Kabookie & Riley at the yards with stubborn cattle

​A History of the Koolie


One of the ancestors of the Koolie is believed to be the German Tiger, a German working breed, merle in colour with a short, medium, long, curly or rough coat. They were brought to Australia in the early 1800's for stock work. Another ancestor of the Koolie is thought to be the smooth-coated Collie from the highlands of Scotland which were merle, black and tan or solid black in colour. They were also brought to Australia in the early 1800s for stock work.


The Koolie has been traditionally bred to meet the demands of the grazier, stockman and drover to move all stock and to be a close companion to its human partner.

Koolies are confident all-round dogs with a natural ability to head, herd and heel. They have the ability to block with force when necessary, mob stock together (and keep them together) quietly, using speed and force when needed. Koolies are hardy, displaying endurance and enough speed to outrun and head stock when required. They remain alert on the job, ready to spring into action and have the ability to relax when the stock are traveling quietly and are under control. Koolies are extremely intelligent, learn quickly and think for themselves.








They are generally receptive to commands although often they will disobey when they know their master has made an error of judgement, usually saving them a lot of time and trouble. Koolies can adjust to difficult situations and often surprise their master with their intelligence and clever actions. It is not uncommon for Koolies to come to the rescue of a farmer who has been trapped and injured by a cranky beast without being called upon to do so.


Koolies display a small to moderate amount of eye, often only lowering their head slightly to observe the stock and position themselves accordingly. Koolies don’t often show ‘eye’ in a very noticeable way but display great concentration and intuition making them capable of anticipating the stocks next move.


Koolies are eye-catching, well balanced, medium sized dogs, often with unusual markings in the form of flecks and patches of colour. The two main colours are red or blue merle although solid coloured and black and white are becoming more popular. Eyes can be blue, brown, green, black, yellow/gold or grey or a combination of blue and another colour. Ears are moderate sized, triangular shaped and usually pricked or semi-pricked. The coat can be short, medium or long, short becoming far more common and often the preferred coat type due to the ease of grooming when working on farms with seasonal grass seeds being an ever present problem.


The true Koolie is and always has been an intelligent, healthy, loyal, hardworking breed, bred for agricultural work, with abilities that see it just as comfortable in service, sport and companion roles. The nature, biddability and character of the Koolie is what sets this breed apart, not its different colour/coat types.


Today Koolies are used in many differing roles, as search and rescue, alert dogs for seizures, human assistance dogs, customs, all sports and family companions, but their strength and value remains on the farm.


The Koolie is well known for his natural working instinct but unfortunately, the occurrence of complaints about dogs lacking ‘working instinct’ has, in recent times, increased remarkably. This problem is thought to be due to the increase in urban and backyard breeders. Often the dogs of these breeders have never worked or even laid eyes on stock for many generations and over time, the natural working instinct deteriorates fairly quickly.


Koolies are primarily a working dog with a naturally strong herding instinct. They require plenty of exercise to keep their bodies fit and their minds occupied. Koolies are best suited to a working lifestyle, a sport such as agility, or as a companion for an active family with a big back yard and plenty of energy. A bored Koolie can very quickly become a destruction machine which can unfortunately lead to the pound or being dumped.













































A Boy & His Dog

After work is finished for the day



Check this space for upcoming schools & workshops:

Schools and workshops are held regularly to assist koolie owners to fine tune their training methods and help those just starting out with working dogs. Other working breeds are welcome to attend. New people are always welcome.


Next Workshop:


Venue: Homewood, Sandy Creek, N.S.W. (between Scone and Murrurundi)


Instructor: To Be Announced


TAKING BOOKINGS NOW - to be confirmed


For full details please see the Working Koolie Association website.



Romida Koolies would like to acknowledge and thank the following people for their input and permitted use of their copyright material:


Enid Clark - Hunterslea Koolies

Trudy Dive - Koolkuna Koolies

Lyn Thomsen - Photo Revival

Tracy Sands


Our apologies to anyone whose work we may have inadvertantly used without permission. If you find anything on this site please contact us so we can rectify the problem.



ROMIDA CODY - aged 10