The Icelandic Sheepdog or “Dog of the Vikings,” which is the name given because Vikings themselves brought this breed to Iceland, belongs by the FCI to the Nordic Watchdogs and Herding Dogs group in the class of primitive dogs. He is a close relative of Norwegian Buhund, in fact, the Icelandic Sheepdog was developed from this breed. Both of these breeds are typical Spitz type dogs. So, what is an Icelandic Sheepdog like? As the breed’s name suggests, this is a shepherd or herding dog, perfectly adapted for driving, charging, and preventing livestock from straying. It is in his nature, which is why he often barks a lot. Sometimes it can be really annoying. However, this habit makes him an excellent watchdog. He will bark a lot at the visitors, strangers especially, but won’t be aggressive towards them.
The most recognizable Icelandic Sheepdog characteristics are agility, courage, endurance, alertness, great sense of orientation, inquisitiveness, intelligence, loyalty, and boldness. His lifespan is from 12 to 15 years. Icelander is always playful and friendly, which is why he’s an ideal dog for children. Also, he’s nice and friendly towards other pets. Energetic, social, cheerful and fearless, what else would you want from a family friendly dog? In the case you lose a sheep, or any other animal, don’t worry, just let this buddy do the search. He’s an expert in finding lost livestock. Thanks to his incredible sense of smell, he can unmistakably follow the scent of lost livestock from afar.
Like all other Sheepdog breeds, he is a working dog, so you will have to organize some appropriate duties for him during a day. In other words, you’ll have to play and exercise a lot with this dog, whenever it’s possible. This “shepherd” demands an owner capable to be a firm leader. Icelanders are smart dogs, they are relatively easy to train, and they are quite obedient too. This dog can successfully compete in various dog sporting events, such as agility trials. Those are some of the main Icelandic Sheepdog characteristics. Looking at them, you can easily figure out why people often say that this dog’s spirit is too big for his body. Now let’s take a look at his proportions, coat, and other physical traits.
Main Physical Icelandic Sheepdog Characteristics And Appearance
The Icelandic Sheepdogs are small in size. There are two types – Short-haired and Long-haired. Both of these have a double coat, which is waterproof. Short-haired have a thick and soft undercoat, and medium-length outer coat, which is quite rough. Long-haired dogs too have a soft and thick undercoat, however, their outer coat is a little bit longer with rough and slightly curled hair. In both cases, hair is longer on tail, stomach, chest, neck, and the hindquarters, while Long-haired dogs also have longer hair on the back of their front legs (feathers) and behind their ears. They shed twice a year, so you’ll have to groom and trim their coat from time to time. They can be black, grey, brown, maroon, and white. The white motives are common to all of them, especially on the lower parts of the coat. It is actually prominent color in both types of this breed – the one of the main Icelandic Sheepdog characteristics.
This dog has a brushy tail set high, slightly curved above the back. His almond-shaped eyes are brown with black eye-rims. The nose is almost black, and his spiky snout is medium-sized. His neck is muscular and thick. The wedge-shaped head is slightly arched and strong with flat cheeks and triangular ears on top, which are quite movable by the way. That’s why our little furry friend has an incredible sense of hearing. He’s a little longer than tall at withers, and has a strong and straight back. Common for all Icelandic Sheepdogs are dew claws on their hind legs. Speaking of legs, both pairs, front and back, are strong and tight with nicely rounded paws. When you take into account Icelandic Sheepdog traits, it is no wonder this dog is such an agile and resilient animal capable to easily move through the harshest of terrains and to withstand merciless winter conditions.
Icelandic Sheepdog Size And Weight:
– Height between 13 and 16 inches (33-41 cm)
– Weight between 24 and 31 pounds (11-14 kg)
– Height between 12 and 15 inches (30-38 cm)
– Weight between 24 and 24 pounds (9-11 kg)
Excellent Shepherd Dog
Herding ability, now that’s definitely one of the most useful, inborn Icelandic Sheepdog characteristics. Yeah, he’s the perfect companion for every shepherd, no question about that. This dog has extremely sharp senses, which combined with his agility and speed, makes him ideally “equipped” for this task. On top of that, he’s very smart, he can be trained relatively easy for herding. This is of great importance for coordination, which is necessary for this sort of team job. When trained, he can easily charge livestock to pasture or back to the pen. Also, he can keep livestock from straying, and if, in some case, they astray, he will find and drive them back. He can take control over livestock on his own, utilizing barking and fast moves, which is very useful if the shepherd decides to do something else or rest a little bit.
Agile And Competitive Dog
Looking at all of the abilities this dog possess, it’s no wonder that he is often used to compete in dog agility trials. That’s certainly one of the most recognized Icelandic Sheepdog characteristics, which also makes him an interesting dog for ordinary people, not only for the shepherds. Like I already said above, he’s fast moving and agile dog, capable of high jumping and head spinning direction changes. This, together with his sharp mind, is the reason Islander is an excellent competitor in different sorts of dog sporting events – flyball, tracking, rally obedience, showmanship, etc. Naturally, you will have to train him intensely for these competitions, and it will take a lot of your time, no question about that. However, if you do your work accordingly and prepare your dog the right way, we guarantee you will have a sporting dog to be proud off. Well, I’m sure you’ll be proud of this fur ball no matter what, he’s just adorable – human’s best friend for a reason!