Canine Breed Menu

Icelandic Dog

Icelandic Dog

Icelandic Dog
Breed Organization
The Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America
Native Country
Other Names
Friaar Dog, Iceland Hound, Icelandic Sheepdog, Islandsk Farehond, Islenkur Fjarhundur, Iceland Sheepdog
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years
Litter Size
Average 3-6 Puppies
Breed Group
AKC/FSS - Herding
Breed Appearance
The Icelandic Sheepdog had a large nose and black-pigmented lips. The eyes are medium sized and dark brown. The head is arched with a rather compact muzzle. It has sturdy forelegs and double dewclaws that are similar to those of a Lundehund. The Icelandic Sheepdog is a Nordic herding spitz, slightly under medium sized with prick ears and a curled tail. Seen from the side the dog is rectangular; the length of the body from the point of shoulder to point of buttock is greater than the height at withers. The depth of the chest is equal to the length of the foreleg. The expression is gentle, intelligent and happy. A confident and lively bearing is typical for this dog. There are two types of coat, long and short, both thick and extremely weatherproof. There is a marked difference in appearance between the sexes.

Breed Description
Head: Light and fairly broad. Distinct stop. Fairly short muzzle. Tight lips.
Ears: Broad at the base. Triangular with pointed tips. Carried very erect.
Eyes: Small, round. Dark color.
Body: Strong, fairly short. Not heavy. Strong neck. Broad, deep chest. Belly is well tucked up.
Tail: Moderate length. Thick. Carried curled over the back.
Hair: Hard, moderately long. Longer on the neck, thighs, and under the tail. Short on the head and legs. Lies flat on the body.
Coat: White with fawn, golden, or light fawn markings with black tips.
Size: Dog: 42 to 48 cm (16.5-18.9 in).Bitch: 38 to 44 cm ( 15-17 in).
Weight: 10 to 15 kg (22-33 lb).

This breed is probably descended from the Norwegian Buhund which was crossed with local Icelandic breeds. The Iceland Dog was used to guard sheep and horses. In the nineteenth century, the breed was almost wiped out by distemper, but was saved by breeders in Iceland and England.

This sturdy, hardy dog has a strong personality. He is affectionate and very friendly with people. This alert dog likes to bark, making him a good guard dog. Firm training is required.

This is a very healthy breed.

This breed is accustomed to living in the great outdoors, therefore keeping him as a house dog is not recommended. The Iceland Dog needs room to run. Regular brushing is required.

Icelandic Sheepdogs can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, rally obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Icelandic Sheepdogs that exhibit basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials. Herder, Guard Dog, Pet.

Horse Herd