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History The Icelandic Sheepdog is a breed that is regarded as the only native dog of Iceland. The first Viking settlers were the ones who brought specimens of this breed to Iceland in A.D. 874-930. Dogs of this breed eventually adapted its method of working to be able to perform well on local terrain. Over time, they have become indispensable in the rounding up of livestock in farms. It is said that Icelandic Sheepdogs are descendants of dogs that were introduced by Scandinavian colonists and are probably related to the Norwegian Buhund.
During the late 20th century, these dogs were in danger of becoming extinct. In 1969, though, the Icelandic Dog Breeder Association was founded to preserve the breed and increase its number. Today, dogs of this breed are still relatively few, but are no longer in danger of extinction.
Appearance The body of these dogs is rectangular and medium-sized. Icelandic Sheepdogs have a muscular back that is strong and level, and a chest that is well-sprung, deep, and long. They have muscular and oblique shoulders, and their neck is moderately long, arched, and muscular. The head of these dogs is strongly built and have close-fitting skin. These dogs have a nose that can be either black or dark brown in colour. The lips of these dogs are black and close-fitting, and their teeth meet in a scissors bite. They have medium-sized, triangular ears that stand erect on top of their head. Their eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and are brown in colour. They have black eye rims. The toes of these dogs are oval-shaped, tight, and have pads that are well-developed. The coat of these dogs come in two varieties: long-haired and short-haired. Both types are waterproof and thick.
Colours The acceptable coat colours for this breed include chocolate, black, grey, tan, and reddish brown. The prominent colour of these dogs should be white.
Temperament Being herding dogs, Icelandic Sheepdogs are agile, hardy, energetic, and tough. They are very useful for herding livestock in the mountains or fields. They are very alert and are enthusiastic about welcoming visitors, and they aren't aggressive. These dogs don't have strong hunting instincts. Instead, they are friendly, cheerful, playful, inquisitive, and unafraid. Most specimens of this breed are good with children and can get along well with other canines and household pets. As family pets, these dogs are loyal and need human companionship.
Weight The height of these dogs ranges from 12 to 16 inches, and their weight is approximately 20 to 30 pounds.
Problems These dogs are fairly healthy and have no recorded genetic health problems.
Living Conditions Icelandic Sheepdogs need to be close to their family. It's not advisable for these dogs to be left alone for long periods of time because they may develop "home alone anxiety".
Requirements Dogs of this breed are very active and need plenty of exercise. They should be taken out for long walks or jogs daily. It's also advisable for owners to play with these dogs because Icelandic Sheepdogs can benefit from play sessions.
Training Requirements Icelandic Sheepdogs are fairly easy to train and they also learn quickly. Owners should train these dogs using firm and consistent methods. It's also important that the training exercises vary from time to time so that these dogs won't get bored. Activities that these dogs excel in include agility trials and flyball.
Life Expectancy The life span of Icelandic Sheepdogs is approximately 12 years.
Grooming The coat of these dogs should be brushed at least once a week. More frequent brushing is needed during shedding season. Owners should also trim the dewclaw nails of these dogs regularly.
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More Icelandic Sheepdog Information: Check out our Icelandic Sheepdog Clubs and links to more informative websites dedicated to the breed.
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