History & Overview
The Icelandic Sheepdog, or Iceland Dog, is 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 exceptionally 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.
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 aggressive towards people or animals.
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 thick, soft undercoat.