Bolt the kelpie loves to herd sheep on his mixed cropping and sheep farm in Moorilim. His owner Rob Brown said Bolt was getting a bit aggravated in his old age, growling at people who come to visit, but guests will discover that Bolt is a loving dog who enjoys a pat and a belly rub.
How did Bolt get his name?
We got him 11 or 12 years ago from Murchison breeder Jim Ewart, who had bred a few dogs. The kids named him, and Bolt was a character in a cartoon film at the time. He tires pretty easily now, but he still pushes the sheep too hard — it really suits his name.
Is he trained?
Most kelpies have a natural ability, but he was trained by my father Allan Brown, who trained him on-farm. He's 88 years old now but has been on the farm since he was 16 and he's always been interested in training dogs. Bolt is very good at walking with you around the farm, he's faithful and always comes back to you.
Does he like the farm?
His strength is in the yard rather than the paddock, probably because he doesn't have to run as far. We had the opportunity for the kids to work with the sheep when he was in his prime, so it was good for them to learn animal behaviour.
What does he eat?
He gets a lot of scraps from lambs. The vet commented on how good his teeth were, which is just from bones.
Where does he sleep?
He sleeps in a bed outside and we don't usually let him inside the house. When there's a thunderstorm though, he's scared and sneaks inside and hides under the kitchen table.
Does he travel with you?
He travels in the back of the ute but has some trouble getting up now and needs a bit of a warm up.
Do you spend a lot of time together?
It's a bit seasonal, when we need to move sheep or push them through gateways. I've been looking for another kelpie to be his successor but haven't been able to find one. Kelpies have a natural ability to herd sheep and I've been pretty happy with them.