I have recently been putting a lot of thought into what exactly I want in a dog and have fairly recently come across the kelpie. They seem like generally a pretty good fit but I do have some concerns about if my lifestyle would be enough to keep one fully happy as I know they are very work driven. I'm wondering if the warnings that people give you about how much they need is just to discourage people who won't actually put in the work from getting them or if it truly is too hard to keep them happy without full time work.
Next year I'll be a high school teacher so I will be gone during the day time hours which is already something I don't like in general with having to leave any dog alone but especially one so prone to boredom. I live in southern Florida and you can get a big fenced yard in the woods no problem here, I'm wondering if room to run like that and time spent (probably 2-3 hours a night) just blowing off steam, playing, and training afterward with weekends spent either out on hikes, playing with other dogs, etc is enough for them if I don't actually have a farm and a constant job for the dog.
Among the reasons I think a kelpie would be a good fit for me are:
- I want a dog that's focused and motivated to learn, I would like to get into k9 search and rescue eventually and I'm hoping my next dog can be my first experimental SAR dog.
- I need a dog that's good for hot weather
- I want a medium/small 40 pound or so dog that can still serve as a guard dog, in the dark all you see is bright eyes and pointy ears and that dog gets to you faster than you can realize it's small
- I am just in awe at their athleticism, they're incredible
- I want a dog with a coat that is not going to pick up cypress needles and all kinds of other grassy things that will need to constantly be picked out
Things I have been warned about with kelpies but don't mind dealing with or accommodating:
- High energy and exercise requirements, I don't intend to just do a 30 minute stroll around the neighborhood. I'd rather get the dog in a yard and play, let it run hard for a long time.
- I've heard they're very vocal too, but after having a pekingese I am immune to barking dogs haha
- I don't mind shedding, I've had dogs with both hair and fur and I prefer fur 100% even if it means shedding
- Issues with dominance etc; I have had a variety of dogs and until they get settled into the house and your lifestyle there's always friction. I don't expect any dog to be easy plus I understand how human body language translates to dogs and I don't have a problem establishing discipline to this point. Of course, if I try a kelpie, this will be arguably the most difficult case I've tried yet but I do think I am experienced enough at this point to handle it.
My major concern is whether or not that lifestyle, and for what purpose I want the dog, is a good fit for the breed. I don't mind putting time into my dogs, my dogs are what I do that is my hobby. I would just hate to have a dog that's unhappy because I got one that was unsuited for my living situation, but it's hard to tell if all of the things I've read are exaggerated for not because people say the same for border collies and I have seen so many of them content to be house pets.
And if the kelpie is not the dog for me I would love some other suggestions. Sorry this was so long, I just didn't want to leave anything out.