Icelandic Sheepdog

Developed from the ninth century Nordic dogs that accompanied the Vikings to Iceland, the Icelandic Sheepdog is the only native dog of Iceland and one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. The dog was used as a herder and farm hand, rounding up sheep, horses and cattle. The Icelandic Sheepdog was bred and adapted to the region's challenging climate conditions and rugged terrain. By the 1900s, as farming needs from the dog diminished, this breed nearly became extinct. A recent effort by breeders to revive the Icelandic Sheepdog was initiated. Although the existing number of these dogs remains limited, the breed's popularity has risen. The Icelandic Sheepdog was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the herding group in 2010.

The Icelandic Sheepdog is an agile, medium-sized dog. He stands 16 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 20 to 30 pounds. The breed's double coat may be either short or long, with a thick, soft undercoat that is topped by a straight, thin-haired coat. The coat comes in a wide variety of colors and markings, including white, black, brown, tan, red and gray. The Icelandic Sheepdog has pointed ears that stand erect and a bushy tail that curls up over his back. Personality: The Icelandic Sheepdog may occasionally revert to his instincts as a herder and attempt to corral all family members, but he is not a hunter. He thrives on human interaction, gets along well with children and other pets, and he craves the company of his family. This results in separation anxiety in some dogs when left home alone. Like most herding dogs, the Icelandic Sheepdog is also sensitive to sounds, and some may suffer anxiety when exposed to thunderstorms or fireworks. Most of the time, the breed is happy and eager to please. He is alert and barks enthusiastically at those who approach his home, making him a good watchdog. This is a working breed. He is highly intelligent and eager to please, making him easy to train. He is also inquisitive and must be kept occupied, however, or he may seek out his own potentially destructive activities. He is energetic and requires daily exercise. Icelandic Sheepdogs should be provided with physical and mental stimulation. They make excellent candidates for agility coursing and obedience trials. For a willing partner who will accompany your daily jog along the beach or spend a tireless afternoon catching a Frisbee in the backyard with the kids, the active and fun-loving Icelandic Sheepdog makes a devoted family pet and lovable companion.

Icelandic Sheepdog image
Life Span
12 - 16 years
Other Names
The Iceland Spitz, The Iceland Dog, Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog Build Information

Size
Medium

The Icelandic Sheepdog is an agile, medium-sized dog. He stands 16 to 18 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 20 to 30 pounds. The breed's double coat may be either short or long, with a thick, soft undercoat that is topped by a straight, thin-haired coat. The coat comes in a wide variety of colors and markings, including white, black, brown, tan, red and gray. The Icelandic Sheepdog has pointed ears that stand erect and a bushy tail that curls up over his back.

Behaviour and Personality

Kid Friendliness
Affection Level
Activity Level

The Icelandic Sheepdog may occasionally revert to his instincts as a herder and attempt to corral all family members, but he is not a hunter. He thrives on human interaction, gets along well with children and other pets, and he craves the company of his family. This results in separation anxiety in some dogs when left home alone. Like most herding dogs, the Icelandic Sheepdog is also sensitive to sounds, and some may suffer anxiety when exposed to thunderstorms or fireworks. Most of the time, the breed is happy and eager to please. He is alert and barks enthusiastically at those who approach his home, making him a good watchdog. This is a working breed.

He is highly intelligent and eager to please, making him easy to train.

He is also inquisitive and must be kept occupied, however, or he may seek out his own potentially destructive activities. He is energetic and requires daily exercise. Icelandic Sheepdogs should be provided with physical and mental stimulation. They make excellent candidates for agility coursing and obedience trials. For a willing partner who will accompany your daily jog along the beach or spend a tireless afternoon catching a Frisbee in the backyard with the kids, the active and fun-loving Icelandic Sheepdog makes a devoted family pet and lovable companion.

Appearance

Shedding
Heavy
Grooming
Moderately

The Icelandic Sheepdog's thick, double coat requires weekly brushing to detangle the hair, prevent matting and minimize shedding. Brushing his teeth several times each week will play a key role in maintaining good dental and overall health.

Breed's Talents and Facts

Training
Easy
  • Originated in Iceland, the Icelandic Sheepdog is also called an Iceland Spitz and an Iceland Dog
  • The Icelandic Sheepdog is an intelligent, friendly and devoted family member with a fun-loving, happy disposition
  • The Icelandic Sheepdog stands 16 to 18 inches tall and weighs 20 to 30 pounds
  • Icelandic Sheepdogs have a high energy level
  • The Icelandic Sheepdog requires moderate grooming
  • The average lifespan for an Icelandic Sheepdog is 12 to 16 years

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Common Health Conditions in Icelandic Sheepdogs

The Icelandic Sheepdog is remarkably robust and hardy. Few genetic health conditions other than hip dysplasia and an eye disorder called distichiasis have been noted, and the Icelandic sheepdog lives an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years.

Icelandic Sheepdog Pet Insurance

When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.

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