New 6th edition of this very popular manual designed for all Kelpie owners of every level from raw beginners through to experienced trainers. This practical manual deals with everything involved in owning and training a Kelpie to ensure he grows up to be a well mannered, obedient dog.

The book is not about training on livestock! It deals with general obedience training, socialising your Kelpie, feeding, crating, toilet training, preventing problem behaviour, dominance issues, car travel, bathing, digging holes, stealing food, walking on a lead, coming when called... and much more.

Over 100 pages. ... $32 (Plus $3 post Aust.)

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Noonbarra Kelpies are bred for Work!

That is the first and foremost goal to our breeding program. All other attributes take second place. Working Ability comprises many things - it is not, as some people think, either a dog works or he doesn't. There are many different traits that make up the working ability and there are many different levels of competence in each of these traits. To make an analogy, it is like saying I can run so therefore I am the same as an Olympic track star. There is a good deal of difference in our level of competence.

At Noonbarra, we have the experience and knowledge behind us to understand what we need when it comes to working traits. This is not the case with all breeders and many breeders with just a couple of years experience don't have a true benchmark that they can assess their breeding against. That's why we often hear enthusiastic new breeders expecting to breed perfect dogs within a year or two. The older, more experienced breeders know better. It is nice to have a goal in mind but more important if a breeder has actually achieved that goal.

Some of the things we look for in our Kelpies that we breed is a lot of keenness to work, a dog that will continue to work even when tired and not give up when the going gets tough. This is important as we use that keenness in our training and we train so that working the livestock is always a reward for the dog. All the same, as much as we need keenness, we also need a dog that is biddable (obedient) and will come away from the stock when commanded. That's a dog that has a nice balance of things.

Another important trait we want, is a dog that can come right in close to stock but keep his head under pressure. A dog that doesn't get frustrated or lose his cool and become aggressive on stock. The whole idea of having a top class working dog is to work the stock more effectively and that includes moving them with the least amount of stress.

The Noonbarra Kelpies are well known to give sheep and cattle the room to move without crowding them. Too many dogs being bred today don't let up and keep forcing the stock until they break away. That is not good stockwork. Sheep in particular like to have enough room to walk away from a dog. a dog that pushes in too close will just make the sheep stand and fight and that's not what we want.

We don't like rough, loose-eyed dogs or dogs that are aggressive on stock or wildly excitable. We like to see a bit of nice style when the going is steady and we like to see a good wide break-out when going around the stock. We like dogs that have a lot of 'real' strength and can walk up calmly and confidently and not back down.

Our dogs here at Noonbarra work around 2300 Merino Sheep and about 200 First Cross sheep as well as 100 Cattle over 1500 acres plus another 300 nearby. We also do stockwork on a number of other properties in the district on various sheep breeds, cattle and goats.


Sept 2010: Just would like to let you know that Cruz had a great trip home , he was great all the way . Introduced him to the mob of sheep and he went straight to work and rounded them up right away and didn't want to stop , he's a great little dog and I would like to thank you for the whole experience its been great from the moment I first contacted you , Cruz will fit into our family perfectly and will be well loved .     Thank you Dennis and little Sharni       


The Noonbarra Kelpies have been well known for their cattlework since the early 1980's. Rockybar Smart (born 1979) was an outstanding dog on cattle and we did a lot of contract cattlework with him from dairy breeds to mixed beef breeds to wild cattle on run-down properties that had not been mustered for years. He spent two years with a cattle contractor in Queensland and was one of best cattle workers in the country.

Many of his offspring were also exceptional cattle workers including Noonbarra Tina who also did contract mustering of cattle for us on a number of different properties in scrub land, heavy timber, rocky hills and flat open country.

Noonbarra Gabe was well known for his ability on cattle as well as goats and sheep. Noonbarra Butch (by Noonbarra Gabe) was a very good cattle worker before he was even 12 months of age. He was filmed working cattle for a Toyota Ute T.V. advertisement when he was just a year old. There's currently Noonbarra Dusty, Flash, Megan, Sarah, Dan, Max, Jillaroo and many others that are experienced with Cattle as well as sheep.



Many others have excelled at Cattle work both here in the Noonbarra stud as well as dog we have sold. Noonbarra Tank and Noonbarra Murphy both work on different Cattle studs in USA. Murphy is in Oregon and Tank is in Arkansas. Many Australian properties we sell to run mixed farms with Cattle, sheep and usually a bit of wheat or oats too. A number of our dogs have also gone to work on Dairy Cattle properties.

We like our dogs to handle Cattle in a strong, calm way that does not over-stress the animals but still keeps them on the move, going to where we want them. The occasional bark on command done at the right time is also handy to keep the stragglers up with the rest of the herd. Only when the Cattle turn on a dog do we want to see any nipping. The last thing we want to see is out-of-control aggressive dogs hanging off the nose of some poor beast for no good reason except the dog lost control!


NOONBARRA EMMA  (Noonbarra Dusty X Noonbarra Lucy II)

Noonbarra Emma is owned by Darren Lackersteen and worked on a mixed property. Here is a letter from Darren in May 2003.

"Just a quick note to let you know how EMMA is going, Whilst trying to load young weaned calves today they wouldn't go up the ramp into the truck with habbit . I told my right arm, Emma to hop up an go she jumped up with out hesitation and backed app. 15 calves and came back underneath them with no worries at all. All the people at the yards were very impressed and had an enquiry for a pup from the truck driver  after I told him Emma was not for sale."


Owned and photographed by Darren Lackersteen from the Snowy Mountain region.


Owned by Darren Lackersteen from the Snowy Mountain region.

NOONBARRA TANK   (Noonbarra Prince X Noonbarra Valerie)

Tank is owned by professional stockdog handler, Charles Ridener in Arkansas USA. He was bought for Charles by Pam Beahm who has Noonbarra Shiloh. He has also released a stockdog training video that has sold thousands of copies in the USA. He mainly works cattle and a few sheep and of course has Border Collies although he has had some experience with Kelpies before.

Pam Beahm writes: " I talked with Charlie this AM. He is finally really training Tank. He has worked him but has been letting him just work and grow up. Now he is really training him. I have never heard him so impressed with a young dog. He said he is one of the very best 2 or 3 dogs he has ever had and that is a lot of dogs... He is especially impressed with Tank's strength. He is working him on some really old and mean rams. He said whenever one tries to face Tank he will just square off and start walking up to the ram. He said there is no biting and acting crazy just absolute confidence in his ability to control the stock."

" He had some men up from Texas to buy dogs to work. They had some dogs but they were just running and biting and running back out. Charlie said I want you to see how it is supposed to be done. He explained that Tank had just started in his training but put him out there to work. Charlie said until you can show someone a really good dog they just don't understand what a good dog really is. He also showed them part of your video and said when they had dogs like that to let him know until then he had no use for their dogs (He is getting old and cranky!!). "

They said yes but can he pen cattle. So Charlie said he hadn't really let him work the cattle yet because he is trying to really train him to work first. But he put him some on old mama cows he had just bought to really work some of his ranch type dogs. He said the cows chased the other man's dogs out, but Tank just went to work. They tried to back him down--once! He didn't have to bite or bark the cattle just knew he meant business. Charlie said Tank put them in the working pen in just a few minutes-no problem."

"Charlie said he has found his demonstrator dog for the next 10 years. He loves his strength and also how smooth he works. Other Kelpies around are not as smooth at working as the dogs you breed. "


NOONBARRA MATE (Noonbarra Dusty X Capree Dyna)

Noonbarra Mate lives in Germany.

Mate has his job with the cows now. He is doing this about 10 days now. Not an easy task because the paddocks are not small and there is other stock next door. He is doing fine! He covers very well (thats what I wanted a Kelpie for!) and has no fear. He only has to find out what is the best way to move single cows. I do not want him to stick at each single animal. He got stepped over twice (my heart stood still) but did not worry. He bites the nose first but has not found out about the hind legs yet.

To me it seems as Mate is enjoying his new job a lot. But as usual I am in his way a bit...

Maybe you can see that it is not an easy setup for the young dog. At the end the cows have to walk down the laneway and there are other cows in the paddocks to the right and the left. There is not a big fence between! So the dog has to concentrate on the big herd and leave the others behind. This is very exciting.

Yesterday a heifer broke away just in front of the barn entrance. This is something Kelpies really seem to hate! So we walked her back, no problem.

I guess I am spoiling Mate's working techniques a bit by controlling him quite a bit. But on the other hand we have not had anything bad happen so far and this relaxes both of us. And the cows do not worry. Already now I can see that the cows move with more respect compared to using my bitch Jan.


Cows do have a lot of respect (for him). He is still finding out how to "contact" them in the best way but improving every day. He is covering very well and making the right decisions when cows want to break out. It looks like he is enjoying it a lot! (me too)

NOONBARRA CRUISER (Noonbarra Prince X Noonbarra Valerie)

Cruiser is in the Unites States of America and is mainly a companion dog for her owner Helen. She has done a few sheep herding lessons on a ranch there.

Cruiser is enjoying the lessons, not that she needs much in the way of them.  She is such a good dog. Everyone at the training center says she is such a fun and good dog. She has such a nice calm walk up.    Yesterday we were in the arena together for the first time.  I feel sorry for her having to have me as an owner.  I am terrible at herding, but I will keep at it because I know she loves it.  She has been quite keen on eyeing  some cattle there, so the owners of the ranch let her on them for a very short period, well under their control.  Well, Cruiser just walked right up to them like no problem and the trainer had Cruiser moving them right along. I am so proud of that pup.

Noonbarra Mate

Noonbarra Flash

Noonbarra Max




Work in the stockyards is becoming more and more important these days and Noonbarra Kelpies have been excelling in this area as well. Noonbarra Luke was a multi-western NSW Yard Champion and Noonbarra Butch was Australian National Champion and also state Champion (a feat that has only ever been done by a few dogs in history), there was also Noonbarra Kate, Noonbarra Smart, Noonbarra Gabe, Noonbarra Tina, Noonbarra Judy and many others that did well at Yard trial competitions around the country.

In the early 1980's we wanted to improve the yard ability of our dogs but we didn't want to bring in too much blood of the yard dogs of the time, who for the most part were very aggressive, barking and biting dogs without much style. So instead we remained on the old bloodlines that produced good paddock dogs that were thinkers and had a lot of style about their work and we bred slowly over the years to select certain dogs with highly developed yard skills without losing their outside paddock ability.

Our dogs are extremely comfortable on the backs of sheep and this is an inherited trait. Backing can be taught to a lot of dogs but most don't ever feel really comfortable doing it and don't do it effectively. Some are even afraid and can become fear biters. Our dogs are happy to jump across wide gaps and understand that the safest place is on the backs. When they move across the backs they know where they are going and what they need to achieve.

Maybe even more important than backing skills in yard work is the dog coming back through the sheep. A lot of other dogs won't do this at all and of those that do, many confront the sheep, bite or don't work efficiently. If the sheep get over stressed or don't move forward as they should, then the dog is not doing the work as good as it can be. Many people come to see us and some have been second or third generation on the land and have never seen dogs like ours work efficiently in the stockyards. Many don't even know what can be achieved. One good dog and one handler can drench thousands of sheep a day in the yards with no help from anyone else at all. That is a big saving on extra labour and also less stressful for the sheep handler.


There are many other important things when selecting for a breeding program besides the obvious working ability. A few years back we started a concentrated process to improve the temperament and personality of Kelpies. Now as well as that we have also started to breed Kelpies that are calmer and easy to handle.

All these things are important in a working dog. A stockman (or women) has to spend many hours each day working together with their dog and it is just not fun if that becomes too hard. A dog that is friendly and loyal and not too excitable makes everything easier for everyone.

We also think that intelligence is very important and we prefer to breed Kelpies that are not just intelligent but also are able to problem solve. We don't just want dogs that obey commands, we want dogs that can learn and understand the work we are doing and be as helpful as a second person (often more helpful). Some stockmen can send their Kelpies into huge paddocks of thousands of acres and leave the dog to find the stock and start gathering them while the stockman can do other things.

Another trait that is really essential is stamina. A good working dog needs stamina to be able to keep going. The stamina is also tied in to the build of the dog as well. The dog should be like an athlete and able to move quickly for long periods without expending too much energy.

We have sold Noonbarra Kelpie for just about every type of situation imaginable. They are working wild cattle in outback western areas and dairy cattle in coastal areas and all types of sheep in all conditions from the small hobby farm of a few acres to big sheep stations comprising many thousands of acres. They have been worked on many varieties of goats and duck, geese, pigs, and more. They have been bought by professional drovers, stockman and women, farmers, sheepdog trial competitors, truck drivers and people from all walks of life. They have even been sold for search and rescue work in the mountains of Switzerland. Families have bought them as companions and for obedience and agility work.


The Noonbarra Kelpies have had experience on many breeds of goats from very wild feral goats in the mountains to African Boar Goats, Angora Goats, Saanan Milking Goats and Pygmy Goats.


Our Noonbarra Kelpies have also been sold to properties working Alpacas, Geese and other livestock.


Noonbarra Tina


The Noonbarra Stud has bred many Kelpies that have won sheepdog trials. We have also trained a number of dogs that are so versatile they have won Arena (3 sheep) trials, Ultility Sheepdog Trials, Yard Dog Trials and farm type trials, including Championships. One of these dogs was our top sire, Noonbarra Gabe, another was Noonbarra Tina.

Many of our customers went on to win with their Noonbarra Kelpies too. The most famous would of course be Noonbarra Butch who was owned by Michael Johnston of the Milburn Kelpie Stud. This dog was the State Champion and then went on to win the Australian National Open Championship.

Another sensational Trial dog was Noonbarra Luke. He won most of the big championship Trials in the outback. places such as Bourke, Collarenebri etc. He was also used as a sire for a number of well known Kelpie Studs in Australia including the Clovaville Stud.

Noonbarra Smart II, Noonbarra Kate I, Noonbarra Shane, Noonbarra Judy, were all good sheepdog trial dogs. Other Noonbarra Kelpies who have won Sheepdog Trials include Noonbarra Mate, Noonbarra Mack, Noonbarra Moss, and Noonbarra Bindi.

Keep in mind that sheepdog trials are only a sport and don't always reflect the everyday work that is needed to be done on an Australian property. Although we have enjoyed participating in trials we have never considered them important from a breeding point of view and still prefer to breed dogs that are complete versatile all round dogs rather than just trial specialists.

Noonbarra Judy in NSW State Arena Championship

Worked by Mary Bilson


To Steve & Mary , Just writing to let you know how Mack is going. I am extremely happy with how he has turned out. I sent him back into timber country on his own to round up a mob of about 15 sheep which would of worked out to be about 2 kilometers away, after waiting a few minutes he turned up with the 15 sheep and 1 horse. He has a brilliant cast and shows no hesitation in backing in the yards or going underneath them. I will be testing him again in up comming trials although I have taken him when he was 9 months and received a score of 76.

From Craig Johnston


He has won twice in the lowest class and placed third in the next one up. After the last trial the judge said that my Kelpie was the dog with the best balance of all dogs of this trial and that he has an immense feeling for his stock.

Mate did so well , even with so less training. He did a beautiful outrun....Mate lifted his sheep just perfectly calm and straight. Without any commands of course, because the sheep were on 200 metres and the wind was blowing from against me. I was very proud of this little dog! Also the "trial community" starts to ask different questions to me...

Just watched TV tonight and the great thing was that Mate and I were on it. Went to a trial yesterday and the little dog won it! And as they had the camera team there the whole day we got taped and broadcasted!

 It was a different type, not British. More like a utility type with 15 sheep - under German herding conditions. But to me very simple. But still, there were other dogs, even open class, there and I only lost 7 points so we made it!



Noonbarra Working Kelpie Stud

Mary and Stephen Bilson.

539 Lookout Road, Mullion Creek via Orange

Postal Address: P.O. Box 1374, Orange NSW 2800, Australia

Ph. (02) 6366 0499

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