Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdogs are one of the 50 or so northern breeds from around the world classified as spitzes. The breed’s “spitziness” is expressed by a dense coat, foxy face, pointed ears, and a bushy, curling tail. Icelandic Sheepdogs, standing no higher than 18 inches at the shoulder, are just under what we’d consider medium sized. They come in several predominant colors, always accompanied by white markings. An endearing trait is the facial expression: friendly, happy, always looking as though there’s no place, they’d rather be than with you.

Breed Profile

The AKC’s written standard for the breed says the Icelandic “will always give visitors and enthusiastic welcome.” If anything, this might be an understatement. One writer notes, “The Icelandic not only gets along with people—he truly enjoys them.” The breed’s happy, extroverted quality makes them useful as hospital therapy dogs. Icelandics are very trainable and, given their agility and athleticism, they excel at many dog sports and activities. On the downside, they shed, they bark, and they’re exceedingly scarce outside of Iceland.