Labrador Kelpie Dog Breed

  • Other names:
  • Kelpador
  • Kelpie X Lab
  • Lab X Kelpie

Pronunciation: [ Lab kell•pee ]

The Lab Kelpie is the result of breeding a Labrador Retriever with an Australian Kelpie. This hybrid dog is not very common, and is almost always found in Australia. One or more may be available at a shelter or rescue, but there are some breeders who occasionally offer them. How they may turn out is up to the owner or trainer. There is no standard name, and they may also be known as a Kelpador, a Labrador-Kelpie cross, a Kelpie x Lab, a Lab x Kelpie, or something similar.

Labrador Kelpie Breed Details

Breed Specs
Hybrid12-15 yrs.18-23 in.35-70 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

There is little history of this breed so it is difficult to know if the Lab Kelpie was produced for a specific purpose or is the result of unintentional breeding after the Labrador Retriever was introduced to Australia.
With this in mind, Labs are great hunters, and Kelpies are commonly found throughout Australia so it is not unusual that the two breeds mated. While the results tend to be unpredictable, these can be dogs that are good for first-time owners. They may show traits of Labradors or Kelpies, so they may or may or may not be good for hunting or for herding, but they will be great family companions for those who can afford them and are willing to accept the wide range of possibilities.

You should make sure you've considered all the possible good and bad things regarding the Labrador Kelpies:

  • Pros
  • Playful
  • Intelligent
  • Extremely loyal
  • Doesn't bark much
  • May be fine with moderate exercise
  • May have short, single, low-shedding coat
  • Cons
  • Loves to dig
  • Can be bossy
  • Might be lazy, loves to wander
  • Tendency toward obesity
  • Chance of being hyperactive
  • May impulsively "herd" everything
  • Possibility of high exercise requirement
  • Might have a heavily shedding double-layer coat
  • Submissiveness can lead to fear-based aggression
  • Other and unknown breeds may be present in parents' blood

Labrador Kelpie Breed Description

The Lab x Kelpie cross is a dog that is well-known in a small region, not well-regarded where they are known, and prone to a great variety of behaviors. The two very different breeds that produce this odd dog tend to create an animal that is intelligent, useful, and loyal — but in different ways.

These smart dogs might be too much so, meaning that there is a lot of Kelpie inherited. When this happens, these dogs are overly anxious, prone to barking, and ever-ready to react in a fashion to make things right as they see it. Then again, she may be a lot more Lab, which means she'll be laid-back, prone to playing, and comfortable with anything that is not an overt threat. Either way, this hybrid dog come from two hard-working breeds, so they tend to figure out things one way or another.

Loyalty is not a problem, although this trait may be exhibited differently from one Lab Kelpie cross to another and even within a single litter. Some will seek to protect you from anything that moves, and others might show their loyalty by just being there, napping near you, and waiting for the next task.

If there is more Kelpie in your Lab Kelpie, constant movement is the norm. If there is more Lab, then energy conservation (such as napping!) is typical.

Labrador Kelpie Coloring

There are a fair amount of Labrador x Kelpie colors. It all depends on whether it's just a Lab and Kelpie that were crossed or if there were other breeds (or hybrids) in the mix at some point. For the most part, however, the two most common colors are the black Labrador cross kelpie and any of a variety of chocolate coat colors. There are a few markings too, such as legs speckled with white and some shade or brown, or some sort of brindle-infused aspect, or the Lab-influenced white chest markings.

The colors that your Labrador Kelpie might come in are:
Black and tan
Brown two-tone
Chocolate brindle

Labrador Kelpie Temperament

The Labrador Kelpie cross temperament is a difficult one to predict when these dogs are puppies. There are no books about this little-known hybrid dog. As they are rarely seen outside Australia (and even Down Under, they tend to be uncommon as well as roundly regarded as a mutt), there is little known about them outside the rural areas and few forums where the mix is discussed.

Still, Lab x Kelties do have some distinctions even as their personalities may range widely and wildly. Some have the friendly personality of the Lab. Others can have the introverted, highly anxious temperament of the Kelpie. It's not something that can be controlled but can be mitigated by the socialization and training. Some of these dogs go nuts in the presence of sheep or anything that is, to them, in need of being herded. Other Kelpie Lab crosses are lazy, overly friendly with everyone and just want to play.

Labrador Kelpie Health

The Labrador Kelpie is said by some owners to be a robust dog with few health issues. Other Lab Kelpie owners, however, make other claims. As there is no standard an there may be other types of dogs that got unknowingly into the mix, your Kelpie x Lab might have few, some, or many problems found in either or both breeds (or others that are common in Kelpie crosses).

Below are the health problems that both named breeds are known to encounter and which could affect your Kelpie Lab:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Eye problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Microphthalmia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Tricuspid valve dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) 
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)

Lab Kelpies tend to have a lifespan of 10 to 12 or even 14 years.

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy