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Border Collie or Icelandic sheepdog?


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Browsing through a database of historical photographs of Iceland, I found this photo . (It may take a minute to download, but you can get a very detailed look.) A dog at the feet of the women looks like a stocky border collie; some friends have suggested it's an Icelandic Sheepdog. What do you think? And what is an Icelandic Sheepdog? (I know it's been recently listed by ACK...)

 

Susan

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The icelandic sheepdog is a spitz type dog, related to the dutch keeshond, nordic elghound etc. They almost went extinct and have been bred back from a very small base. They are in principle driving stockdogs that bark while they work (this is regarded as a good thing), but there is a big variation in the talents of individual dogs. Organized breeding is conformation centered. I would not want to have a pure bred one to work sheep.

 

About the dog in your pic, I´d say most likely an icelandic sheepdog. This is mostly based on the age of this picture, as the dog is not very clearly visible.

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Most likely Icelandic.

 

Here are pictures for comparison of the Icelandic Sheepdog:

 

http://stockdogsavvy...andic-sheepdog/

 

Here is another picture of an Icelandic Sheepdog with a trio of sheep (towards the bottom of the page):

 

http://stockdogsavvy...herding-breeds/

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Browsing through a database of historical photographs of Iceland, I found this photo .

 

Heh heh...almost all of them look really grumpy. :angry: Maybe they were looking directly into sun much brighter than I can tell in the photo, but it's kinda funny. Or maybe the snoozing mutt lost the sheep; never woulda happened if it was a Border Collie. ;)

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I agree with Jodi.

 

I think there's a way to be helpful and share the knowledge without taking every opportunity to promote the book. My perception of several posts, here and on other boards, is that they seem to be roundabout sales ops. But, since it's a more welcome subject matter than e-collar training, perhaps people are willing to interpret the posts more leniently.

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I agree with Jodi.

 

I think there's a way to be helpful and share the knowledge without taking every opportunity to promote the book. My perception of several posts, here and on other boards, is that they seem to be roundabout sales ops. But, since it's a more welcome subject matter than e-collar training, perhaps people are willing to interpret the posts more leniently.

 

Except the links provided actually had useful information that did not require purchasing her book. Had her post said, "here's a link to buy my book to learn more about Icelandic Sheepdogs" that would have been different.

 

Yes, her website has built in links to purchase the book, but it also is an extensive list of many herding breeds that includes general information and pictures. I have enjoyed perusing it in the past and felt no pressure to purchase a book from her.

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I can't help myself. Jeanne, have you worked an Icelandic Shepherd?

 

I have. They are exactly as described in the post from our resident Icelander complete with force bark in the useful ones; the less useful are sweet and provide an extra level difficulty, something like a moving obstacle or panel, when working other dogs. I did not post earlier because the initial response covered the breed insofar as my limited knowledge goes.

 

Your identification is far from definite. If there were a photo of the dog working or a letter mentioning that or even an invoice for sheep sales, then that would add some verification.

 

Penny

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Except the links provided actually had useful information that did not require purchasing her book.

 

Rushdoggie, the link to the Icelandic sheepdog has the following:

 


  •  
  • A photo of an Icelandic sheepdog and two sheep.
  • A physical description of an Icelandic sheepdog.
  • Two photos of a dog (possibly the same dog as the first) chasing horses.
  • An interesting, historical-looking photo of an Icelandic farmer with horse and sheep swimming a river; no dog in photo.

 

Directly below the farmer in the river photo, the text is:

To learn more about Iceland Dogs and stockdog training please refer to the book, Stockdog Savvy (Alpine Publications) by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor.

Everything else below that is a description of the book, not the Icelandic sheepdog.

 

The physical description of an Icelandic sheepdog can also be found on the AKC website, so I don't think that the links provided are any more useful than that.

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Yes, Penny, I have. I think the horse pictures are interesting because Iceland Sheepdogs were historically used for driving pack ponies among other things such as finding sheep buried in the snow.

 

Jeanne

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The website talks about dogs that are suitable for the show ring.

I am assuming this means the ACK ring and judging by the letters before and after some of the dogs names, I assume that means they are ACK shown dogs and champions as well.

 

I would like to know if this is correct, because if it is and the Las Rocosa kennels is breeding show dogs, it kind of blows any credibility I may have had for that kennel.

ACK is not only bad for Border Collies, it is bad for all breeds.

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Hmm. Seems to me I learned in Basic Practical Geography that Iceland is the one that sounds like it would be awful but is really wonderful, whereas Greenland is the one that sounds like it would be wonderful but is really awful. Weren't they originally named by a PR firm as a demonstration of the power of branding? I think I've got that right.

 

BTW, Bill, have you ever tasted Icelandic lamb?

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Hmm. Seems to me I learned in Basic Practical Geography that Iceland is the one that sounds like it would be awful but is really wonderful, whereas Greenland is the one that sounds like it would be wonderful but is really awful. Weren't they originally named by a PR firm as a demonstration of the power of branding? I think I've got that right.

That would be Eirīkr hinn rauði, aka Eric raude or Erik the Red. It was a breathtaking piece of marketing that has hardly been equaled since. I have always wanted to go to Iceland, but although I spent many years in heimlandi* (Norway), I never did get to Iceland.

 

Note* apologies in advance if I've got the case wrong; my Icelandic was never strong and now I've forgotten most of it.

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Gary, You've assumed incorrectly.

 

OK, I see where I was mistaken and my apologies for my erroneous assumption.

When your web site mentioned breeding for the show ring, I thought it meant ACK.

Looking at the ASCA website, I see they promote their own version of an appearance based breed standard so that while you could have a CH, it would be an ASCA CH as opposed to an ACK CH. Is that correct or can a ASCA registered dog be both?

 

I would have hoped that the ASCA would be more like ABCA where at least the stated goal is performance based breeding, not appearance.

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OK, I see where I was mistaken and my apologies for my erroneous assumption.
When your web site mentioned breeding for the show ring, I thought it meant ACK.
Looking at the ASCA website, I see they promote their own version of an appearance based breed standard so that while you could have a CH, it would be an ASCA CH as opposed to an ACK CH.



No problem, Gary. Yes, ASCA has it's own show program where Championships are awarded based on points earned in conformation shows. A significant number of the early champions were working ranch dogs, many of which were proven by hard continuous ranch work. Unfortunately, that is not the case today. I agree that in order to remain useful they must be bred by the yardstick of performance.


All the best,
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Hi Eileen,

 

I have had lamb from Icelandic sheep raised in the US, but never lamb from Iceland. I always joke that Icelandic sheep are great for persuading people who claim they don't like lamb to try it because if they're right that they don't like lamb, at least there's not very much of it.

 

Personally, I have not been able to detect any difference in the flavor or texture of Icelandic lamb when compared to lamb of any other breed of comparable size that has had comparable nutrition.

 

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There was a guy in my cardiac rehab class who was an expat Icelander. Based on his story and those of my friends who have visited there, I don't think it's the place where you'd want to go to set up a farming enterprise. Life is hard there, and life is expensive. And that was before it went bankrupt. It may be more temperate than Greenland, but that's not saying much.

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-------------------------

There was a guy in my cardiac rehab class who was an expat Icelander. Based on his story and those of my friends who have visited there, I don't think it's the place where you'd want to go to set up a farming enterprise. Life is hard there, and life is expensive. And that was before it went bankrupt. It may be more temperate than Greenland, but that's not saying much.

Hah, sissy.

 

I am here of my free choice, moved to this country about fourteen years ago.

As for "setting up" a farming enterprise, if you want to be full time farmer, it is very hard, but that goes for any european country (and I suspect the USA is no different).

 

We took over from our former neighbours, they sold us their 35 ewes and two rams, they stopped "serious" farming some years ago due to their age. We have been slowly expanding, and will be having about 90 ewes this winter. It is beyond hobby farming, but comes nowhere near to a full time job.

 

Sheep farming here is extremely cool, our sheep are free range over the summer, and get round up on horseback in the september/october months. Those so called "göngur" take more than one day at the time(we sleep in mountain cabins), and are pretty adventurous (I have the scars to prove it...) This is reason why your comparison between what you call Icelandic lamb and lamb from other breeds is not a very good one. "That has had comparable nutricion" you say, well that´s the point isn´t it..

 

Of course to each his own, but I suspect I would not want to trade places with you ;)

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Bill, you might still be able to score some imported Icelandic lamb at WholeFoods in the next week or so, although the all-too-short season is coming to an end. I think any US lamb producer should check it out, just to be aware of the standard you're up against. It may well be that what their lambs eat accounts for the awesome quality, but unfortunately we can't feed them here what they eat there, so we can't give them "comparable nutrition."

 

The rest of the year I support American lamb 100%. Wouldn't look at lamb imported from anywhere else. But facts are facts, and I gotta say that I'm not sure I'd want to put my own lamb up against Icelandic lamb in a blind taste test.

 

As for climate, I'm at the extreme northern edge of my range right now, so I think you're right that I wouldn't make it in Iceland as a sheep farmer.

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I wouldn't mind taking part in one of those round ups. I've seen photos and videos, and they look like a grand time, bringing half-wild sheep into a pen and sorting off each farm's animals into sub pens.

 

But remember that there is a cost to common grazing. OPP was first detected in Iceland, and spread through the national flock pretty widely in the 1990s. Do you know how they got that under control, Smalahundur?

 

Eileen, the day I buy lamb at Whole Paycheck is a long, long ways off. Nearest store is 50 miles away in the first place. The way they jerk their domestic producers around and come up with meaningless labels for conventionally-produced meats to make their yuppie clientele feel self-righteous and happy about eating meat from a feedlot leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that I wouldn't enjoy it even it is as good as they claim.

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