Icelandic Sheepdog

Very rustic, this Nordic Spitz is much appreciated in the mountains for searching for lost sheep and protecting herds. This pretty, friendly dog full of joie de vivre, also appreciated by families, is a protector, guardian, life companion and totally devoted search dog. He is never aggressive and very loyal.

Height 38 to 48 cm
Weight 10 to 15 kg
Life expectancy 10 to 12 years
Hair Loss High
Excercise Need High
Home country Iceland

Quick Overview of the Icelandic Sheepdog


  • Brave and lively
  • Sociable and affectionate
  • Excellent temperament
  • Always alert, never aggressive


  • Rather rectangular profile
  • Nordic look
  • Intelligent and gentle expression
  • His physique expresses joie de vivre


  • Very robust
  • Generally healthy
  • No particular pathology

Temperament of the Icelandic Sheepdog

Courageous, lively, sociable, affectionate and endowed with an excellent temperament, the Icelandic Sheepdog is always alert but never aggressive. His character is rather cheerful and very friendly.

He's an excellent herd guide, not interested in hunting. Endowed with good instincts, he is protective and a good guardian but totally devoid of aggressiveness.

berger d'islande personnalité

Breed Appearance

shepherd of iceland

Spitz type and slightly below average in size, the Icelandic Sheepdog has a rather rectangular profile and is endowed with a typical Spitz liveliness. His gait is rather Nordic and his intelligent expression very gentle.


Between 42 and 48 cm (16.54 to 18.90 inches) for the male
Between 38 and 44 cm (14.96 to 17.32 inches) for the female


Between 10 and 15 kg (22.05 to 33.07 pounds) for the male
Between 10 and 15 kg (22.05 to 33.07 pounds) for the female


His coat is preferably of a single color but all colors are possible.


His hair comes in two lengths but both varieties have a soft, thick undercoat. It is rather short on the front parts of the legs and on the head, while a little longer elsewhere on the body. The hair on the tail is rather abundant.


His head is strong and has a skull slightly longer than the muzzle. His almond-shaped eyes are medium size and their color are in harmony with the coat. His large triangular ears are straight and mobile. His nose is black or dark brown. His tail is very full and curled.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 5, section 3 and is #289

Characteristics of the Icelandic Sheepdog

Does this dog suit your lifestyle?

Every dog breed has its own characteristics. However, the actual character of a dog can vary from one to another within the same breed.

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Life in an apartment
Good first dog
Tolerates solitude
Tolerates cold weather
Tolerates hot weather
Friendly with children
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other animals
Hair loss
Drooling level
Easy to care for
Robust health
Easy to train
Tendency to bark
Tendency to nibble
Instinct to hunt
Adventurous spirit
Energy level
Level of intensity
Need for exercise

Price and monthly budget

Price you can expect to pay for a Icelandic Sheepdog puppy: between 900 € / $ 1 / £1 and 1400 € / $ 1 / £1
These prices are indicative and may vary from breeder to breeder
Average monthly budget for a Icelandic Sheepdog: 80 € / $ 1 / £1
The monthly budget includes the average expenses for food and hygiene products (grooming, anti-parasite...)

Icelandic Sheepdog pictures

Tips About this breed

The Icelandic Sheepdog is not really suited to apartment living. He loves the wide open spaces where he can run around at ease. A large garden also makes him happy if he lives in the city.

The Icelandic Sheepdog is an excellent herd guide and good protector. He can make a good guard dog because he is perfect for sounding the alarm but he will never be aggressive.

Loyalty, joie de vivre and great consistency are qualities that are highly appreciated in the Icelandic Sheepdog as well as being an excellent companion dog. He is perfect for children and his great energy allows him to take part in all their games without tiring.

He's great at cheering everyone up. His strong vigor and joie de vivre are very communicative.

Health of the Icelandic Sheepdog

This pretty Spitz-type dog is very robust and generally has excellent health. No particular pathology is related to the breed and he enjoys a good life expectancy.


The coat of the Icelandic Sheepdog requires regular brushing but no other special care is necessary.

History of this breed

In the 9th century, sailors from Norway landed on the Icelandic coast. Versatile dogs, including the Norwegian Buhund, accompanied them. These dogs knew how to drive herds of cattle, protect the sailors' properties and hunt.

The crossbreeding between local dogs and the Norwegian Buhund gave birth to the Icelandic Sheepdog. He is the only dog that really comes from Iceland.

From then on, he was mainly used for guarding herds living in complete freedom. An epidemic in the 19th century nearly extinguished the breed completely. Some Icelandic breeders worked hard to save the breed from total extinction.

The breed has adapted well over the centuries and the cattle breeders' strong fight to save him was won. Although there are few of them today, the Icelandic Sheepdog is no longer considered in danger of extinction.

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