|Havens Icelandic Sheepdogs
|The Icelandic Sheepdog is one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world. These dogs
were brought by the Vikings settlers to Iceland, along with sheep and horses between
874 - 930AD. To date these dogs have not changed much from the original breed.
Icelandic Sheepdogs are the descendants of the Nordic Spitz. The breed easily
adapted to the cold climate with their dual layer coat. With the help of their dew
claws on their rear legs they became invaluable herders navigating the steep terrain
of Iceland looking for their sheep and horses. For these reasons the dogs became an
asset to the farmers who had livestock.
These dogs are alert, friendly, and very intelligent. They are devoted to their family
and generally love people and get along well with other dogs and animals.
The breed comes in a variety of colors but white must always accompany the main
color. The most common color is various shades of tan, ranging from cream to reddish
brown. Other acceptable colors include chocolate brown, black and grey.
It is written that in the twentieth century the breed almost became extinct due to an
outbreak of distemper. Only dogs that lived in remote areas of Iceland survived. In
the 1930's an Englishman, Mark Watson was passionate to save the Icelandic
Sheepdog, he traveled throughout the countryside to find the best specimens of the
breed. Twenty years later Mark and his friend Páll Pálson came to the states with
their dogs and started Wensum Kennel.
In 1969 Sigríður Pétursdóttir of "frá Olafsvellir" Kennel founded The Icelandic
Kennel Club, then almost 30 years later with only a small number of dogs in the states
the Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America was established in 1997.
Herding breeds have been a part of my life for over 30 years now I've had
Aust. Shepherds, Aust. Cattle Dogs, and now Icelandic Sheepdogs. My introduction
to this wonderful breed came from a woman that I now consider my good friend
Laurie Ball-Gisch. In the summer of 2004 we traveled to their farm in MI on our way
to Canada to look at their sheep and were greeted by the most friendliest of dogs. In
Dec. 2004 our last of 4 cattle dogs had died. Laurie didn't have any pups at that time
but she put me in contact with the ISAA. Pine Plains Bella came to the farm in April
2005, then in April 2007 Árperla Brana was imported from Sweden.
If you would like to know more about this wonderful breed I suggest you visit the
Click here to see the breed standard.
To learn more about our girls click on their names.