Icelandic Shepherd

The Icelandic Shepherd, or Islenskur Fjarhundur, is the only breed of dog which originates from Iceland. For centuries, they have worked alongside shepherds caring for their flock and searching out lost animals. They also make great guard dogs thanks for their intelligence and loyalty

 

Origins

 

The Icelandic Shepherd is the only dog which originates from Iceland. They arrived on the island with vikings around 874-930AD.

 

Due to diseases which were brought to the island by travellers, the Icelandic Shepherd came close to extinction many times over the centuries. In particular, they were afflicated by canine distemper and the plague which devastated the island in the 19th century.

 

the breed was still endangered in the 20th century, but thanks to the Association of Icelandic Shepherd Breeders (HRFÍ), founded in 1969, the breed has survived up until today.

 

In 2007, the Iceland Shepherd was officially recognised by the FCI, but the breed remains scarce outside of Iceland.

 

Appearance

 

The Icelandic Shepherd is a norther Spitz livestock breed. They are a small to medium size. Their bodies are quite rectangular. Sexual dimorphism (when two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond differences in their sexual organs) is common in Icelandic Shepherds.

 

The Icelandic Shepherd's back in musclar and strong, with a defined saddle.  The chest is large and deep, and the stomach is slightly concaved. The tail is high and coiled, and rests on the dog's back.

 

The front and back legs are proportionate to the rest of the body. The powerful back legs are slightly more muscular.

 

The Icelandic Shepherd's face is triangular with a long muzzle. The fur is shorter on the face.

 

As adults, the male measures on average 46cm, while the female measures 42cm.

 

Coat

 

There are both short-haired and long-haired Icelandic Shepherds.

 

  • a pelo corto: il mantello di copertura è di media lunghezza, piuttosto ruvido, con un sottopelo fitto e soffice. Il pelo è più corto sul muso, sulla cima della testa, sulle orecchie e nella parte anteriore degli arti; è più lungo sul collo, il torace e dietro le cosce. La coda è cespugliosa e la lunghezza del pelo è proporzionata a quella del mantello.

 

  • a pelo lungo: il mantello di copertura è più lungo della varietà precedente, un po’ ruvido, con un sottopelo fitto e soffice. Il pelo è più corto sul muso, la cima della testa, sulle orecchie e nella parte anteriore degli arti; è più lungo dietro le orecchie, sul collo, il torace, il dietro degli anteriori e delle cosce. La coda è molto cespugliosa e la lunghezza del suo pelo è proporzionata a quella del mantello.

 

The main recognised colours are tawny, cream, chocolate, black and grey. There is always some white on the coat, with irregular markings across the coat.

 

Personality

 

The Icelandic Shepherd is a robust and agile breed of dog; they tend to bark a lot, thanks to centuries of guiding livestock and communicating with other animals and farmers. They are always very alert and welcome visitors enthusiastically, without being aggressive. They get on very well with other animals and children. They don't have strong hunting instincts.

 

They are lively, playful, curious, friendly, and fearless. They have tonnes of energy, so it's important to train them from a young age. Be prepared  to take them for lots of play in big open spaces. They excel at canine sports.

 

The Icelandic Shepherd is not suited to life in an apartment.

 

Health

 

Il cane Pastore Islandese, abituato ai climi rigidi del suo paese d'origine è un cane che si ammala raramente.

 

Nonetheless, it is still important to check their fur and ears regularly to avoid ticks and other parasites which can spread diseases.

 

Warnings

 

The Icelandic Shepherd's fur needs to be brushed regularly to keep it in good condition.

 

It is a talkative dog which needs to spend lots of time outside in the fresh air to be happy. They also need lots of playtime to let off steam. It therefore not a breed suited to life in an apartment.