(aka: Icelandic Spitz, Iceland Dog, Friaar Dog, Islandsk Farehond, Islenkur Fjarhundur, Canis Islandicus)
The Icelandic Sheepdog had a large nose and black-pigmented lips. The eyes are medium sized and dark brown. The head is arched with a rather compact muzzle. It has sturdy forelegs and double dewclaws which are similar to those of a Lundehund. The Icelandic Sheepdog is a Nordic herding spitz, slightly under medium sized with prick ears and a curled tail. Seen from the side the dog is rectangular; the length of the body from the point of shoulder to point of buttock is greater than the height at withers. The depth of the chest is equal to the length of the foreleg. The expression is gentle, intelligent and happy. A confident and lively bearing is typical for this dog. There are two types of coat, long and short, both thick and extremely weatherproof. There is a marked difference in appearance between the sexes.
Icelandic Sheepdog Temperament
The Icelandic Sheepdogs are tough and energetic. It 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 Sheepdog is by nature very alert and will always give visitors an enthusiastic welcome without being aggressive. Hunting instincts are not strong. The Icelandic Sheepdog is cheerful, friendly, inquisitive, playful and unafraid. Most adore children and get along well with other dogs and pets. Owners need to be consistent with the rules, calm but firm. They do best with some type of job to do.
The Icelandic Sheepdog has a double coat - thick and extremely weatherproof. There are two variants: Short haired: The outer coat is of medium length, fairly coarse, with a thick, soft undercoat. The hair is shorter on the face, top of head, ears and front of legs, longer on the neck, chest and back of thighs. The tail is bushy and the hair length is in proportion to the coat. Long haired: The outer coat is longer than the above, fairly coarse, with a thick, soft undercoat. The hair is shorter on the face, top of head, ears and front of legs, longer behind the ears, on the neck, chest, behind the forelegs and back of thighs. The tail is very bushy and the hair length is in proportion to the coat. This breed does shed and normally blows its coat twice a year. It is important to trim the dew claw nails regularly as because they have no contact with the ground they can easily become too long.
The Icelandic Sheepdog is Iceland's only native dog. It was brought to Iceland with the first Viking settlers (AD 874 - 930). The Icelandic Sheepdog and its method of working adapted to the local terrain, farming methods and the hard struggle for survival of the Icelandic people over the centuries, making it indispensable in the rounding up of livestock on the farms. The Icelandic Sheepdog s popularity has increased over the last few decades and, despite the fact the breed is still very small in numbers, it is no longer considered to be in danger of extinction. It is most likely descended from dogs introduced by Scandinavian colonists. It is probably a relative of the Norwegian Buhund. The Icelandic Sheepdog was recognized by the AKC in 2008.
The Iceland Sheepdog is intelligent, quick to learn, and eager to please. Basic obedience is recommended. The Iceland Sheepdog breed does not respond to harsh or heavy-handed methods. Training must be done with fairness, firmness, and consistency.
The Icelandic Sheepdog is usually a fairly healthy dog and has a life span of about 12 years.