Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is a Nordic breed that is often sporting a happy smile and wagging tail. These friendly dogs make lovely companions. They are playful, loyal, and intelligent. If you are looking for a dog that is both beautiful and affectionate, this is the breed for you. Read on to learn more about the Icelandic Sheepdog.

Description of the Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog will not leave you wanting. This breed is compact but sturdy, friendly but protective, and playful but cuddly. Well-balanced as they are, they are great companions for most families and lifestyles.

This breed is one of about 50 spitz-classified breeds. Their foxy faces, curled tails, and pointed ears are all characteristics that give them the spitz title. But the Icelandic Sheepdog is also a herder and has many traits common to this group. They are energetic, well-built, agile, and intelligent.

Over a thousand years ago, this breed traveled from Norway to Iceland, where farmers bred them to be herders of sheep and ponies. The Icelandic Sheepdog is the only native breed of Iceland.

This breed comes in both short haired and long-haired varieties, but both types have a thick and waterproof coat. They have a main body color of tan, brown, grey, or black, and have white or black markings

Life Expectancy and Size

The Icelandic Sheepdog is a generally healthy breed that lives an average of 12 – 14 years. They can have certain health conditions, so always work with a reputable breeder to get the healthiest puppy possible.

Just under medium size, these small dogs are portable but rugged. Males stand around 18 inches tall and weigh 30 pounds, and females stand 16.5 inches tall and weigh 25 pounds.

Protective Ability

Alert and vigilant, the Icelandic Sheepdog will often warn you to the presence of strangers. They tend to be wary of people they don’t know but can warm up with proper introductions.


The Icelandic Sheepdog is eager to learn and very intelligent. They are often quite easy to train, but it is important to approach training correctly to ensure fast and efficient learning.

Positive rewards-based methods work best with this breed. They respond well to motivational tools like treats, toys, and games. Making things fun and exciting for your dog will result in better training sessions.

Early socialization is important for this breed. While they are quite friendly and outgoing, these dogs can be quite reserved around strangers, so exposing them to many different types of people and situations early can help them develop into well-mannered and more open dogs.

The energetic and smart Icelandic Sheepdog does well in various canine sports. This will not only exercise his mind and body, but also provide him with bonding time with you.

Energy Level

Athletic but adaptable, the Icelandic Sheepdog loves plenty of exercise, but only needs moderate amounts to stay fit and healthy. But, if you enjoy being outside and active, this is a great breed for you. Bred to work long days, the Icelandic loves going on long walks or hikes and is always up for a game.

But if you prefer to be less active, this breed can still be a good choice for you. These dogs only require about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day, and once they are all tuckered out, they love curling up next to you on the couch.

What Living with an Icelandic Sheepdog is Like

This is an all-around kind breed.

The Icelandic Sheepdog loves children and his family. This breed is extremely loyal and can be protective over his humans. But these dogs are friendly and outgoing, quickly warming up to strangers once introduced.

Expect a dog that is both active and adaptable. They are happy to go on long hikes or lounge around with you. Just be sure to get them outside everyday so they stay fit and healthy.

Care of the Icelandic Sheepdog

Easygoing and sweet, the Icelandic Sheepdog needs companionship and exercise to be happy. Give your dog these things and he will do well.

Environmental Needs

While the Icelandic Sheepdog is no stranger to the cold and thrives in winter conditions, these dogs can also do relatively well in warm climates. Just be sure to provide your dog with a cool, shady place to rest and plenty of fresh water if you live somewhere hot.

Exercise Needs

The Icelandic Sheepdog is athletic and loves to be active, but their physical needs can be satisfied through moderate daily exercise. Give your dog 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day. This can be in the form of long walks, backyard playtime, or canine sports.

Shedding and Grooming

This breed sheds frequently, so be prepared for weekly brushing, perhaps even more, for most of the year. During shedding season daily brushing will be am must to remove loose hairs. The long coated Icelandic Sheepdog can be especially susceptible to mats, so take extra care to make sure his fur isn’t getting tangled.

This breed sheds frequently.

Regular nail trimming, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning are important elements of proper hygiene for your dog.

Ideal Home Environment

The Icelandic Sheepdog does well in many different homes. They are loyal and loving with their families. While this dog loves to be a companion for someone active, he can also enjoy a more relaxed home environment as long as he gets daily exercise.

It is important to acknowledge that this breed has potential health issues that can be expensive or time consuming to deal with.

Health Concerns

Hip and elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, ear infections, and oral problems are the most common issues for this breed. Working with a reputable breeder and bringing your dog in for checkups can help catch, treat, or prevent these problems.

Behavior Problems

The Icelandic Sheepdog does best when he gets plenty of early socialization. This will help prevent him from becoming overly shy or timid.