Icelandic sheepdogs yesterday and today

Icelandic sheepdog is an old breed, descended from the Nordic spitzes which Vikings once brought to the island. Icelandic dog is hardy and well adapted to the Icelandic weather conditions.The breed was near to become extinct in the early 20th century, because of an epidemic of distemper. Just before it was too late the Icelanders started to protect their only national dogbreed. Until the 1950's Icelandic dogs had mostly bred freely and the good working dogs had been used for breeding without worrying about their looks.

Nowadays many Icelandic breeders breed only good-looking and mentally nice dogs, without giving many thoughts to the breeds working abilities. So far it hasn't had an effect on the Icelandic dogs herding instincts and hopefully we can still use the breed on its' original way after many years.

In Iceland litter's parents have to be x-rayed from hips before the litter can be registrated. In Finland Icelandic sheepdog belongs to the Pevisa-program (Finnish Kennel club's program against inheritable diseases), which means that also in Finland the breeding dogs must be x-rayed from hips and eye-checked before a litter can be registrated. The Icelandic sheepdog is a very healthy breed, even though the breed's HD-per cent is quite high. There are still only few dogs which have problems with their hips and who are really sick. A few inheritable cataract and distiachis cases have been found. In Finland there has been found one case of distiachis.