Icelandic Sheepdog is a tough, agile and lively medium sized dog. The Nordic herding spitz dog is native to Iceland. These dogs work excellently in herding or driving livestock in pastures and mountains. They are also useful in searching lost sheep with the help of their keen sense of smell.
Modern Welsh Corgi and Shetland Sheepdog are believed to have descended from these dogs. Certain other names for these dogs are Icelandic Spitz, Islandsk Farehond, Íslenskur fjárhundur, Canis Islandicus, Iceland Dog etc.
They were brought to Iceland by the first Viking settlers in 874-930 AD. Icelandic Sheepdog dog breed was on the verge of extinction during the late 20th century. Therefore, Icelandic Dog Breeder Association was formed in 1969 for the breed’s re establishment.
Appearance-wise, these dogs are quite similar to Norwegian Buhunds. The rectangular and well muscled body is longer than it is tall. In terms of head, the skull is slightly longer than the muzzle which tends to be well developed. The muscular neck is slightly arched and moderately long. Eyes are medium in size and dark brown in color. The triangular ears are also moderate in size. The high set tail is bushy and curled over the back.
Color: These dogs are available in black, grey, chocolate brown and various shades of tan.
Height: On an average, these dogs are about 12 to 16 inches in height.
Weight: The ideal weight of Icelandic Sheepdog breed ranges between 20 to 30 pounds
This long lived breed is fairly healthy but still susceptible to Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation and other joint and bone related health issues. The population of these dogs had decreased considerably in the late 19th century due to canine distemper but the problem has been controlled now.
Life Expectancy: The average lifespan of an Icelandic Sheepdog is about 12 to 15 years.
Litter Size: 3 to 6 puppies
The thick and extremely weather proof double coat of a these dogs can be of either of the two varieties, that is, short haired or long haired. These dogs blow the hair coat two times in a year. It needs to be brushed and combed on a weekly basis.
In addition, dewclaw nails that cannot reach the ground should be clipped from time to time, or else they can grow too long. Icelandic Sheepdog grooming, however, does not emphasis on bathing the dog too frequently because these dogs are relatively clean.
Icelandic Sheepdog temperament is cheerful, energetic, friendly, playful, affectionate, trustworthy, bold, curious and watchful. These lively dogs are good with children. They do not have strong hunting instincts thus, they can co exist peacefully with other pets in the house. These dogs thrive on human companionship and can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for some time.
These alert dogs tend to bark a lot and make good watchdogs. Nonetheless, they are usually friendly with strangers. Icelandic Sheepdogs are devoted towards their owners and serve as excellent companion dogs. These intelligent dogs need to be consistently trained and socialized to keep them disciplined and avoid behavior problems. They are characterized by great determination and endurance.
These lively and active dogs require moderate to high amount of exercise on a regular basis. They thoroughly enjoy long daily walks and jogs. These loyal and hardworking dogs love to be engaged in farm work and outdoor activities.
Hence, they are considered more suitable for country setting. Besides, they can go on playing for hours. Therefore, in order to keep your delightful Icelandic Sheepdog healthy and happy, make sure you have sufficient space for the dog in a large sized yard in your house.