Life without a Icelandic is like dancing with no music – you can still do it,
but it’s not as much fun!” – Unknown
The Iceland Sheepdog, known outside North America as the Icelandic Sheepdog, is a member of the Spitz or Nordic group of dogs.
As his name suggests, he is a native of Iceland and was originally brought to that country by Vikings around 850 AD.
This intelligent and adaptable dog soon accustomed himself to the terrain of Iceland and became invaluable as a livestock herder and driver on the farms.
Brought back from the brink of extinction, the Icelandic Sheepdog is still considered rare in this country.
Photos displayed courtesy of Trisha Sheehan, OSheehan’s Perm Reg’d, British Columbia
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a strongly-built dog but stands no more than 18 inches tall at the shoulder. He has a thick, weather-proof double coat that is either short haired or long haired. The coat has a predominant colour in shades of tan (from cream to dark red), chocolate brown, grey, black tri-colour, or pied (patches of the above colours on white). White always accompanies the predominant colour. The most common white markings are a blaze, collar, chest, socks, and tip of tail. Lighter shading often occurs on the underside of the dog from throat to tip of tail. Solid white or black dogs are not permitted. Like other Spitz dogs, the Icelandic Sheepdog carries his tail curled up over his back.
Iceland’s only native dog has a happy and gentle expression. With a confident and lively air, he presents an alert, affectionate personality. Although smaller than most of the northern dogs, the Icelandic Sheepdog is hardy and agile and possesses plenty of endurance. He easily moves over varied and difficult terrain. A dog who is accustomed to having a job to do, the Icelandic Sheepdog is intelligent and easy to train as he learns very quickly. He makes a good watchdog but is not aggressive.
This dog loves the great outdoors, and regular exercise should keep him mentally and physically stimulated. Cheerful, friendly, inquisitive and playful, the Icelandic Sheepdog makes an enthusiastic companion who will adapt to suburban life as well as country living.