Icelandic Sheepdog

There are about 450 dogs of this breed in Iceland itself. Most live as family dogs, but many still work as working dogs. Find out everything about behavior, character, activity and exercise needs, training, and care of the Icelandic dog (Viking dog) dog breed in the profile.

The Icelandic dog is the only dog ​​breed with Iceland as its country of origin. He came to the country with the Vikings, the first settlers (in the years between 874 and 930). Over the centuries, the Icelandic dog adapted its working methods to the local conditions, the way of farming, and the harsh conditions, and became indispensable to the farmers in rounding up the cattle. The popularity of the Icelandic dog has steadily increased over the last few decades and although there are currently only a few examples of the breed, the threat of extinction is nil.

General Appearance

The Icelandic Dog is a Nordic herding Pomeranian; it is slightly less than medium-sized, has erect ears and a curled tail. Seen from the side, it has a rectangular shape, i.e. the length of its body from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock exceeds its height at the withers. The depth of the chest is equal to the length of the forelegs.

Behavior and temperament

A robust, agile, noisy herding dog, the Icelandic Dog is extremely useful in herding and driving livestock in the pastures and mountains, and tracking down lost sheep. Alert by nature, he greets visitors enthusiastically without being aggressive. His hunting instinct is weak. The Icelandic Dog is happy, friendly, curious, playful, and not timid.

Need for employment and physical activity

The breed is very active and intelligent, it wants to be busy. As a result, he challenges the owner, long walks and romping in the garden are necessary, but not enough to keep the dog busy. But he is very well suited for agility and other dog sports. If the Icelandic dog is underemployed, it can easily become a barker or a stray.


Due to its friendly and affectionate nature, the dog is easy to train – if it is busy.


Despite the long fur, the maintenance effort is not too high. Regular brushing, especially when changing fur, is sufficient.

Disease Susceptibility / Common Diseases

Since the dogs have not yet come into fashion, a healthy breed. Due to the small number of animals in this country, great care is required when breeding in order to avoid the development of hereditary diseases through inbreeding.

Did you know?

There are about 450 dogs of this breed in Iceland itself. Most live as family dogs, but many still work as working dogs. They are mainly used to herd sheep and Icelandic horses.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *