“The Icelandic Sheepdog is a breed of dog of spitz type originating from the dogs brought to Iceland by the Vikings.
It is of similar type to the Norwegian Buhund and to the ancestor of the modern Shetland Sheepdog.
They are still commonly used to herd sheep in the Icelandic countryside.
The Icelandic sheepdog is often described as a large dog in the body of a small dog.
Icelandic Sheepdogs are tough and energetic.
Hardy and agile, they are extremely useful for herding and driving livestock or finding lost sheep.
However, the dogs are not known for hunting.
Icelandic Sheepdogs are very alert and will always give visitors an enthusiastic welcome, without being aggressive.
Friendly and cheerful, the Icelandic Sheepdog is inquisitive, playful and unafraid.
They generally get along well with children, as well as other pets.
The breed is sometimes denoted in Latin as canis islandicus even though it is a breed and not a species.
As the name implies, it is a sheep dog, but is also used as a watch dog and general working dog.
When herding, the Icelandic sheepdogs were not mainly used to take the sheep from one point to another, but to prevent animals from straying.
Additionally, the dogs were in charge of herding horses and other animals as well. When herding failed, the dogs drove the animals by barking.
Thus, they tend to bark when they want something, although this behaviour can be controlled by training.
In the Icelandic landscape, sheep often get lost and it has historically been the dog’s job to find them and return them to the herd.
They are therefore used to working on their own and to figuring things out for themselves, so owners have to beware lest they learn things they shouldn’t.
As a watch dog, their main task was to alert the inhabitants when somebody was coming, so these dogs tend to bark a lot when they see people approaching.
The Icelandic sheepdog is very loyal and wants to be around its family constantly.
It follows its owner everywhere. Unlike most working dogs, these calm down when indoors and will happily lie down at their master’s feet.”
To honour the dog – men’s best friend – there was a stamp made
My own dog is not “all-icelandic” but somwhere is a bit of Border Collie. He’s a wonderful pet.
His name is “Bassi” (yes – the low man’s voice – bass)
Here is a link to The Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America http://www.icelanddogs.com/Main.html
And also take a look at this great site about the icelandic sheepdog http://www.island-dog.com/index.html
Here are videos from youtube: