The Icelandic Sheepdog, is a member of the AKC Herding Dog Group. Did you know that this dog breed is Icelands only native dog?
They came to Iceland along with Viking settlers as early as AD 874. The Icelandic Dog is considered an indispensable member of this landscape, especially in the rounding up of livestock on all the farms in this country.
Thankfully, this dog breed is again gaining popularity and is no longer considered to be in danger of extinction.
Many consider it a relative of the Norwegian Buhund - to me they look very much like the Finnish Spitz as well.
They have a very foxy look to them as well with a high-set, curled tail; one, or often, two dew claws on each hind leg; and can come in two coat types: long and short, both thick and waterproof.
Keep in mind that the Icelandic needs a lot of exercise, activity and close contact to their own family. They don't like to be home alone and may have a lot of issues with separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. Most of these dogs simply adore children and often get along well with other dogs and family pets with proper socialization.
Watch a Icelandic helping with the laundry
The Iceland Breed Standard states:
“The Icelandic is a hardy and agile herding dog which barks, making it extremely useful for herding or driving livestock in the pastures, in the mountains or finding lost sheep. The Icelandic is by nature very alert and will always give visitors an enthusiastic welcome without being aggressive. Hunting instincts are not strong. The Icelandic is cheerful, friendly, inquisitive, playful and unafraid.”
This hardy little dog breed is often used as a working sheep dog but is often used as both a guard and working dog. Often, the Icelandic sheepdogs were used to prevent the sheep from straying from the flock. When all else failed, the dogs drove the animals by barking at them as they worked the flocks. Because of this tendency these dogs do tend to bark when they want something from you.
These are very intelligent dogs and are used to working on their own and having to figure things out for themselves. When used as a guard dog these dogs tend to bark a lot to let the owner know a stranger is approaching, so keep that in mind.
The Icelandic Sheepdog is very loyal and wants to be around its family constantly. It follows its owner everywhere. Unlike most working dogs, these calm down when indoors and will happily lie down at their master's feet and relax.
Country of origin: Iceland Lifespan: 10-12 years Colors: tan, reddish-brown, chocolate, gray, black, with white as a required prominent color Known health problems: Hip Dysplasia, Cataracts, Cryptorchidism, Distichiasis, Patellar Luxation