these bloodlines remain an integral part of the breed and are active contributors to the Koolie gene pool. New Zealand Koolie breeders are working towards having the Koolie recognised under their own breed name as they have been in Australia.
The Koolie is as diverse as the country it originates from, Australia. In the north of Queensland and New South Wales they are tall, medium boned and agile, bred for mustering Simmental Cattle and Brahma over many miles. In The Hunter Valley region and Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, they're thicker set and shorter to flush low lying cattle from the dense bush and gullies. In Victoria, one finds the smallest variety of the Koolie. Koolies are bred to meet the needs of the stockman, grazier and farmer, all agile, all with the same ability to adapt to any situation, all with a strong willingness drive. The Koolie vary from 40 to 60 centimetres (16 to 24 in) in size and are a contrast of coat, colour and body type, although they are merled coat pattern. The solid red or black Koolie are often mistaken for Kelpies, and some bi coloured Koolie have been taken for Border Collies by the general public, rarely if ever by breeders. As all of these breeds share Collie ancestry, they resemble each other.
The Koolie coat ranges from short/smooth (like that of the original blue merle Collies from Scotland) short (like a working Kelpie) medium (like the German Tiger) and not common long (like the show Border Collie). Koolies are typically slightly longer than tall. The majority of owners prefer the short/smooth coats as they do not pick up grass seed, bur and are very easy to maintain, with the occasional swim to keep the coat glossy and free of parasites.
Koolie colours can be solid (all one colour black or red/chocolate this includes Koolie who are cryptic merle: carry the merle gene but do not display it obviously) bi (black & white or red & white) tri (solid red or black, with white markings, normally with brown points), or tri merle (same disciption but merle) merle (grey, black,red/chocolate or white undercoat with large splashes of darker colourings of red/chocolate for red merles or black, grey for blue merles). Black Koolies will commonly have a black nose with black eyes, or tones of black including blue. Red/chocolate Koolies will commonly have a red/chocolate nose with brown eyes, or tones of brown, including yellow and there can be combinations of both black or brown with the added blue eye.
Graziers, stockman and dairy farmers across Australia since days long past have typically selected breeds which display the abilities required to meet their working needs. The temperament found in a Koolie is a culmination of these much sought after abilities. The optimal worker possesses a combination of working skills and bonding temperament.
There are times when an uninitiated dog owner or a new enthusiast mistakes the Koolie as a shy, reserved or even a timid animal. The Koolie's temperament needs to be understood in proper context when one seeks an optimal match of skills and demeanour. Koolies are intelligent animals, and the most experienced handlers know well that they need guidance in training. A steady and supportive approach will be productive, proving the Koolie's adaptability in diverse situations when given time.
Owners will be rewarded through the Koolie's diligence in varied roles such as in work situations, sporting activities, loyal service or the time honoured role of companionship. Known to be patient, temperate, dedicated, with a strong sense of willingness and devotion; the Koolie is not naturally aggressive but can demonstrate dominance. They show an untiring enthusiasm for work and an admirable hardiness when the job or circumstance requires.
The median longevity of Koolies is about 18 years, which is a typical lifespan for this breed. Koolies have a diverse gene pool and so do not suffer from the many genetic problems found in recognised breeds, but the merle for which the Koolie is most recognised by can and does produce white blind and or deaf pups. It is highly recommended that when considering breeding, that matings of merle to solid are the safest option.
Koolies are much sought-after in rural Australia, and interest is now being shown in America, Canada, Germany, Finland, New Zealand and Tasmania. According to Geoff Broughton, past president of the Koolie Club of Australia for 7 years, the Koolie will head (move to the front or head of the stock to push them back towards you), heel or drive, (push the stock from behind), cast (move out and around the stock), block (hold the stock or block them from in front, in three sheep trials this action is called the pick up) and back (literally jump onto the backs of their charges to herd them if necessary). Koolies have a reputation for being upright workers with a good eye, who can easily shift their focus from holding the group to casting around a flock or gathering breakaways. They are not known for having "sticky eyes" (focusing on the sheep in front only). Unlike other working breeds, which are noted for their crouched form or style and preference for either yard or field work, Koolies are at ease working in closed surroundings such as yards or trucks and being out in paddocks and droving. As well as working anything from ducks to bulls, like all dogs of their kind they will herd family members and children in the absence of other charges.
The Koolie’s ancestors were the German Tiger (imported into South Australia in the 1800s) a German working breed which are part of the German Alpine Header Breeds, the smooth coated blue merle Collie (imported from Europe also in the 1800s) and the Black and Tan Collie from the Highlands of Scotland, these were the same type imported by Thomas Hall for the creation of his Heelers. The Koolie is believed to be descended from the same Collie types that were brought to Australia for the kennels of Thomas S. Hall (an originator of the Australian Cattle Dog breed); some believe that they could be direct descendants of Hall's dogs. This, if true, would make the Koolie one of the oldest of Australia's breeds. Capt.v.Stephanitz, German Author of the book "The German Shepherd Dog" (8th revision and enlarged edition) wrote of German Tigers on page 167, describing them clearly as dogs with large dark brown to black spots or splashes or largish splashes on a lighter background found mostly in the South especially in the Brenztal, on page 252 he wrote of the importations into Australia by Graziers of German "Shepherd" Dogs (not to be confused with the current recognised form of German Shepherd), these were German working breeds used by Shepherds in Germany to influence the bloodlines of our own working breeds.
According to older Koolie breeders personal records, from diaries and photo albums the Koolie has been around for over 160 years. During the industrial era some bloodlines were influenced by Kelpie and Border Collie, as explained by one grazier in Western Australia, "You bred from the good workers which were around and Koolies were not always to be found, so you bred to the next best worker that was and this was either the Kelpie or Border depending on the region you lived and the stock you worked."
In 2000, the Koolie Club of Australia was formed to preserve, protect and ethically promote the Koolie breed. The Koolie Club does not actively work towards bench standard recognition, feeling this would only be detrimental to the breeds working future. As of (2008), no bench standard exists.
In 2004, The Koolie breed was recognized by the Australian Sporting Registrar, judges from the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) may judge Koolies in all ANKC sanctioned sporting trials. In the states of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, registered Koolies may compete in, herding, obedience, tracking, jumping, gambles and dog agility events through registration on their State's Sporting Register as members of the Koolie Club of Australia.
In May 2006, the Stockdog Committee of the voted to accept the "Koolie/German Coolie" into their list of recognised and accepted herding breeds, admission was granted June 2006.
In 2006, The American Herding Breed Association accepted the Australian Koolie onto their list of recognised and accepted breeds.
In 2002, The first Exportation to America of a registered DNA tested Koolie was orchestrated by the Koolie Club of Australia, for Ms Torry Lynn Revels of North Carolina, USA.
In 2003, at the Koolie Club of Australia's Annual General meeting a unanimous vote was returned to appoint Ms Revels the clubs official representative in America, Ms Revels was instrumental in gaining acceptance of the Australian Koolie to the recognised breeds lists of the American Herding Breed Association and the Australian Shepherd Club of America.
In 2008, The first Exportation to New Zealand of a registered DNA tested Koolie was orchestrated by the Koolie Club of Australia, for Ms Penny Nalders of Wellington, NewZealand.
In 2008, The first Exportations to Finland of registered DNA tested Koolies was orchestrated by the Koolie Club of Australia, for Ms Sinikka Kumpusalmi of Vehmersalmi, and Mrs Satu Tasanen of Honkilahti, Finland.