Icelandic Sheepdog

Thought to be companions to the ancient Vikings, the Icelandic Sheepdog dog breed was used to protect flocks, especially lambs, from birds of prey. They still retain the habit of watching the sky and barking at birds — as well as everything else they see or hear.

See below for complete list of Icelandic Sheepdog characteristics!

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Breed Characteristics:

Adaptability

Adapts Well to Apartment Living
1
Good For Novice Owners
1
Sensitivity Level
3
Tolerates Being Alone
2
Tolerates Cold Weather
5
Tolerates Hot Weather
3

All Around Friendliness

Affectionate with Family
4
Incredibly Kid Friendly Dogs
4
Dog Friendly
2
Friendly Toward Strangers
2

Health Grooming

Amount Of Shedding
5
Drooling Potential
1
Easy To Groom
1
General Health
3
Potential For Weight Gain
3
Size
3

Trainability

Easy To Train
3
Intelligence
4
Potential For Mouthiness
3
Prey Drive
4
Tendency To Bark Or Howl
1
Wanderlust Potential
4

Exercise Needs

Energy Level
4
Intensity
5
Exercise Needs
4
Potential For Playfulness
4

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
Height:
1 foot, 4 inches to 1 foot, 6 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:
20 to 30 pounds
Life Span:
14 to 15 years

More About This Breed

  • It's thought that invading Vikings brought the ancestors of this breed with them to Iceland in the ninth century. Thanks to the isolation of Iceland, today's Icelandic Sheepdogs — also called the Icelandic Spitz or Icelandic Dog — probably look a lot like their ancestors.

    For centuries the Icelandic Sheepdog was used to protect flocks, especially lambs, from birds of prey, and to this day he retains the habit of watching the sky and barking at birds. He also barks to alert his family to anything and everything that he sees or hears. He's too friendly to be much of a guard dog, but you'll never be surprised by visitors.

    Affectionate, confident, and playful, the Icelandic Sheepdog gets along well with people and other dogs. Males tend to be more laidback and cuddly than females. Trained with consistency and patience, Icelandics learn quickly and willingly.

  • Size

    The Icelandic Sheepdog is just shy of being a medium-sized dog. Males stand about 18 inches at the shoulder, females stand 16.5 inches. Weight is in proportion to height, ranging from about 20 to 30 pounds.

  • Coat Color And Grooming

    The thick double coat of the Icelandic Sheepdog is very waterproof and can be one of two lengths: medium or longer, always with a thick, soft undercoat. It can be straight or slightly wavy, and it comes in several colors — shades of tan, ranging from cream to reddish brown; chocolate brown, gray; and black — all with white markings and sometimes with a black mask. The tail is very bushy. Weekly brushing will keep the coat in good shape.