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Kelpies, pugs, poodles — meet the dogs of Bluey

Across 150 episodes of Bluey we’ve gone camping with a blue labrador, played cricket with a kelpie, flossed at a wedding with a blue heeler and most recently chatted real estate with a fox terrier.

We’ve also met Snickers the dachshund, Winton the English bulldog, Buddy the pug and even an Afghan hound named Indy.

But what are these dogs really like in real life? And do some make better house guests than others?

We look at a few of our favourites.

Bluey: Australian cattle dog

Bluey excited
Australian cattle dog()

Why we love them:

  • Intelligent and alert
  • Easy to train

What to watch for:

  • High energy levels mean they need space for a good run
  • Can be prone to deafness, so it’s important to find a breeder who does the necessary health checks

Just like Bluey, these fiercely loyal working dogs come with a smart brain.

An active breed developed to herd cattle and sheep across long distances, Australian cattle dogs thrive in wide open spaces where they can run.

But they also make excellent house pets if you’re prepared to put in the hard work.

“If you are going to get one in suburbia, make sure you join an obedience club,” says Sue Ford from the Australian Cattle Dog Society of New South Wales.

Mental stimulation is just as important so making them problem solve, such as with a snuffle mat, trick training or scent work, is vital.

“It’s nice to get the dog walking but it’s not really using its brain so try and do activities that use the dog’s brain,” says Sue.

“They get bored easily [so] it all comes down to training – they don’t come loaded with software.”

Most importantly, as they have been bred to nip and herd so you will need to accommodate their high prey drive and train them with an emphasis on obedience.

“They’ll learn your routine, and from six to 12 weeks old it’s amazing what you can teach them. You only have to show them once.”

Mackenzie: Border collie

Mackenzie 2
A woman holds the collar of a black and white border collie who is panting after rounding a flock of sheep
Border collie()

Why we love them:

  • Obedient and agile
  • Gets along with most breeds

What to watch for:

  • Needs plenty of exercise
  • Loves a good roll in the mud

A Border collie’s main purpose in life is to please.

These intelligent dogs are happiest when they are actively doing something for you.

“Even just retrieving a ball, they think they are achieving something [and] are doing something you want them to do,” says Joanne McCann from the Border Collie Club of Queensland.

It’s commonly believed that collies needs a lot of room but they are suited to normal suburban backyard as long as they get walked once a day to keep them fit.

They are also incredibly easy to train.

“You really only have to show them once or twice and they are on to it,” says Joanne, who has owned border collies for 25 years.

But if you’re looking for a dog that is happy to lay around all day, border collies are probably not for you.

“They want to be with you but they also want to be doing something, so if you don’t have the time to put into giving them at least an hour of activity, it’s probably not the dog for you.”

Jack: Jack Russell

jack cropped
Three jack russell dogs stand on top of a round hay bale
Jack Russells()

Why we love them:

  • Intelligent
  • Enjoys a long life expectancy, up to 15 to 20 years

What to watch for:

  • Stubborn streak
  • Can act out if bored

The original ratter is small and quick, a pocket rocket who is perfect for ferreting out vermin on farms.

But these days you’re more likely to find these small dogs resting on someone’s lap than working the field.

Their temperament can range from the chilled to the hyperactive so it’s hard to know which you’ll get with a Jack Russell.

“They are all different. One of my girls absolutely loves playing with balls and has one in her mouth all the time but the other just likes people and to cuddle,” says Robyn Bennett form the Jack Russell Terrier Club in South Australia.

Like most terriers, expect a stubborn streak. 

Boredom can often lead to naughty behaviour, including a predilection for escaping.

“You do have to be strict with them but once they learn, they are the best dog ever,” says Robyn.

Lila: Maltese

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Dog at RSPCA Queensland

Why we love them:

  • Affectionate
  • Perfect dog for teenagers

What to watch for:

  • Requires extensive grooming
  • Can be fussy eaters

Known for their long white tresses, this highly affectionate toy dog will win you over with its intelligent but cheeky nature.

“They can be shy and reserved at times but never fearful,” says Shaun Manning, who has been showing Maltese at dog shows for the past three years.

“They have a way of getting their own way.”

Anyone thinking of a Maltese however will need to consider the grooming required to keep their coat in good shape.

“Even if Stirling isn’t going to a show, he still requires a minimum of nine to 10 hours of grooming a week,” he says.

“As a family pet I would never recommend keeping them with their coat — visit a groomer every six to eight weeks for a clip.”

Lastly, it’s best not to leave your Maltese alone at home for long stretches as they prefer to be around people, especially their human family.

“If you leave them alone you can see it in their eyes, they get miserable. If you go away the Maltese will pine for you,” says Shaun.

“They have to be part of the family.”

Mrs Retriever: Golden retriever

Mrs Retriever cropped
a golden retriever looks towards the camera with a tilted head
Golden retriever()

Why we love them:

  • Gentle giants
  • Perfect for families

What to watch for:

  • Can shed extensively if not properly groomed
  • Susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia

Ask Karen Vowell of the Golden Retriever Club of Queensland how to best describe a goldie and she’ll tell you they are a KFC dog – kind, friendly and confident.

“They are very adaptable and very intuitive to people’s feelings so they are a very good family pet and [also] very good emotional support dogs,” she says.

“But don’t call them assistance dogs because when it comes to assistance they are lazy.

“Once they get through their teenage years – by about three years old – they are kind, laidback, gentle pets.”

Golden retriever are perhaps best known for their love of retrieving items for their owners.

“They love stuff. They don’t want one teddy bear they want 20 teddy bears and they want to choose one out.

“They very much love collections of things. They’re like kids, they want to have all their toys.”

Like most dogs, goldies love a run in the park but for the most part prefer to spend as much time as possible with you.

“The worst thing on earth for a golden retriever is to be locked outside the back door – they want to be part of your household and part of your life all the time.

Calypso: Australian shepherd

Calypso cropped
An Australian shepherd
Australian shepherd()

Why we love them:

  • Happy being indoors or outdoors
  • Suited to families with a newborn

What to watch out for:

  • Easily dominated by other dogs
  • Bad habits can be hard to unlearn

Aussie shepherds love people and are perfectly happy living without other dogs for company, as long as they are close to their human.

Loyal and loving, they’ll do what you want simply because you asked them to do it.

“They are very devoted to the people that they are with and get along with everyone,” says Ross Carlson, president of the Australian Shepherd Club of Victoria  

“They would much rather be sitting on your lap then to be playing ball without you. Whatever you’re doing, they want to do.”

Ross recommends owners should be of a good disposition and temperament themselves as Aussie shepherds can be fragile.

“They’ll bow down to whoever tells them to do something … you can break them … [so] you need a very soft, positive approach to be able to train an Aussie shepherd.”

The breed is just as happy living in the inner city as they would be on a 400-acre farm.

And with firm boundaries and clear expectations, Australian shepherds are easy to train.

“If you don’t have a consistent approach when it comes to training, it’s going to be hard work.

“If you don’t stop them pulling [on the leash] as a puppy, they will forever pull on the lead and drag you around.

“[But] if you have very firm boundaries, very clear expectations, they will love their life, there will be no dramas …

“They are a beautiful dog to live with.”

Read More:Kelpies, pugs, poodles — meet the dogs of Bluey