Icelandic Sheepdog

20-30 lbs
Icie, Icelandic Spitz, Iceland Dog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is usually a very playful and friendly dog. He loves children and gets along well with other dogs. He hates to be left alone for long periods of time. The Icie, as they are nicknamed by lovers of the breed, will usually welcome visitors onto his property but will bark when they first approach. He is not aggressive towards strangers. He is a typical herding dog and will look for a job to do, even if that job is to herd cars that pass by. The Icelandic Sheepdog does not do well with pet birds or birds in the wild. He is most happy when he is with his family whether that be at home or on the road.

purpose Purpose
livestock herding
history Date of Origin
874 - 930 AD
ancestry Ancestry
nordic spitz

Icelandic Sheepdog Health

Sketch of Icelandic Sheepdog
Average Size
Male Icelandic Sheepdog size stats
Height: 17-19 inches Weight: 20-30 lbs
Female Icelandic Sheepdog size stats
Height: 17-18 inches Weight: 20-30 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Distichiasis
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Cataracts
  • Mono/Bilateral Cryptorchidism
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Icelandic Sheepdog Breed History

The Icelandic Sheepdog is the only known breed that originated in Iceland. Theory is that the Vikings brought this breed’s ancestors to Iceland in the 9th century. His original job was to protect the flocks of sheep, especially the lambs from large birds of prey. It is suggested that the Icelandic Sheepdog came into Iceland from Norway. Graves have been discovered in Norway and Sweden containing dogs that resemble the Icelandic Sheepdog. He is related to the Karelian Bear Dog and that gives evidence that the Icelandic Sheepdog came to Norway from somewhere in the east. In the late 19th century, the Icelandic Sheepdog almost became extinct from a plague of canine distemper. Over 75% of the Icelandic Sheepdogs died from this disease. This led to a ban on the importation of dogs into Iceland. Imports were limited and then banned in 1901. In the late 20th century, the Icelandic Sheepdog was once again close to extinction. In the 1950s there were only about 50 Icies left. In 1969 the Icelandic Dog Breeder Association was formed to help preserve the breed. Now, there are more than 800 Icies in the United States alone.  The American Kennel Club recognized the Icelandic Sheepdog in June of 2010. The Icelandic Sheepdog is not considered to be a popular breed in the United States despite his happy, loyal personality. The Icelandic Dog Breeder Association is working tirelessly to preserve the integrity of the breed and to make people more aware of the breed’s personality and traits.

Icelandic Sheepdog Breed Appearance

The Icelandic Sheepdog has a double, thick coat that is also waterproof. He comes in two coat lengths: short and long. Icies with a short coat will have a medium length outer coat that is fairly coarse and a soft, thick undercoat. His tail will be bushy and the length of hair will be proportional to his coat. Icies with a long coat will have an outer coat that is long and fairly coarse with a soft, thick undercoat. His tail is very bushy with the length of hair being proportional to his coat.  The hair on his face, head and ears should be shorter.  The Icelandic Sheepdog is seen in many different colors, however one single color should always be predominant. The predominant colors include various shade of tan, chocolate brown, grey and black. Tan can range from cream to reddish brown. Icies can also have white markings. These white markings are often irregular and will cover part of the face, collar, chest, feet and tip of the tail. Grey and tan dogs will generally have a black mask and black tips on their outer coat. 

Appearance of Icelandic Sheepdog
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Icelandic Sheepdog eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Icelandic Sheepdog nose
brown Icelandic Sheepdog nose
Coat Color Possibilities
brindle Icelandic Sheepdog coat
pied Icelandic Sheepdog coat
silver Icelandic Sheepdog coat
fawn Icelandic Sheepdog coat
black Icelandic Sheepdog coat
gray Icelandic Sheepdog coat
brown Icelandic Sheepdog coat
cream Icelandic Sheepdog coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Icelandic Sheepdog straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Icelandic Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

The Icelandic Sheepdog comes in two coat lengths, but both will shed excessively as both have a dense undercoat. He will need to be brushed once or twice a week to remove any loose or dead hair. The more often you brush him, the less amount of hair that will be seen floating through the air or settling on clothes or furniture. Mainly, he will be a seasonal shedder and the undercoat will come out in clumps. During these times, brushing every day is recommended. His nails will need to be trimmed every two or three weeks. If he will allow it, you can use a grinder on his nails rather than nail clippers. Clean his ears once a week to prevent infections from occurring. Regular teeth cleaning using a veterinarian approved toothpaste is also recommended. Once a year he may need to have his teeth cleaned by a veterinarian.

Brushes for Icelandic Sheepdog
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Icelandic Sheepdog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Icelandic Sheepdog Temperament

The Icelandic Sheepdog is usually a very affectionate and happy dog. He does not fear strangers, rather he sees everyone as a friend. This makes him not the best watchdog, even though he may bark when a stranger approaches his home. The Icie will be seen often staring up into the sky searching for birds of prey. For this reason, he is not a good playmate for domesticated birds. Do not leave him unsupervised with any pet birds. He is vocal and will bark, consistent training can minimize this behavior. The Icelandic Sheepdog is very smart and responds well to positive reinforcement when training. He benefits from having a daily routine that includes plenty of playtime and quality time with his family. He does not like to be left alone so be sure to provide plenty of toys and things to keep him occupied when he has to be alone. The Icelandic Sheepdog is a typical herding breed and will chase cars, bicycles, motorcycles and basically anything with a motor. A fenced yard is a necessity for the Icie.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Icelandic Sheepdog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.75 - $2.25
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$52.50 - $67.50
food bag monthly cost

Icelandic Sheepdog Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Icelandic Sheepdog at six months
Male Icelandic Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 11.5 lbs
Female Icelandic Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 11.5 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Icelandic Sheepdog at 12 months
Male Icelandic Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 17.5 lbs
Female Icelandic Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 17.5 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Icelandic Sheepdog at 18 months
Male Icelandic Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 25.0 lbs
Female Icelandic Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 25.0 lbs

Top Icelandic Sheepdog Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Icelandic Sheepdog breeders of 2023.
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder Fox Meadow Croft
Fox Meadow Croft
Baltimore, Maryland
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder TRI-STAR ICELANDICS
Auburn, Michigan
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder Crossbreeze Farm Icelandic Sheep and Sheepdogs
Crossbreeze Farm Icelandic Sheep and Sheepdogs
Wayland, Michigan
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder Nylendu Icelandic Sheepdogs
Nylendu Icelandic Sheepdogs
Dayton, Ohio
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder McEremon's Kennel
McEremon's Kennel
Sandusky, Ohio
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder Eyjahunda Icelandic Sheepdogs
Eyjahunda Icelandic Sheepdogs
Portland, Oregon
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder Runestone Icelandics
Runestone Icelandics
Gibsonia, Pennsylvania
Top Icelandic Sheepdog breeder Rocky Bottom Icelandic Sheepdogs
Rocky Bottom Icelandic Sheepdogs
Dunlap, Tennessee

Icelandic Sheepdog Owner Experiences

17 Years
2 People
Most loving, loyal, and beautiful dog I have ever had..He can't get up anymore, he is deaf, and 3/4 blind..he walks ok with me when I hold his tail. He has beaten Parvo as a puppy, hit by car, and geriatric vestibular syndrome. Rusty always loved to jump.He is dying..I take 24 hr care of him. He still loves to drink water and eats well. He has been there through all my spinal surgeries, Cancer, hernias, etc..from Cali. To Seattle. HE IS MY HEART! Hard right now. God is Great!!
5 years, 10 months ago
2 Years
1 People
Chasing wild animals
Chasing runners
Chip is the best companion I could ask for. He’s highly intelligent and loyal. He always likes to be where he can see me. That being said, he follows me everywhere! I grew up with Labradors but thanks to Chip, Icelandic Sheepdogs have stolen my heart!
4 years, 1 month ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd