icelandic sheepdog breed information

Icelandic Sheepdog

As one might guess, the Icelandic Sheepdog is a herding dog hailing from Iceland, though she didn’t get there on her own. The Vikings brought her along to help herd sheep, cattle and horses when they settled in Iceland sometime between 874 and 930 AD. She is genetically related to a Finnish breed, the Karelian Bear Dog, who originated in Russia. Iceland’s only native breed, she was highly prized by farmers and the upper classes alike. However, famine and disease greatly reduced her numbers over the centuries, and by the 1960s she was in danger of extinction. But thanks to breeding programs in Iceland and England, she is gaining in popularity today, including in the U.S., where the American Kennel Club recognized her in 2010.

A medium-sized dog weighing between 20 and 45 lbs., the Icelandic Sheepdog is equipped for harsh conditions, with either a short or long double coat, which is thick and weatherproof. Her fur ranges in color and markings from red or tan to golden and black. She sheds her coat twice a year, so regular brushing is required.

The Icelandic Sheepdog is naturally alert, greeting family and visitors energetically, but without aggression. She is eager to please, playful and extremely social, making her an ideal family companion. Usually patient and loving with children, she also gets along well with other dogs and pets. As much as she loves to be with her family, she also needs lots of activity and daily exercise.

Despite her hardy heritage, the Icelandic Sheepdog is still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect her health, and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Icelandic Sheepdogs are prone to include joint conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia; and eye problems such as persistent pupillary membranes, entropion, cataracts and distichiasis.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Icelandic Sheepdogs inherits anything more than a new coat twice a year, you’re protected.

Common health issues

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

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