Let's talk Icelandic Sheepdog

Say cheeeeeeeese. The first thing you’ll notice about an Icelandic Sheepdog is that their charming expression looks like a smile. With an outgoing personality and gentle manner, this medium-sized dog has evolved to embrace family life. Brought to Iceland by Viking settlers, the breed has a herding history and with their waterproof coats and strong, athletic build, Icelandic Sheepdogs were born to be outdoors. They are the opposite of a couch potato—an Icelandic Sheepdog needs plenty of exercise and will thrive best in a house or on a farm surrounded by nature.

Other names: Icelandic Spitz, Iceland Dog, Íslenskur fjárhundur, Islandsk Fårehund, Friaar Dog, Canis Islandicus

Origins: Iceland

 Drooling tendencies


 Warm weather? Very low
 Grooming needs  Medium  Cold weather? Very high
 Shedding level  Very high  Suited to apartment living ? Very low
 Barking tendencies  High  Can stay alone?* Very low
 Physical activity needs  High  Family pet?* Very high
 Compatibility with other pets  Very high    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 12 months
 Adult age:  1 to 7 years
 Mature age:  7 to 10 years
 Senior age:  From 10 years


Origins of the breed

For many enthusiasts, the Labrador Retriever remains one of the most popular all-round dogs worldwide. It’s thought that Labrador Retrievers originated from the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, where fishermen used dogs of this appearance to retrieve fish. The breed as we know it today, however, was established by the British in the early 1800’s.

The Labrador Retriever Club was founded in 1916 and the first standard followed soon after, predominantly tailored to working Labrador Retrievers who found early fame, having been originally introduced to the U.K. in the late 1800’s by Col Peter Hawker and the Earl of Malmesbury.


2 facts about Labrador Retrievers

1. Labs live for 2 things: playing and food

And not necessarily in that order. But that’s what training is for. There are plenty of great Labrador puppy training videos on the internet - and great trainers locally. The playing helps keep your Labrador in great shape and prevents him from getting bored. You’ve got this!

2. Staying on top of things 

Labrador Retrievers can be prone to certain health concerns, from conditions like hip dysplasia (a reputable breeder will have tested the parents before mating them to help prevent the puppy from having it) to ACL tears - yes, like humans. With recommended exams, a balanced diet and check-ups, most problems can be found early.


History of the breed

There’s a reason Labrador Retrievers are so good on both land and in the water. A direct descendant of the St. John’s Water Dog, named after the capital of the

Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, fishermen used these hard-working dogs to help retrieve their nets and fish from the icy waters of this coastal wilderness. The dogs also kept the fishermen company on what was an isolated, massive and surely inhospitable island. 

However, the answer to “Where do Labradors come from?” isn’t that straightforward. The breed as we know it today is believed to have been established in Great Britain sometime in the early 1800’s. Adventuring aristocrats and returning fishermen brought the Labrador’s ancestor back to England with them, where the dogs found early fame for their hardy constitutions and loyal dispositions.

The Earl of Malmesbury, a clearly forward-thinking man, took notice and deduced, correctly, that the dogs were well-suited to life on the estate. A breeding program was successfully put in place and it is thanks to the Earl and some of his fellow noblemen that the Labrador Retriever breed exists today. Still as comfortable in the water as they are on land, the Labrador Retriever remains one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Labrador Retrievers

1. Ears

Medium-sized ears with a round tip that sit upright.

2. Eyes

Almond-shaped eyes that are light to dark brown.

3. Body

Muscular, rectangular-shaped body.

4. Coat

Waterproof double coat, with a soft undercoat and wiry outer coat.

5. Tail

Tail sits high and always curls over to touch the back.


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Labrador Retriever


Caring for your Labrador Retriever

Grooming, training and exercise tips


All about Icelandic Sheepdogs

All about Labrador Retrievers

In a word, yes. They have double coats and that can mean quite a lot of shedding action for dogs like the Labrador. They shed their coats year-round, but even more in spring and winter. Staying on top of brushing – getting them used to twice a week brushing is a good idea – and grooming will help decrease the amount of dog hair clogging the vacuum each week.

Like any dog, your Labrador Retriever didn’t come into the world knowing all the rules. But they are ready and willing to learn and, with some solid lessons, you or a professional trainer can guide your Labrador puppy to understand what is expected of them. The Labrador temperament  is one that innately wants to please, so they’ll pick things up relatively quickly. Early training is essential if you have children in the house, as for any breed.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/