Icelandic Sheepdog: A Complete Guide

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Due to a dramatic increase in different dog breeds, there are more options than ever before when you are deciding on the type of new dog to purchase.

An increase in choices also means more information to absorb when selecting a puppy to take home.

The only known breed which has come from the country of Iceland, the Icelandic Sheepdog was used for protection of sheep against large birds of prey.

This affectionate herding breed usually has a joyful disposition and is very friendly to everyone they come across.

Contained herein is exceedingly useful information which can be utilized when considering the purchase of this breed.

It is always an excellent idea to school yourself on a breed before committing to purchasing one.

Icelandic Sheepdog – Before You Buy…

A cute little multicoloured Icelandic Sheepdog
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a delightful and friendly dog breed.

Often, buying a new puppy dog is not given an adequate amount of thought due to many reasons.

However, when you realize you will probably be cohabitating at least the next ten years of your life with the breed, the importance of making a proper selection should be quite obvious.

One of the costliest errors made by potential dog owners is to fall in love with a puppy and take it home without thoroughly looking into its background.

Such impulse decisions, which are based strictly on emotion, should always be avoided since they have a way of coming back to bite you.

What Price are Icelandic Sheepdog Puppies?

The average price for an Icelandic Sheepdog puppy is $800-$1000, which is more or less average for a breed of its size.

Depending on how and where you obtain the dog, there can be a price variation which will require some work on your part to attempt to land the best possible deal.

You should take the opportunity to attempt to negotiate a price which works best for you since puppy prices are not etched in stone.

And do not forget, that even after purchase, there will be regular maintenance fees to owning a dog.

When you do eventually locate a puppy you are interested in, you should make sure to have an in-depth conversation with the breeding facility about everything related to the new puppy, which will assist in your decision making process.

How to Find Reputable Icelandic Sheepdog Breeders?

As with most breeds, locating an Icelandic Sheepdog puppy will take some time and effort on your part.

You can start online by searching through the classified puppy dog ads and local breeder outlets in your area.

You can further widen your scope by joining online dog forums (which there are many to choose from), preferably getting involved in the communities which specialize in this particular breed.

Connecting online with dog owners and informing them you are interested in buying this dog is an excellent way to generate leads.

You can also assist your cause by utilizing social media if you are an active participant and use it to communicate with your group.

3 Little-Known Facts about Icelandic Sheepdog Puppies

  1. The Icelandic Sheepdog is nicknamed Ice.
  2. It is believed that the Icelandic Sheepdog was brought to Iceland by Vikings from Norway.
  3. In the late 1800s, the Icelandic Sheepdog breed was almost reduced to extinction by a plague of canine distemper, with over 75% dying from the disease.
Two Icelandic Sheepdog in the snow
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a pet-friendly dog breed, as long as you do not have any bird pets.

Physical Traits of the Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is primarily a medium-sized dog which sports a waterproof double thick coat which comes in both short and long sizes.

The most prevalent colours for this breed are tan, chocolate brown, grey and black with white markings on various body parts.

Breeds with a long coat will have a relatively rough long outer coat and a thick undercoat which is soft to the touch.

Conversely, breeds with a short coat will have a coarse medium-length outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat.

This breed has a bushy tail with the hair situated on his face, ears, and head being shorter than the body hair.

Additional physical features include brown eyes and black and brown nose colour options.

How Big is a Full-Grown Icelandic Sheepdog?

As a medium-sized dog tipping towards the smaller side, a fully grown Icelandic Sheepdog can reach in height 17 to 19 inches.

Its weight can have it tipping the scales from 20 to 30 pounds, which is not exceedingly heavy for its size. It was built to be agile, which was used when herding and working to protect the flock.

Its moderate overall size and weight would not make this an ideal nor a properly sized guard dog. It is more suited for being a companion breed, especially when activity is involved.

What Is the Life Expectancy of the Icelandic Sheepdog?

Rounding out at 12 to 15 years, life expectancy for the Icelandic Sheepdog is solid, and maybe even slightly above average for its type.

The length of your dog’s life can be significantly influenced by factors such as having an excellent lifestyle that consists of a premium diet, sufficient activity and being mentally engaged.

At the risk of stating the obvious, a dog owner must take a very active role in health issues relating to their pet.

Obviously, the animal will benefit immensely from a responsible owner who is aware of its needs.

Conversely, the dog will ultimately suffer if saddled to an owner who is negligent concerning its health.

Intelligence, Temperament & Personality Traits of the Icelandic Sheepdog

Exuding a joyful and extremely pleasant manner, the Icelandic Sheepdog is friendly to everyone it meets.

This breed is not recommended as a watchdog, although it will bark and use it vocal cords often.

The Icey can be described as an intelligent dog breed which enjoys being given positive reinforcement during training sessions.

The dog will significantly benefit from having a daily schedule with a similar routine which should include family time and play-around time.

This herding breed has an instinct which will give way to chasing any type of vehicle. Therefore, a yard with a surrounding fence is a must.

It should be kept away from pet birds since it considers them fair game.

The Icelandic Sheepdog enjoying the great view
The Icelandic Sheepdogs enjoy a good chase.

The Icelandic Sheepdog’s Diet

Sufficiently meeting the nutritional needs of your pet consistently will make sure your dog has a chance at a content and fulfilling life.

Also, the quality of the food you feed your dog plays a vital role in the animal’s overall long-term health.

Since the Icelandic Sheepdog is a mid-sized active dog, its requirements are two and one-half cups of dog food a day in a dry format which tallies to about $55 to $65 per month.

You should use caution not to overfeed your pet since being overweight can result in serious health issues.

How Much Exercise Does The Icelandic Sheepdog Need?

The Icelandic Sheepdog is an active herding breed which requires daily activity to remain vibrant and healthy.

Approximately 60 minutes of activity is recommended so this breed can maintain its good health.
This particular breed enjoys chasing, running, hiking, walking and being outdoors.

It also enjoys its toys so it can stay mentally occupied and not get bored. This is an ideal breed for an active family which enjoys spending time outdoors.

As with most dog breeds, this one will also benefit from a yard, which should be fenced in due to its propensity to chase pretty much anything with a motor.

A yard will also afford it the ability to fulfil one of its favourite pastimes: gazing up at birds flying through the air.

Icelandic Sheepdog Health and Conditions

There are potential health issues associated with certain breeds of dogs.

Of course, it is best not to overlook this information, since a dog stricken with illness can cause a considerable amount of emotional and financial distress, thus putting a damper on the overall pet-owning experience.

The Iceland Sheepdog breed is susceptible to health issues which include distichiasis, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, cataracts, mono/bilateral and cryptorchidism.

To keep an eye on your dog and keep them current on vaccination shots, an annual trip to your vet should be in order.

A Good Guard Dog?

The name and legacy of this breed can indeed lead many to believe that this dog, despite its smaller stature than most watchdogs, can make an effective guard dog.

However, the Icelandic Sheepdog is instead more apt to be a companion than a protector.

While it’s true that he or she would have been a farmyard friend in ages past, helping to herd the flock, that’s more or less the extent of this breed’s work dog capabilities.

Icelandic Sheepdogs are a very friendly breed who seldom seem to regard anyone unknown with much suspicion unless they are specifically trained to do so.

And even then, the jolly ways of this dog breed mean he or she rarely sees anyone as a threat.

Likewise, this breed is not too well suited for being a guard dog because of how it looks.

This is not a very physically imposing animal, in size or overall appearance, so anybody who is intruding on your property who sees one won’t feel the urge to turn tail and run.

However, an unseen Icelandic Sheepdog can, at least, prove a pretty good deterrent from time to time.

The bark of this dog is definitely worse than its bite, but it’s enough to make any two-bit thugs think twice before chancing their arm. For all they know, that booming bark might be coming from a Rottweiler they can’t see!

For the most part, though, you’re better off welcoming this breed to your family as a friend, first and foremost.

My Final Thoughts on The Icelandic SheepdogA fluffy Icelandic Sheepdog in snow

The Icelandic Sheepdog is a delightful and friendly dog breed which is family and pet-friendly (as long as you do not have any bird pets).

Initially a herding dog, they enjoy a good chase or two.

They are very friendly to anyone they come across, so their services are not suitable for guard dog duty.

This is a breed which is somewhat low maintenance and can be trained quite quickly due to its high level of intelligence.

It enjoys spending family time and when left alone should have toys to occupy itself with.

Bird watching is also one of its favourite pastimes, therefore, access to a yard is a bonus for its living conditions.

An active breed by nature, this dog will benefit from having owners who are active and enjoy the outdoors.

If you feel your situation is a good match for this dog, you may want to look into welcoming one to your family.

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