Fédération Cynologique Internationale

United Kennel Club

Icelandic Sheepdog

(Islenskur Fjárhundur)

Icelandic Sheepdog


ORIGIN

:
FCI
Iceland.

PUBLISHED

:
FCI
06.03.2007.

UTILISATION

:
FCI
Herding dog.

CLASSIFICATION

:
FCI
Group 5Spitz and primitive types
Section 3Nordic Watchdogs and Herders
Without working trial

UKC
Herding Dog

TRANSLATION

:
FCI
Helga Andrésdóttir.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY

:
FCI
The Icelandic Sheepdog is Iceland’s only native dog. It was brought to Iceland with the first Viking settlers (AD 874 - 930). The Icelandic Sheepdog and its method of working adapted to the local terrain, farming methods and the hard struggle for survival of the Icelandic people over the centuries, making it indispensable in the rounding up of livestock on the farms. The Icelandic sheepdog’s popularity has increased over the last few decades and, despite the fact the breed is still very small in numbers, it is no longer considered to be in danger of extinction.
UKC
Iceland was settled in the late 9th century A.D. by Nordic people. These early settlers brought sheep, horses, and the ancestors of the Icelandic Sheepdog, Iceland’s only native breed. Over the centuries, these dogs adapted to the harsh terrain and the needs of Icelandic farmers and shepherds. By the early 20th century, however, farming in Iceland declined and the number of Icelandic Sheepdogs was so drastically reduced that the breed was in danger of extinction. In recent years, efforts by Icelandic and international breeders have increased the numbers, particularly in Iceland, where this working breed has become newly popular as a family companion. The Icelandic Sheepdog (also known as the Icelandic Dog and the Icelandic Spitz) was recognized by United Kennel Club on January 20, 1996.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

:
FCI
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a Nordic herding Spitz, slightly under medium sized with prick ears and a curled tail. Seen from the side the dog is rectangular; the length of the body from the point of shoulder to point of buttock is greater than the height at withers. The depth of the chest is equal to the length of the foreleg. The expression is gentle, intelligent and happy. A confident and lively bearing is typical for this dog. There are two types of coat, long and short both thick and extremely weatherproof. There is a marked difference in appearance between the sexes.
UKC
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a slightly under medium-sized Spitz type dog, with a triangle-shaped head, prick ears, and a thick double coat. Seen from the side, the dog is rectangular. The length of body from point of shoulder to point of buttocks is greater than the height measured at the withers. The depth of chest is equal to the length of the foreleg. The tail is carried in a loose curl over the back. There are two types of coat, long and short, and both are thick and extremely weatherproof. There is a marked difference in appearances between the sexes. The Icelandic Sheepdog should be evaluated as a herding and drover dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT

:
FCI
The Icelandic Sheepdog is a hardy and agile herding dog which barks, making it extremely useful for herding or driving livestock in the pastures, in the mountains or finding stray sheep. The Icelandic Sheepdog is by nature very alert and will always give visitors an enthusiastic welcome without being aggressive. Hunting instincts are not strong. The Icelandic Sheepdog is cheerful, friendly, inquisitive, playful and unafraid.
UKC
Icelandic Sheepdogs are hardy, agile, alert and intelligent. Expression is gentle, intelligent and happy. A confident and lively bearing is typical. They drive livestock by barking, and use that talent to advantage as watchdogs. Having evolved in a country without natural predators, however, Icelandic Sheepdogs are not aggressive and have very limited hunting instincts. This breed is very adaptable, equally at home as a family pet or outdoors with livestock. They thrive on human companionship.

HEAD

:
FCI
Strongly built with close fitting skin. Skull slightly longer than muzzle. Triangular when seen from above or the side.
UKC
The strongly-built head is free of wrinkles, and proportional to the size of the body. Viewed from the front or from the side, the head is triangular in shape. The muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull and they are joined by a clearly defined, but not abrupt, stop.

CRANIAL REGION

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Skull

:
FCI
Somewhat domed.
UKC
The skull is broad and slightly domed. The skull tapers slightly from the widest point to the base of the muzzle. The cheeks are flat.

Stop

:
FCI
Clearly defined though neither steep nor high.

FACIAL REGION

:

Nose

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FCI
Black, dark brown in chocolate brown and some cream dogs.
UKC
The nose is black, or dark brown in chocolate and some cream-colored dogs.

Muzzle

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FCI
Well-developed, nasal bridge straight. Muzzle slightly shorter than skull. Tapering evenly towards the nose to form a blunt triangle when seen from both above and from the side.
UKC
Viewed from above and from the side, the muzzle tapers evenly toward the nose, forming a blunt triangle. The nasal bridge is straight. Lips are close-fitting; are black, but may be dark brown in chocolate or cream-colored dogs.

Lips

:
FCI
Black, close fitting, dark brown in chocolate brown and some cream dogs.

Jaws/Teeth

:
FCI
Scissor bite. Complete dentition.
UKC
The Icelandic Sheepdog has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.

Cheeks

:
FCI
Flat.

Eyes

:
FCI
Of medium size and almond shaped. Dark brown. Slightly lighter in chocolate brown and some cream dogs. The eye-rims are black. Dark brown in chocolate brown and some cream dogs.
UKC
The eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped. Eye color is dark brown, except in chocolate and some cream-colored dogs where the eyes may be somewhat lighter. Eye rims are tight and fully pigmented, matching the color of the nose and lips.

Ears

:
FCI
Erect and of medium size. Triangular with firm edges and slightly rounded tips. Very mobile, reacting sensitively to sounds and showing the dog’s mood.
UKC
The ears are strongly erect, of medium size, triangular in shape, with firm edges and slightly rounded tips.

NECK

:
FCI
Moderately long and muscular with no loose skin. Slightly arched and carried high.
UKC
The neck is moderately long, but strong and well muscled, blending into sloping shoulders. It is slightly arched, and carried high. The neck is free of throatiness and covered with a thick ruff of hair.

BODY

:
FCI
Rectangular and strong. The length in correct proportion to height and in harmony with general appearance.
UKC
The Icelandic Sheepdog is just slightly longer than tall. The back line is level. The back is well muscled and joins with a broad, muscular loin. The croup is fairly short and wide, and slightly sloping. The ribs are moderately sprung out from the spine. The chest is broad and deep. The forechest should extend in a shallow oval shape in front of the forelegs, but the sternum should not be excessively pointed. There is a slight tuck-up.

Back

:
FCI
Level, muscular and strong.

Loin

:
FCI
Broad and muscular .

Croup

:
FCI
Moderately short and wide, slightly sloping and well muscled.

Chest

:
FCI
Long, deep and well sprung.

Underline and belly

:
FCI
Only a slight tuck up.

TAIL

:
FCI
High set, curled over and touching the back.
UKC
The tail is set on high and carried in a curl, touching the back.

LIMBS

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FOREQUARTERS

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FCI
When seen from the front the forelegs are straight, parallel and strong. Normal angulation.
UKC
The shoulders are well laid back, with good angulation and well-developed muscles. The shoulder blade and the upper arm are roughly equal in length. The upper arm lies close to the ribs with the elbow moving close to the body.

Shoulder

:
FCI
Oblique and muscular.

FORELEGS

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UKC
The forelegs are straight and muscular, with strong bone and moderately short, slightly sloping, flexible pasterns.

Pastern

:
FCI
Dew claws: May be double.

FEET

:
UKC
The feet are oval in shape, with well-arched, tight toes. Pads are well developed. Double dewclaws may be present on the front feet and are desirable on the rear.

Forefeet

:
FCI
Slightly oval toes well-arched and tight with well-developed pads.

Hind feet

:
FCI
Same as forefeet.

HINDQUARTERS

:
FCI
When seen from behind the hindlegs are straight, parallel and strong. Normal angulation.
UKC
The angulation of the hindquarter matches that of the shoulder assembly. The thighs are broad and muscular.

Thigh

:
FCI
Broad and well muscled.

HIND LEGS

:
UKC
The rear legs have strong bone and are well angulated at stifle and hock joints. The hocks are well let down. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns should be parallel to each other; from the side, they should be perpendicular to the ground.

Rear pastern

:
FCI
Well-developed double dewclaws are desirable.

GAIT / MOVEMENT

:
FCI
Displays agility and endurance with good driving action covering the ground effortlessly.
UKC
Correct movement is essential in this breed. The Icelandic Sheepdog moves with strides of moderate length in a quick, agile trot, essential for driving stock in Iceland’s rough terrain. The forelegs and hind legs are carried straight forward, with neither elbows nor stifles turned in or out. While the dog is gaiting, the topline remains firm and appears level.

COAT

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HAIR

:
FCI

Double coat, thick and extremely weatherproof.
There are two variants: Short haired and Longer-haired
  • a) Short haired: The outer coat of medium length, fairly coarse, with a thick, soft undercoat. The hair is shorter on the face, top of head, ears and front of legs, longer on the neck, chest and back of thighs. The tail is bushy and the hair length is in proportion to the coat.
  • b) Longer-haired: The outer coat is longer than the above, fairly coarse, with a thick, soft undercoat. The hair is shorter on the face, top of head, ears and front of legs, longer behind the ears, on the neck, chest, behind the forelegs and back of thighs. The tail is very bushy and the hair length is in proportion to the coat.
UKC
The Icelandic Sheepdog has a double coat. The outer coat is fairly coarse, straight, and may lie flat or stand somewhat away from the body. The undercoat is thick, soft, and dense. The hair on the face, topskull, ears, and front of the legs is shorter than the coat on the body, while the coat on the neck, chest, back of forelegs and thighs is somewhat longer. The tail is bushy. Icelandic Sheepdog coats come in two types: Short-haired and Long-haired. ● SHORT-HAIRED: The outer coat is medium length and fairly coarse, with a thick, soft undercoat. The hair is shorter on the face, top of head, ears and front of legs; longer on the neck, chest and back of thighs. The tail is bushy, and hair length is in proportion to the coat. ● LONG-HAIRED: The outer coat is longer than in the short-haired type, is fairly coarse, with a thick, soft undercoat. The hair is shorter on the face, top of the head, ears and front of legs; longer behind the ears, on the neck, chest, behind the forelegs and back of thighs. The tail is very bushy, and the hair length is in proportion to the coat.

COLOUR

:
FCI

Several colours are permitted but a single colour should always be predominant. The predominant colours are
  • Various shades of tan, ranging from cream to reddish brown.
  • Chocolate brown.
  • Grey.
  • Black.
White always accompanies the predominant colour. The most common white markings, which are often irregular, are a blaze or a part of the face, collar, chest, socks of varying length and tip of tail. Lighter shading often occurs on the underside of the dog from throat to tip of tail. On tan and grey dogs a black mask, black tips to the outer hairs and even occasional black hairs often occur. Black (tricolour) dogs have a black coat, white markings as mentioned above and traditional markings in any of the various tan colours on the cheeks, over the eyes (eyebrows) and on the legs. Patches of the above colours on a white background (pied) are permitted. White should not be totally predominant.
UKC
The following colors are permitted. ● all shades of tan, ranging from cream to reddish brown ● chocolate brown ● gray ● black One of these colors should always predominate and must be accompanied by white, which must never be the predominant color. The most common white markings, which are often irregular, are a blaze or part of the face, collar, chest, socks of varying length, and the tip of the tail. Lighter shading of the predominant color may occur on the underside of the dog from the throat to the tip of the tail. Predominantly tan or gray dogs may have a black mask, some black tips on the hairs or even a few black hairs in their coats. Predominantly black dogs, along with the white markings mentioned above, may have traditional tan markings on the cheeks, over the eyes and on the legs. A pied pattern consisting of patches of the permitted colors on a white background is permitted, provided that white is not the predominant color.

SIZE

:
UKC
The desirable height for a mature Icelandic Sheepdog is 18 inches (46 cm) for a male, and 16½ inches (42 cm) for a female. Weight should be in proportion to the height.

Height at withers

:
FCI
Ideal height is Dogs 46 cm. Bitches 42 cm.

FAULTS

:
FCI

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
  • A solid black mantle or saddle on any of the various tan coloured dogs.
UKC
Color: A solid black mantle or saddle on any tan dog.

SERIOUS FAULTS

:
FCI

  • No dewclaws.
  • Yellow eyes.
  • Round protruding eyes.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
UKC

Eyes: Yellow eyes; round, protruding eyes.
Feet: Lack of dewclaws.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS

:
UKC
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.


Anatomical Features of the dog

N.B.:

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.