|Other names||Icelandic Spitz|
|Dog (domestic dog)|
The Icelandic Sheepdog (Icelandic: Íslenskur fjárhundur [ˈistlɛnskʏr ˈfjaurˌhʏntʏr̥]) 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, the Shetland Sheepdog, and the Welsh Corgi. They are commonly used to herd sheep in the Icelandic countryside.
These are the current breed standards:
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. They are very alert and 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.
Icelandic Sheepdogs can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, rally obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Icelandic Sheepdogs that exhibit basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.
In 1650, Sir Thomas Brown wrote, "To England there are sometimes exported from Iceland ... a type of dog resembling a fox ... Shepherds in England are eager to acquire them!"
Plague and canine distemper destroyed over 75% of the breed in the late 19th century, leading to a ban on the importation of dogs to Iceland. The purebred Icelandic Sheepdog was again bordering extinction in the late 20th century and in 1969, the Icelandic Dog Breeder Association (HRFÍ) was established to preserve the breed, among other aims.
The Icelandic Sheepdog gained AKC recognition in June 2010, alongside the Leonberger and the Cane Corso.