The Koolie is an Australian dog breed; specifically, it is a herding dog or working dog. Koolies may have existed in Australia since the 19th Century. more...
The Koolie is a medium-sized dog of varying coat type, usually with a merled coat pattern. Koolies are typically slightly longer than tall and resemble a cross between a Border Collie and an Australian Cattle Dog, dogs with whom they likely share ancestry.
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 JRT Club of America, most Koolie breeders refer to this dog as a breed rather than as a type, and assert that it "breeds true".
The Koolie is thought to be descended from the same Collie types that were brought to Australia for the kennels of Thomas S. Hall; some believe that they are the direct descendents of Hall's dogs. This, if true, would make the Koolie the oldest of Australia's breeds.
The dog was originally referred to as a German Coolie or simply Coolie; theories vary as to why they were so called. It may be because German settlers used similar herding dogs, or from the word coolie used as an ethnic pejorative. To avoid unpleasant connotations and also so that the breed's Australian origins are not confused, the Koolie Club of Australia officially changed the breed name and most enthusiasts use the current spelling, although the variants are also seen.
The Koolie is currently not recognized by any of the major kennel clubs, although judges from the ANKC may judge Koolies. In the states of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, Koolies may compete in canine council-sponsored working and dog agility events by registration on their Sporting Registers. In 2000, the Koolie Club of Australia was formed to preserve the breed. Opinion is divided as to whether official recognition would be good for the breed. As of (2004), no bench standard exists and none is expected in the near future.
Koolies are much sought after in rural Australia. According to Geoff Broughton, the current president of the Koolie Club of Australia, the Koolie will 'head', 'heel', and 'back', literally jump onto the backs of their charges, to herd them if necessary. Koolies have a reputation for herding anything from ducks to bulls; like all dogs of their kind, they will herd family members and children in the absence of other charges.
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