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Dog Breed Trivia #225 – Icelandic Sheepdog

What is Icelandic Sheepdog?

Icelandic Sheepdog Dog Breed Trivia

What is Icelandic Sheepdog?
What is Icelandic Sheepdog?

What is Icelandic Sheepdog?


The Icelandic Sheepdog, often referred to as the “Icelandic Dog” or “Icelandic Spitz,” is a charming and resilient breed known for its adaptability to harsh climates and its unwavering loyalty. This unique breed has a rich history and many fascinating characteristics that make it a beloved choice for dog enthusiasts worldwide. In this article, we’ll explore the intriguing facts and characteristics of the Icelandic Sheepdog.

1. Ancient Heritage:

The Icelandic Sheepdog is one of the oldest and only native dog breeds of Iceland. It has a history that dates back over a thousand years, with its ancestors believed to have been brought to Iceland by Viking settlers around the 9th and 10th centuries.

2. Appearance:

  • Size: Icelandic Sheepdogs are classified as a small to medium-sized breed. Males typically stand between 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm) at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller.
  • Coat: They have a thick double coat designed to protect them from the harsh Icelandic climate. Their coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including sable, black and tan, and white with markings.
  • Tail: The Icelandic Sheepdog typically has a curled tail that rests over its back.

3. Temperament:

  • Friendly and Affectionate: Icelandic Sheepdogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are excellent family dogs and get along well with children and other pets.
  • Intelligent: This breed is highly intelligent and trainable. They excel in obedience training and dog sports.
  • Alert: Icelandic Sheepdogs are known for their keen sense of alertness. They make excellent watchdogs and will alert their owners to any unusual activity.

4. Herding Instinct:

As the name suggests, Icelandic Sheepdogs were originally bred for herding livestock, especially sheep, in the challenging Icelandic terrain. Their herding instinct remains strong, and they are skilled at corralling and protecting livestock.

5. Health and Longevity:

  • Icelandic Sheepdogs are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years.
  • Like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia and inherited eye conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups can help monitor and address these concerns.

6. Adaptability:

Due to their history in Iceland, Icelandic Sheepdogs are highly adaptable to cold weather. Their thick coat and sturdy build allow them to thrive in harsh winter conditions.

7. Exercise Needs:

While they are adaptable, Icelandic Sheepdogs are an active breed that requires regular exercise and mental stimulation. Daily walks, playtime, and opportunities to roam in a secure area are essential to keep them content.

8. Vocalization:

Icelandic Sheepdogs are known for their vocal nature. They may bark to alert their owners to visitors or other changes in their environment.


The Icelandic Sheepdog is a remarkable and ancient breed with a strong connection to Iceland’s history and culture. Their loyalty, intelligence, and adaptability make them wonderful companions for active families and individuals. If you’re looking for a loving and hardy dog that can thrive in various environments while providing endless devotion, the Icelandic Sheepdog might be the perfect addition to your life.

Jace Sinclair
Jace Sinclair
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