Dog Breeds

Icelandic sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog is the only Icelandic dog breed. Medium-sized Spitz is used for herding animals and guarding. Occurs in the long- and (much rarer) short-haired variety, in different colors. Nice companion dog.


The Icelandic Sheepdog is a charming dog. Cheerful, friendly, very attached to the owner. Because in Iceland, apart from the few foxes, there are almost no large predators, there was no demand for a hunting dog. Therefore, the Icelandic Spitz is basically devoid of hunting instincts, there is no tendency to vagrancy and poaching.


In Iceland, the task of these dogs was primarily to find before the beginning of the harsh winter and spend on farms sheep grazing on the vast mountain pastures. Dogs often had to work independently, without human guidance. Many of them still do this hard work today.

Icelandic sheepdog

The Icelandic Spitz also has a strong guarding instinct. When he wasn’t herding, he was used as a guardian of the house and farm.

Icelandic sheepdog. Training and education

Among the Spitz is considered one of the best family dogs. Compared to other Spitz breeds, he and his closest cousin, a buhund, are the easiest dogs to pose, the least independent. The guarding instinct is mainly manifested by warning barking.

Icelandic sheepdog

Who is this race for?

The Icelandic Sheepdog should please every dog ​​lover who values ​​natural beauty and is looking for a nice companion who will also be a watchman.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • somewhat independent
  • has a tendency to bark
  • intensely molting


  • easy to arrange
  • very attached to the family
  • at home, he is calm and does not impose himself
  • good watchman
  • does not show unnecessary aggression towards people and animals

Icelandic sheepdog. Health

Icelandic Sheepdogs are generally healthy breeds. There were no genetic diseases typical of the breed. They live without a problem 12-15, and some even 20 years. Of the genetic problems, hip dysplasia is the most common.

Icelandic sheepdog

There are eye problems, such as cataracts and distichiasis (abnormal eyelash growth towards the eye). Sometimes, there are slight missing teeth. Especially in Danish lines, there is a serious kidney disease, but fortunately, it is generally very rare.


Icelandic Sheepdogs are not particularly demanding in this respect, they can be fed both ready-made feeds and food prepared at home.

Icelandic sheepdog

Icelandic sheepdog. Care

Icelandic Sheepdogs require brushing once a week or two, more often during molting.


The Icelandic Sheepdog, sometimes called the Icelandic Dog, is the only native Icelandic breed. His ancestors were brought by Norwegian Vikings, who settled Iceland at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries.

Icelandic sheepdog

Settlers brought sheep and the spitz used to herd them. The shepherds of that time also became the ancestors of modern breeds – Norwegian Buhund, Swedish and Finnish Lapphund. Over the centuries of life in Iceland, dogs have adapted perfectly to the harsh conditions of the “island of ice”.

The first breed standard was developed in Great Britain, and the English Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1905. At the beginning of the century, many dogs were also brought to Denmark, where planned breeding began.

The breed has twice faced the specter of total destruction. For the first time, this happened at the beginning of our century, when dogs brought on ships brought a nose to Iceland. Icelandic Spitzs did not have sufficient resistance to this disease and began to rain massively. Eventually, the epidemic was under control.

However, as early as 1930, the existence of the breed was questioned again. At that time, an epidemic of Echinococcus tapeworm was spreading on the island, the indirect host being ungulates, and the final – including dogs. In the cities it was forbidden to keep any dogs, many of them were killed. The remaining dogs had to undergo annual deworming. The population was so reduced that it was necessary to bring dogs from Denmark for its reconstruction.

It wasn’t until 1969 that the Icelandic Kennel Club was established, which was to save the Icelandic Sheepdog. In 1979 the Icelandic Sheepdog Club took over the breed. Currently, the breed is still not numerous, but its existence is no longer threatened. A lot of kennels operate in the Scandinavian countries, as well as in Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and the USA.


Icelandic Sheepdog – Group V FCI, Section 3, Model No. 289

  • General appearance: A dog of slightly smaller height than average. His gaze expresses gentleness and intelligence.
  • Head: Strong and dry. The muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull. Almond-shaped eyes. Medium-sized, upright and mobile ears.
  • Body: Slightly longer than tall. Straight and strong back.
  • Forequarters: Straight and strong. Double thumbs may occur.
  • Hindquarters: Well muscled. Double wolf claws desirable.
  • Tail: Set high and curled on the back.
  • Movement: Giving the impression of agility and endurance.
  • Coat: Double-layered, thick, weatherproof. There are two variants of coat:
    a) Shorthair – the hair is not quite short, but of medium length. Ground cover quite stiff, undercoat thick and soft;
    b) long-haired – hair longer than in the previous case, forms a ruff on the neck, a feather behind the ears, on the back of the limbs and on the tail.
  • Color :
    – various shades of brown: from fawn to dark red
    – chocolate
    – gray
    – black and tan
    There are always more or less white markings. There may be a mask. Allowable patches, but white should not completely dominate.
  • Dimensions: ideal height for a dog: 46 cm, for a bitch: 42 cm.

Interesting facts

In Iceland, there are quite restrictive regulations regarding the import of animals and plants, aimed at protecting native fauna and flora. The import of raw food products such as meat and eggs is prohibited. Import of pets is possible on the basis of a permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Iceland, subject to quarantine.

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