Icelandic Sheepdog Pictures and Information

The Icelandic Sheepdog is sometimes known as canis islandicus though it is not a different species of dog.  It is a member of the Spitz family.


Icelandic Sheepdog Description

The breed is recognizable from its pointy ears and curly tail. The hair on an Icelandic Sheepdog can be long or short. The coat colors that are most common on an Icelandic Sheepdog are gold, reddish, black, gray and white or combinations of all. Two dogs of this same breed look nothing like one another. The Icelandic Sheepdog was bred into existence from the dogs Vikings brought to Iceland.

It is the only breed that is native to Iceland. The breed has been mixed to create Border Collies, Corgis, and Shetland Sheepdogs. In the 19th Century over half of the Icelandic Sheepdog, the population was destroyed due to canine distemper and plague. A ban was set against the importing of the Icelandic Sheepdog not long after. In the late 20th century the breed was near extinction. In 1969 the Icelandic Breeder Association (HRFI) was formed to help preserve the breed. With their help and an ever-growing interest in the breed, the Icelandic Sheepdog is no longer in fear of extinction.

Icelandic Sheepdog

Also Known As

  • Iceland Dog
  • Icelandic Spitz
  • Friaar Dog
  • Íslenskur fjárhundur
  • Islandsk Farehond

Country of Origin



The Icelandic Sheepdog has a wonderful temperament. They are playful and friendly. Most dogs of the breed get along amazingly with children and other pets. They are very alert and will not hesitate to bark when they hear an unfamiliar sound. They are almost never aggressive, not even to strangers. They have very little hunting instincts. They are agile and energetic. An Icelandic Sheepdog makes a wonderful family pet.

Health Problems

The Icelandic Sheepdog is usually a fairly healthy dog. There are no health problems that specifically affect the breed. Allergies and other common, nonserious, may affect the Icelandic Sheepdog but no more so than they will any other breed.


Icelandic Sheepdogs are energetic and love to play. Ideal forms of exercise for this breed are long walks or jogs, fetch, and socializing with other dogs. Icelandic Sheepdogs are not aggressive during play and have high stamina.

Special Grooming Needs

The Icelandic Sheepdog’s grooming needs depend on its coat type. Both long-haired and short haired variations of the breed have extremely weatherproof coats. Short-haired Icelandic Sheepdogs require very little brushing or bathing. Usually, occasional brushing during shedding months will suffice. Long haired Icelandic Sheepdogs require a little more coat maintenance but not much. Simply brushing the coat every few weeks will prevent matting.