The Icelandic Sheepdog is a medium-sized, spitz-type dog breed, which was believed to be a companion of the Vikings. This breed was primarily used as a herding dog, helping the pioneers in Iceland look after sheep, cattle, and horses. It faced extinction a few times in its known history. But thanks to preservation efforts, the breed’s number has increased considerably and many families have enjoyed the benefits of having one in their home.
Icelandic Sheepdog Dogs and Puppies
What is the Icelandic Sheepdog?
The Icelandic Sheepdog is an agile working dog known for its skills in herding sheep and other livestock animals. This breed is also a watchdog although it is not dauntless enough to be a guard dog. Although it does well working outdoors, it is not exactly the kind of dog you can leave alone in the backyard. It prefers to be indoors, near its family.
Where is the Icelandic Sheepdog from?
The Icelandic Sheepdog has Scandinavian roots and might have been brought to Iceland by the Vikings. This breed looks similar to the dog remains that were found in ancient graves in Denmark and Sweden. These graves are very old, dating back 8000 B.C. Because of its Nordic ties and association with the Vikings, the breed can be considered old.
The Icelandic Sheepdog’s existence was threatened a couple of times throughout history because of plague and famine. There was even a time when the epidemic was so bad even humans who had sick Icelandic Sheepdogs got affected as well. When the breed bordered extinction in the late 20th century, the Icelandic government banned the breed from being exported.
Initiatives to preserve the breed began in the 1950s when dog enthusiasts found there were a few pureblood Icelandic Sheepdogs left in Iceland. The breed’s population gradually increased since then.
There are not a lot of pure Icelandic Sheepdogs around today. The effort to keep the breed diverse and healthy is still continued to this day.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 2010.
Other names include:
- Icelandic Spitz
- Iceland Dog
- Friaar Dog
- Islandsk Farehond
What does an Icelandic Sheepdog look like?
Icelandic Sheepdogs look smart, lively, and gentle. They carry themselves with ease when they run across fields. Although they look cuddly, they are not exactly toy dogs. Their bodies are built for tough Icelandic climate—sturdy, enduring, and agile.
This breed has the following physical traits:
- Bushy and curly tail
- Rectangular from the side
- Medium-sized, alert and pricked ears
- Seemingly triangular head
- Dark muzzle and black or pinkish lips
- Brown, almond-shaped eyes are surrounded by black eye rim
Icelandic Sheepdogs are a little under medium size. They can weigh between 9 to 13.6 kg. Males stand at 18 inches and females at about 17 inches.
The breed’s waterproof coat can either be medium-lengthed or long, and both coat types are thick with a softer undercoat. Coat colors can be tan, cream, reddish brown, chocolate, gray, and black, with white and black markings.
What is the temperament of an Icelandic Sheepdog?
Icelandic Sheepdogs are friendly, affectionate, and playful. They are inquisitive and are often eager to learn new things. They may not be large dogs but they’re tough and agile. Because they’re cheerful and sociable, they can’t be excellent guard dogs. But they would always give their owners a heads-up when visitors are coming.
They are not known to be aggressive dogs and get on well with children and other pets and animals.
What health problems are common with Icelandic Sheepdogs?
Icelandic Sheepdog puppies are not very common. Starting price can be USD $800 or more, depending on the reputation of the breeder, as well as the quality of the line itself.
Where can you buy Icelandic Sheepdog puppies?
Buy Icelandic Sheepdog puppies from certified breeders. The American Kennel Club’s marketplace is a good place to start looking for puppies from lines with good quality.
Sweet, friendly, and playful, the Icelandic Sheepdog has the traits many people want in a pet dog. It is a huge plus that this breed gets along with children and other animals as well. Although it likes to stay indoors with its family, the Icelandic Sheepdog also likes to play outdoors. So, if you’re thinking of having this breed as a pet, make sure you’re able to take it outside for exercise.
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