Icelandic Shepherd Dog – a gentle and well-behaved family companion

There are virtually no large predators in Iceland, so hunting dogs are not needed there. What’s different is the Icelandic Shepherd Spitz, which has worked extensively with humans around sheep until now. Read about him and his adorable character!
islandzki szpic pasterski

Scandinavia, Denmark and the Netherlands are the places where the Icelandic Shepherd Dog is most popular. It can also be found in Poland, although it doesn’t enjoy as much interest. Over the years its history has been very turbulent – at one point it was a species threatened with extinction. What do you need to know before you take him under your roof?

The Icelandic Shepherd Dog – appearance

This breed is classified as a smaller medium-sized breed. This is evidenced by its moderate height at the withers (44-48 cm) and its weight of 10-15 kg. This dog has a very dense coat. Its trunk is definitely longer than it is taller, which is also influenced by its stable but short paws. Standing, slightly forward leaning mobile ears are characteristic. The Icelandic Shepherd’s Spitz has a very distinctly curved tail which curls towards the back. Most often its end touches the side of the trunk.

This dog can come in two coat varieties – short haired and long haired. Although it must be remembered that in the case of a shorthaired dog we are talking about a coat of rather medium length with dense and soft undercoat. An acceptable coat color should be fawn, red, brown (or a mixture of these colors), grey, chocolate or even jet black. White should not dominate, although white patches are almost always present.

Icelandic Shepherd Dog and its character

Already at first contact, this dog gives the impression of being very gentle and friendly. The Icelandic Shepherd Dog is not dominant and patiently learns. As it is not classified as a hunting dog, it does not tend to be independent or run away. When seeing game while walking, it will remain gentle and rather obedient. His calm and gentle nature, combined with a large need for exercise, makes him get along very well with children, even small ones. He will also be a great cuddle mascot for them.

When considering buying this dog, take into account its need for exercise. He also doesn’t like solitude, so leaving him in an empty apartment or house for hours at a time can trigger destructive behavior. Because of its original role (herding sheep), it makes a great guard dog. It is not aggressive, even towards intruders, but from a distance it likes to bark at anything that moves.

The Icelandic Shepherd Dog and its attitude towards others

The Icelandic Shepherd Dog is extremely friendly and sociable. Devoid of any hunting instinct, he won’t be madly chasing after a cat, so the two can live together under the same roof. This is especially advisable if each of them is given the opportunity to grow up together. This dog also doesn’t have problems assimilating in different foreign conditions, so both the owner’s sedentary lifestyle and his high activity level will be suitable for Spitz. It also does well in a group of several dogs.

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Health of the Icelandic Shepherd Dog

A healthy and disease-free individual can live up to 20 years. Usually, however, the age of this breed is estimated at 12-15 years. It is devoid of very pronounced and common genetic tendencies to disease. Sometimes, however, individuals suffer from hip dysplasia, kidney dysfunction, eye disease and abnormal direction of eyelash growth. In general, however, the Icelandic Shepherd Spitz is considered a hardy and healthy breed.

As befits a northern dog, the Icelandic Shepherd does not tolerate hot weather. This is due to its dense coat and undercoat, which protects it very well from the cold. Combined with his exceptional guarding propensity, he doesn’t mind living outdoors year-round at all. During hot weather, however, you absolutely must provide him with plenty of shade and fresh water. It is also advisable to severely limit any physical activity of the dog.

Icelandic Shepherd Dog and its grooming

Despite its very dense and sometimes long coat, the Icelandic Shepherd Dog doesn’t require too much care. First of all, the owner must remember to brush his pet regularly. It is recommended to do it once or twice a week. Some discomfort while the dog is at home may be the loss of hair. The Icelandic Shepherd Spitz loses it to a moderate degree, but during this period you need to brush him daily.

For the sake of his physical disposition, you should provide him with the right amount of activity for the breed, without which he may start to gain weight. However, he does not have much of a tendency to put on weight. Remember to visit the vet with him regularly to check the condition of his hip joints, kidneys and eyes. In terms of nutrition, this is not a particularly demanding dog. He appreciates high quality food, but should usually eat it in the evening as one meal a day. It is important that the dog is kept quiet while eating.

Icelandic Shepherd Dog – Breeding

Breeding a dog of this breed is not extremely difficult. Therefore, it is definitely recommended even as the first dog in the house. Although it feels very well on the move, it can also acclimatize in an apartment. However, it needs regular walks. The Icelandic Shepherd Dog is obtainable in Poland, although it’s not one of the most popular breeds. Its largest populations are found in Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Holland, Germany, Canada and the USA. This is somewhat natural due to this animal’s high resistance to cold.

Icelandic Shepherd Dog – price

For future owners of the Icelandic Sheepdog valuable information is that the cost of buying a puppy with pedigree is about 4000 zł. This is quite a lot, but it should be remembered that in the case of the most reputable kennels this amount can rise to over 5000 PLN. Better is the monthly cost of maintenance, which oscillates around 100-120 zł.

History of the Icelandic Shepherd Point breed

As the name suggests, this breed was bred in Iceland. This is where this dog was most popular at one time. The Icelandic Shepherd Dog is said to be closely related to the Norwegian Bulldog. The origin of the breed dates back to the turn of the 9th and 10th century, when the Vikings brought the ancestors of these dogs to Iceland. They performed very well the tasks set for dogs in this region, as they were usually used to herd sheep.

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Importantly, the Icelandic Spitz has twice been threatened with extinction. In the early 20th century, the breed was attacked by distemper. The dogs were not immune to the disease and began to suffer and die in large numbers. The situation became dramatic, and the number of individuals fell dramatically. Eventually, however, the disease was controlled and the breed was saved.

Several decades later it was attacked again, this time by the echinococcus tapeworm. To protect other animals from its destructive effects (the intermediate hosts were ungulates), ownership of any dogs was banned. Many of them had to be culled. To preserve the breed and its reconstruction it was necessary to bring representatives from Denmark. In the end it was possible to preserve the Icelandic Shepherd Dogto the great joy of its guardians and admirers.

Icelandic Shepherd Dog – for which owner?

The circle of owners of this charming and beloved dog is really wide. It loves the company of people and other animals. He’s not stubborn, so his training won’t require special patience. The Icelandic Shepherd Spitz is unlikely to find itself in a closed apartment without the possibility of a regular jog or at least walks. However, even older people who have a small piece of their own green space can opt for a Shepherd Pointers.

This dog is considered a breed suitable for people who have not previously been the caretaker of any pet. These dogs do not tend to run away, are not too stubborn and can spend time even with small children. For those looking for a friendly, laid back dog, this will be an ideal choice. The Icelandic Sheepdog is also perfect for guarding and is not aggressive.Only its loud and intense barking may be a nuisance.

Interesting facts about the Icelandic Spitz breed

What is unusual about this charming dog? First of all, the fact that it is the only purely Icelandic breed. It has incredibly “old” roots, as the ancestors of the breed arrived in Iceland before the 20th century. It exists until now, even though dea times its existence has been threatened. The Icelandic Shepherd Spitz is popular mainly in Scandinavia. Although it is a hardy and resilient dog with no genetic strains, there are relatively few of them living in Poland. Currently there is one registered kennel of Icelandic Shepherd Dog. Despite the small number of individuals it is not threatened with extinction.

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