Pet Advisor Blog

Icelandic Sheepdog – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Small to Medium
Weight: 20 to 30 pounds
Height: 12 to 16 inches
Longevity: 12
Bark Tendency: High
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: High

Adopt an Icelandic Sheepdog, Dog Breed Guide


There are two variants of the Icelandic Sheepdog:

Official Name

Icelandic Sheepdog
This breed can also be called as the Iceland Sheepdog, Islandsk Farehond, Friaar Dog, Islenkur, Fjárhundur and the Icelandic Dog.


Date – Ancient Times
Country – Iceland
Family / Group – Spitz, Primitive, Nordic, Herding, Guardian

Recognized By

Fédération Cynologique Internationale
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
American Kennel Club


Iceland has only one native dog breed and that is the Icelandic Sheepdog. Origins of this Spitz type dog breed can be traced during the heydays of the Viking conquest. It is said that Viking raiders brought them to the island between the ninth and tenth century. Iceland natives quickly favored this dog, proving that they are vital herding dogs for farmers and ranchers to be successful livestock rising. Throughout its existence, Icelandic Sheepdogs has been nearly eradicated. Fortunately, their extinction did not happen and their numbers are increasing in the past few decades.


Confidence and enthusiasm both at work and at home is one of the most admirable traits of the Nordic herding dogs. Icelandic sheepdogs also have very pleasing temperament, showing gentleness, cheerfulness and eagerness to get along with people. They are well behaved and loving when around children.

Bred For

Bred by the native people of Iceland to be reliable working dogs in their country’s local terrain, farming methods and rounding up livestock.


They are not suitable for apartment type living. The Icelandic Sheepdog needs a lot of activity and exercise and needs close contact to the family.


This breed does shed and normally blows its coat twice a year. The Icelandic Sheepdog has a double coat, thick and extremely weatherproof.


Breeders and owners of these Icelandic dogs gives them high marks of trainability. These Nordic dogs are known to be very quick learners. They are also dogs that are very easy and enjoyable to train.


Icelandic sheepdogs like their other Nordic dog cousins are usually fairly healthy as a breed.


This is a very active breed by nature. Icelandic sheepdogs demands to get sufficient exercised every day. Owners should make sure to take their Icelandic sheepdog pets on daily walks. Jogging or running with this spitz type dog breed is highly recommendable.