The Iceland Sheepdog is thought to be a descendant of the small herding dogs that accompanied the Vikings in AD 880 when they colonized Iceland. The Nordic Spitz breed was introduced into England in the Middle Ages and developed a following there in the 1500s. Even Shakespeare refers to the breed in Henry IV, though in less-than-complimentary terms. A distemper epidemic in the late 1800s nearly wiped out the breed in Iceland but determined English and Icelandic fanciers helped to revive it.
Lively and affectionate, the Iceland Sheepdog is intelligent and quite trainable.
Like most Nordic Spitz breeds, the Iceland Sheepdog enjoys the outdoors and regular exercise. Smaller in size than most Northern breeds, the breed adapts to suburban or country living.
The compact Iceland Sheepdog measures 15-19 in (38-48 cm) at the shoulder and tips the scales from 25-35 lb (11.5-16 kg).
The coat is thick and coarse.
The Iceland Sheepdog may be wheaten, wolf-sable, black or off-white, often with white markings and a black mask.
Easily maintained, the coat requires only regular brushing