Icelandic Sheepdog

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Is the Icelandic Sheepdog right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): ISD; Icelandic Spitz; Iceland Dog; Íslenskur fjárhundur; Islandsk Farehond; Friaar Dog

The basics:
The only native dog of Iceland, the Icelandic Sheepdog is the historic Spitz-type dog of the Vikings brought to the island nation around 874 AD along with the sheep they herded. This ancient breed appeared in the Icelandic Sagas and was alleged to be able to find a sheep hidden under 11 yards of snow. Hardy and happy, they make a delightful dog for the active outdoorsy family living in a cooler climate.

The breed was dangerously near extinction at one point when Iceland became flooded with imported dog breeds. However, after decades of work, the Icelandic Sheepdog's future seems secure. In 2010, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized it as a member of the Herding Group.

Appearance / health:
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a Nordic herding Spitz, slightly under medium sized with prick ears and a curled tail. Seen from the side the dog is rectangular; the length of the body from the point of shoulder to point of buttock is greater than the height at withers. The neck is moderately long and muscular with no loose skin. The depth of the chest is equal to the length of the foreleg. The expression is gentle, intelligent, and happy. There is a marked difference in appearance between the sexes.

Regular brushing and combing are important and considerable grooming may be required in spring when they shed their winter coats.
They require moderate amounts of exercise. Daily walks are sufficient to keep them healthy and happy. During the weekends, owners may take their dogs for camping, fishing, swimming, etc.

Icelandic Sheepdogs are prone to hip dysplasia - on average one out of every four worldwide that are tested have some form of hip dysplasia.

Behavior / temperament:
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a hardy and agile herding dog. Protective by nature, they may bark every time a stranger enters their territory though they are not very aggressive with strangers. These dogs treat their family and even other pets in the house as their property and guard them. Their hunting instincts are not strong yet they love to hunt small rodents. They were used to protect the sheep flocks and newborn lambs from birds of prey. Hence, they tend to observe and bark at every bird coming close to them.

They are fast learners. Early training and socialization is necessary to produce a lovable, well-behaved dog.

Icelandic Sheepdogs can be excessive barkers.


sweet, stellar disposition, Smiling, wonderful breed, rich red coat


Good early training, insistent barkers, young children, barkers


dense coated breed, herding style, double dew claws, therapy dog course, stealing abilities

Icelandic Sheepdog Training Tip

Icelandic Sheepdog

From 52 days ago

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