Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (Herding); CKC (Herding); FCI (Spitz and Primitive); UKC (Herding)


Medium. Weight: 20–30 lbs Height: Males 18 in; Females 16–16.5 inches


Has two coat varieties: Long and Short


Tan shades, Chocolate Brown, Gray, Black, All with White markings; Tan, Gray dogs have Black mask

Life Span:

11 to 14 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

The Icelandic Sheepdog is sometimes called "Dog of the Vikings".


Icelandic Sheepdog Overview

The Icelandic Sheepdog is the only native breed to Iceland. They are an older breed, brought to the country by Vikings during its colonization. The breed is small, useful for navigating the terrain while herding livestock. They are also regarded for their legendary sense of smell, having been knowing to find a sheep by scent alone buried under snow.


Icelandic Sheepdog Characteristics

The breed is part of the Herding Group of the AKC. This dog is compact, friendly and features a plush double coat in both shorter and long styles.


Icelandic Sheepdog Temperament

The Icelandic is happiest if he is involved in whatever is going on around him. This includes herding people and pets, playing with family members including children, or bravely adventuring into the unknown. The breed gets along well with everyone, and is a favorite due to his inquisitive and playful manners.

American Foxhound


Icelandic Sheepdog Care

The breed lives on average 11 to 14 years, typical for a smaller sized dog. There are few listed health issues, the most prominent being cataracts. While there may not be many health issues known, it is always a good idea to have complete Veterinary care throughout the life of the dog.


Icelandic Sheepdog Coat

The Icelandic features one of two coat varieties, long and short. Both feature a thick undercoat and ruffle of fur around the neck that should be brushed and combed to minimize shedding and matting. Careful brushing will keep the thick undercoat healthy and clean.


Icelandic Sheepdog Training

Like other herding breeds, the Icelandic is very intelligent and does well being challenged both mentally and physically. He picks up tricks and training very quickly, being eager to learn anything new presented to him.


Icelandic Sheepdog Activity

Icelandic Sheepdogs are very active and adventurous, so they should be regularly exercised on lengthy adventures. Stimulation both mentally and physically help keep the Icelandic happy and from creating his own games to entertain himself, some of which may be destructive.

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