Icelandic Sheepdog: Dog Breed Profile

Country of origin: Iceland
Shoulder height: 40 – 48 cm
Weight: 12 – 18 kg
Age: 12 – 15 years
Color: cream, red, chocolate brown, grey, black, each with white markings
Use: working dog, sporting dog, companion dog

The Icelandic Sheepdog or Icelandic Hound is a medium-sized, hardy, spitz-type dog. It is friendly, sociable, and docile, but needs plenty of exercises and outdoor exercise. The Icelandic dog is not suitable for couch potatoes or lazy people.

Origin and history

The Icelandic Sheepdog is an old breed of dog that came to Iceland with the first settlers, the Vikings. The small, robust dog adapted well to the harsh climatic conditions and became indispensable to Icelandic farmers when rounding up cattle. The population of the breed declined sharply at the beginning of the 20th century. With the increasing popularity of Icelandic ponies in Europe, interest in Icelandic dogs also increased. The official recognition of the breed by the FCI in 1972 eventually led to international interest. Today, the dog breed is still rare, but the stock is considered secure.


The Icelandic Sheepdog is a medium-sized, spitz-type Nordic dog. It is built rectangular and has the typical pointed triangular erect ears, and a curled, bushy tail. The fur is very dense and has a lot of arctic undercoats, so it offers optimal protection against cold and wet conditions.

Icelandic dogs can be short or long-haired. In both variants, the top coat is quite rough, the undercoat is soft and lush. The base color of the coat can be cream, from light to dark red, chocolate brown, gray or black. In addition to the basic color, Icelandic dogs always have white markings and lighter shades on the chest and belly. All colors and coat types can occur within a litter.


Icelandic dogs have very friendly, happy personalities. They are always curious and playful and get along well with other dogs and animals. Although they report everything by barking, they are then open-minded and sociable. An Icelandic dog forms an intimate bond with its people and is very teachable. However, since he is used to working independently by nature, you won’t achieve anything with a drill and unnecessary hardness with the Icelandic dog. Its upbringing requires sensitive and loving consistency and natural authority.

The temperamental Icelandic is a born working dog and needs a lot of activity and exercise outdoors. It is an ideal companion dog for sporty people who like to spend a lot of time in nature. The active and robust guy is also particularly well-suited as a companion dog for riding. With a little ingenuity, you can also motivate it to do dog sports.

The ideal habitat for the Icelandic dog is the country, a farm, or a riding stable. The active outdoorsman is not suitable as an apartment dog or for life in the city. The weather-resistant, dense coat only needs intensive care during the change of coat.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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