Icelandic sheepdogs are the only breed known to have arisen there. Prickly ears and a curled tail differentiate this breed. In Iceland’s mountainous regions, this hardy, athletic, and intelligent breed was created to herd livestock.
Iceland is home to the Icelandic sheepdog, which is the only breed to have evolved there. This rare dog is also one of the oldest dogs on the planet. The Icelandic sheepdog is said to have arrived in Iceland with the Vikings, who arrived towards the end of the ninth century.
These dogs have adapted to the rugged terrain and the needs of Icelandic farmers and shepherds over the years. On Iceland’s rugged terrain, the breed will usually guard flocks and herd sheep and cattle. They became great friends to their owners and loved ones when they weren’t busy in the area.
A outbreak of canine distemper almost wiped out the Icelandic Sheepdog in the late nineteenth century. This disease claimed the lives of over 75% of Icelandic Sheepdogs. As a result, dogs are no longer allowed to be imported into Iceland. Imports were limited for a time until being outlawed in 1901. The Icelandic Sheepdog was once again on the verge of extinction in the late twentieth century. There were just around 50 Icies in the 1950s.
The Icelandic Dog Breeder Association was established in 1969 to aid in the preservation of the breed. In the United States alone, there are now over 800 Icies. In June of 2010, the Icelandic Sheepdog was honored by the American Kennel Club. Despite his cheerful, obedient nature, the Icelandic Sheepdog is not a common breed in the United States.
The Icelandic Sheepdog has a double-layered, waterproof suit. He has two coat lengths to choose from: short and long. Icies with a short coat have a medium-length, fairly coarse outer coat and a fluffy, dense undercoat. His tail will be bushy, and his fur will be equal to the length of his coat. Icies with a long coat would have a long, coarse outer coat with a fluffy, downy undercoat.
His tail is bushy, and the thickness of his fur is equal to the length of his coat. His face, back, and ears should all have shorter hair. While the Icelandic Sheepdog comes in a variety of colors, one color should still be dominant. Various shades of tan, chocolate brown, grey, and black are the most prominent colors. Tans can vary in color from light cream to dark reddish brown. White marks can also be seen on the breed. The white marks on the face, neck, chest, paws, and tip of the tail are frequently uneven and cover a portion of the face, collar, chest, feet, and tail tip. A black mask with black tips on the outer coat are common on grey and tan dogs.
- Weight: 12 to 15 kg
- Coat length: Short and long, double thick coat
- Amount of shedding: Low
- Color: Black, gray, brown, cream, fawn, silver, pied, brindle
- Pattern: White markings and sometimes have a black mask.
The Icelandic Sheepdog is normally a cheerful and affectionate dog. He has no fear of people and considers everyone to be a friend. And if he may bark when a stranger enters his house, he is not the best watchdog. The Icies can always be seen looking up into the skies in search of raptors. As a result, he is unsuitable as a playmate for domesticated birds.
If you have some pet birds, don’t leave him alone with them. He is vocal and can bark, but with consistent instruction, this behavior may be reduced. When it comes to play, the Icelandic Sheepdog is very intelligent and reacts well to positive reinforcement. He profits from maintaining a regular schedule that allows him to play and spend more time with his family.
He hates being left alone, so make sure there are lots of toys and stuff to keep him busy while he is. The Icelandic Sheepdog is a herding breed that will hunt down trucks, bicycles, bikes, and everything else with an engine. For the Icie, a fenced yard is a must.
- Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
- Active: High
- Intelligence: High
- Vocalize: High
Responsible breeders aim to uphold the highest breed quality set out by kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC). Hereditary disorders are less likely to occur in dogs bred to these requirements. However, the breed is prone to certain genetic health issues. The below are few things to keep in mind:
- Hip dysplasia: A disorder in which the hip socket of a dog develops abnormally, causing inflammation and joint complications.
- Patellar Luxation: The dislocation of the dog’s kneecap
- Cataracts: The opaque lens doesn’t permit an image to form on the retina, resulting in vision loss.
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