Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog, or Iceland Dog, is the Iceland's only native dog which is descended from the Nordic Spitz dogs. In his native Iceland it is known as fjarhundur and Islenskur Fjárhundur. These dogs were brought to Iceland over twelve centuries ago. By 1935, disease reduced their number to just 35, but breeders from Iceland and great Britain saved the breed from extinction. Although similar to other members of the spitz family, the Iceland Dog is more of a herder than a hunter. On the farm, they herd and protect sheep, horses, and cows. Tough and energetic, they are especially skillful in finding sheep buried in the snow and are often used in rescue operations. In the old days, no Icelander travelled without a dog.

According to the breed standard, the ideal height at the shoulders should be between 12 and 16 inches. There are coat types, long and short, which are extremely weatherproof. The double coat consists of a coarse outer coat and a thock, soft undercoat.

One of the rarest breeds in the world, the Iceland Dog is a remarkably hardy, strong and agile fellow, loves people, and is very gentle with children. He will alert you about strangers, but is never aggresive towards people or animals.

Adapted from

  1. FCI Standard #289
  2. Christine Hartnagle Renna. Herding Dogs
  3. Andrew Evans. Iceland




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