Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog
Primary Current Function: 

farm dog, companion


Spitz / Nordic watchdogs and herders

Date of Origin: 

874 - 930 AD

Original Function: 

livestock herding

Place of Origin: 


Other name: 

Friaar Dog, Icelandic Dog, Iceland Sheepdog, Islenkur Fjárhundur, Islandsk Farehond


It is believed that this breed came to Iceland by way of the original Viking settlers many centuries ago. It is considered to be the only breed native to Iceland, and it was mainly used as a working dog.

Icelandic Sheepdog Breed Health

Average Size of Female: 

Height: 16.5 inches, Weight: 25 - 30 pounds

Life span: 

10 - 12 years

Minor concerns: 


Suggested tests: 


Average Size of Male: 

Height: 18 inches, Weight: 30 - 40 pounds

Occasionally seen: 


Major concerns: 


Icelandic Sheepdog Breed History

It adapted to not only the rough terrain, but also the methods used for farming. The Icelandic sheepdog has proven to be adept at herding livestock. While the popularity of this breed has increased during the last few years, it still remains a rare breed. However, it is said that this dog no longer faces extinction as it did prior to the mid-1900s. Research suggests that the Icelandic sheepdog is a descendent or relative of the Norwegian Buhund, and experts believe that other ancestors of the breed were dogs kept by those who colonized Scandinavia.

Icelandic Sheepdog Breed Appearance

Rectangular in shape, the Icelandic sheepdog features a large nose, brown medium-sized eyes, and a compact muzzle. The ears are alert and pricked, and this breed offers a happy, intelligent expression. The tail is generally curved and bushy, and the front legs are sturdy and strong. This breed comes in two different coat types, waterproof and thick, both of which are double coats. The short hair type has a coarse, medium-length outer coat and a softer, thick undercoat. The long hair type has a longer outer coat that is also quite coarse. The hair on both coat types is shorter around the face and longer around the neck, chest, and thighs.

Icelandic Sheepdog Breed Temperament

Full of energy and alertness, the Icelandic sheepdog is an accomplished herding breed. Its bark helps in herding and driving livestock to their destination, and this breed is also quite good at locating lost sheep. It is a friendly breed that will normally greet strangers warmly while making its master aware of visitors. This breed generally gets along very well with children as well as other dogs and family pets. The Icelandic sheepdog has a wonderful demeanor that is both inquisitive and friendly.

Icelandic Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

The Icelandic sheepdog sheds continually throughout the year, but sheds heavily twice a year. The nails of the dewclaws should be trimmed on a regular basis as they will grow too long because they do not touch the ground. As with most herding dogs, the Icelandic sheepdog must be provided with daily exercise and mental activity. It enjoys and needs to be with the family, and many may develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long. This breed loves to take long walks and can play for hours.

Icelandic Sheepdog Ratings & Reviews

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