Monday, December 15, 2008


"The good society was, like the good self, a diverse yet harmonious, growing yet unified whole, a fully participatory democracy in which the powers and capacities of the individuals that comprised it were harmonized by their cooperative activities into a community that permitted the full and free expression of individuality." -John Dewey

(Sent by one of my best friends who has been treated rather shabbily but is optimistic regardless.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The following is from the VID (Freunds- Friends) club

In order to protect the uniqueness of the Icelandic Sheepdog, the ISIC proposes to capture all information in a databank to assure cooperation between all countries involved in breeding of Icelandic Sheepdogs. The VID has posed the question, if we cooperate would we have access to the data base but this has not been answered. Therefore the exchange of data has not taken place, although we are not against such an exchange. We already have created the prerequisites because we have our own databank. Pedigree documents of our club are not recognized by the FCI or the VDH. The ISIC believes that the offspring resulting from further breeding will be lost. FCI breeders are informed in the ISIC letter that dogs sold to members of the VID club would decrease the genetic diversity of the Icelandic Sheepdog.

FCI clubs have a registry in which dogs with unsecured pedigrees can be registered if they meet a breeding standard and health requirements in order to further the bloodlines. Therefore almost every Icelandic Sheepdog can be accepted by the VDH, including the dogs from our club. Under certain conditions, breeding within the VDH is also possible. However, the proscribed procedure and excessive financial cost are in stark contrast to our expressed desire to transfer them into the VDH. We do not want to stand in the way of or prevent anything that would promote the welfare of the breed and in particular genetic diversity. The pedigree of our dogs is just as verifiable as dogs with FCI papers because our dogs and their dogs can be traced back to the same progenitors. For the genetic diversity of the Icelandic Sheepdog it is irrelevant what logo is stamped on their papers.

We do not declare existing pedigrees to be invalid and require that our pedigrees be used instead. One can breed in our club with any Icelandic Sheepdog that corresponds to the breed standard and meets health requirements. Eye exams of our dogs are carried out by certified Vets according to the standards of the VDH and FCI. HD evaluations are also carried out by professionals recognized by the VDH. Every Icelandic Sheepdog owner is welcome in our club regardless of the source (club) of the dog’s pedigree. We even welcome dual membership in VID and DCNH – but the DCNH does not tolerate that. Now of course the reader may ask why our club does not join the VDH. We have thought about this intensively in the past and this topic has been on the agenda of our annual convention and discussed:

1. We want to maintain our independence. As individual members of the VID we could join the VDH or the DCNH, but to join as a club there would be a significant financial burden and we would have to meet breeding technical requirements.

2. All costs dealing with breeding would be drastically increased.

3. All of our breeding dogs would have to go through a new test to determine their fitness for breeding including necessary health tests that were previously not recognized.

4. All of our breeding dogs as well as dogs to be shown, will need new documentation. They will get a registered pedigree in which only the name of the dog will be entered without the kennel name. All ancestors will be unrecognized because they are not registered in the VDH. Our dogs in other words, would be without pedigree and this is unacceptable.

5. Even if new documentation were issued, our dogs would remain the same just as their pedigree – the only difference would be the logo on the pedigree document.

We in the VID (Friends club) breed efficiently and at low cost, just as good a dog as breeders in the VDH and FCI. We hope that it becomes possible in the future to have cooperation and the exchange of data and breeding partners with the VDH for the purpose of protecting and sustaining the Icelandic Sheepdog to its greatest genetic potential.

(translation courtesy of JM)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This is a great article from one of my favorite Magazines - Bark.

You may not be able to "click" on this. If not, highlight, copy and paste into your browser.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

L'etat c'est moi. - Louis quatorze

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I just got a luscious photo of Lily (Vinlands Lipurta) in which she was compared to Henri Rousseau's paintings. The garden where she lives is certainly worthy of a Rousseau and so is she.

I have been asked to remove the contents of this blog because of fear.
I acceded to the request.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Canine Good Citizen

As most of you know, I teach several classes at Sportsmen's Dog Training Club ( )and also take classes there.

Totty and I have taken Puppy Kindergarten, Beginner and CGC classes.

At the end of the CGC class students are supposed to have the chance to take the CGC test and potentially be granted the CGC award.

Unfortunately no one could give us the test because class is on Wednesdays during the day and all the evaluators work.

Of course everyone was disappointed.

Totty did eventually take and pass her test and has been awarded the CGC.

I am now also certified to give the CGC test. I would love to be able to do that next year at the east coast gathering of the AISC.

Some people have asked for the ISIB website information. Here it is: -

It may not come up when you Google it, but you can cut and paste it into your browser and it should work.

We've also started a chat room which is open by invitation only.

Some of us love showing our dogs in dog sports like agility, rally, obedience, tracking, flyball, wrc. Some of us actually use our dogs for their original purpose, herding.

Some of us have had our dogs certified as therapy dogs and we visit schools, retirement homes, hospitals, libraries, etc.

Some of us are hobby breeders and have only one or maybe two litters a year. We all want to keep the wonderful temperament (personality) of our dogs.

All of us like to read the paper, a magazine or a book with our dogs curled up at our feet even if we do nothing organized with them. Our dogs are all pets and members of our families first and foremost.

We all want to be able to share stories and help one another answer questions and solve problems in a safe, non-threatening way.

We want to make this chat room a safe comfortable place for all. We want to make it as easy and as safe as possible for people to enter our room.

People who are rude or who slam or flame one another will not be allowed in the room. People who want to talk politics will be removed.

We are all fairly new to Icelandics but are willing to listen and learn.

Some of the new arrivals will not have any Icelandic Sheepdogs - yet. They are trying to find out if Icelandics are right for them.

Others may have one dog and may be looking for another one as a companion for their current Icelandic or maybe even one day they may decide to join the ranks of hobby breeders.

If you have a dog, it does not have to be purebred or even registered.

We want to help one another make informed decisions by discussing both positive and negative things about our Icelandics.

We will not denigrate a particular breeder or kennel. We will be honest about the pros and cons of the breed. We will explain what to look for and what to avoid whether a person is looking for an adult rescue or a puppy. We all realize that there are no perfect dogs or breeds. However, we want to provide prospective new Icelandic owners and people who want to add another dog relevant information about the importance of hip x-ray tests and eye tests on the parents because we are dedicated to preserving the temperament, health and enormous diversity of our breed.

We want to be able to educate ourselves and others whether we use the dogs for herding, or are pet owners, sports dog enthusiasts, therapy dogs owners, breeders etc.

We do not want to discourage or chastise people who make mistakes. We have all made mistakes and, hopefully, we have learned from them.

We are quite simply trying to be inclusive, not exclusive.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Links and Puppies

I usually have only one litter of Icelandic Sheepdog puppies a year.

Between litters of my own I often get requests for puppies. I prefer not to make people wait until my next litter because I never know when or if it will actually arrive and how many pups will actually be in it.

I have heard of Icelandic Sheepdog litters with as many as nine puppies; one or two pups in a litter is not uncommon. Usually, however, litters number between four and six.

I am always happy to help people find nice puppies from healthy parents. I am also always pleased to help people find what they are looking for if my litter does not have the color, pattern, fur length, gender or temperament they are looking for. Some people are looking for nice agility Icies, obedience Icies, herding Icies, breeding dogs, pets etc. and I am happy to help with those requests as well.

Listed below are some of my favorite kennels if you want to look for yourself. If you cannot Google them, you can paste them into your web browser and find them that way.

It is not difficult to import/export Icies. Because they are so few and far between, it is sometimes wise to import Icies to get what you want. I am happy to help with the vagaries of the task but most of the breeders listed above have been there and done that already.

There are always great Icelandic puppies to be found. Finding them within driving distance is possible but not easy.

If you are looking for the right puppy and you think Icelandics are the breed for you, I'll help.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's such a beautiful autumn day that I decided to post some photos taken this morning before I leave for the daytime Rally class I teach at Sportsmens with Jerry Catalina.

Here are some views of the backyard and the dogs in "Watch Me!" pose. They look so good, don't they? Seconds before they were running around and barking at squirrels and hawks.

It looks like it was easy to get them to pose, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ISIB - Imports and Exports - October 2008

Some of the dogs that people in the ISIB have imported or exported are listed below.

ISIB – Imports/Exports*

Official Name
Audurs Dimmalim (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Glifsa (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Gríma (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Háaþóra (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Hringur (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Jesper (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Jónatan (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Kamilla (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Kasper (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Kolur (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Laki (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Skíma (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Skotta (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Soffía (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Tindastól (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Tófa (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Trýna (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Týr (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Vetrar-Birta (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Vetrar-Frosti (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Vetrar-Máni (from Canada to USA)
Audurs Vetrar-Þoka (from Canada to USA)
Bjarki av Isheim (from Norway to France)
Blackstar Snaella Gudridur (from USA to Finland)
Blackstar Snorri Dagfinnur (from USA to Finland)
Blue Zafir Esja Anaegja (from Finland to USA)
Emerald Isle Ari (from USA to Canada)
Fagrahvamms Muninn (from Iceland to USA)
Fagrahvamms Sprútta (from Iceland to Sweden)
Fagrahvamms Spurðann (from Iceland to Germany)
Flúðir Kappi (from Iceland to Canada)
Fossi Strutur (from Iceland to USA)
Gimgölets Jonina (from Sweden to Norway)
Gismo av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden)
Hrösa av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden
Icelunds Askja-Eir (from Sweden to Norway)
Ísi Kappusínó (from Germany to USA)
Kaeta av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden
Kersins Huld (from Iceland to USA)
Kersins Kata (from Iceland to USA)
Kersins Sprutta (from Iceland to Canada)
Kola av Isheim (from Norway to Denmark)
Kveikja Nett-Fruma (from Sweden to Iceland)
Lavandels Mía (from USA to Canada)
Lavandels Vindur (from USA to Canada)
Leiru Sámur (from Iceland to Sweden)
Lundi fra Thytur Stadir (from Holland to USA)
Mikill av Isheim (from Norway to Denmark)
Nelly av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden)
North Skye Kolka (from USA to Finland)
Orri av Isheim (from Norway to Denmark)
Saga av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden)
Salka av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden)
Sámur av Isheim (from Norway to Germany)
Seppi av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden)
Sigga(1) av Isheim (from Norway to Denmark)
Smára av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden)
Svörtin (from Norway to Sweden)
Telpa av Isheim (from Norway to Sweden)
Thordunu Kria (from Iceland to USA)
Tofi av Isheim (from Norway to USA)
Ullälvas Drengur (from Sweden to Denmark)
Ullälvas Eydis (from Sweden to Norway)
Ullälvas Eydis (from Sweden to Norway)
Ullälvas Saeta (from Sweden to Norway)
Ullälvas Seytla (from Sweden to Denmark)
Ullälvas Sigga (from Sweden to Norway)
Ullälvas Skafti (from Sweden to Norway)
Ullälvas Skutla (from Sweden to Finland)
Ullälvas Skvetta (from Sweden to Norway)
Ullälvas Snerrir (from Sweden to Finland)
Ullälvas Soldan (from Sweden to Holland)
Ullälvas Sorti (from Sweden to Finland)
Ullälvas Svertla (from Sweden to Finland)
Ullälvas Syrtla Karin (from Sweden to Norway)
Ullälvas Teitur (from Sweden to Norway)
Vinlands Hildur Hlin (from USA to Canada)
Vinlands Ronja (from USA to Canada)
Vinlands Rúna (from USA to Canada)
Vinlands Sigga (from USA to Switzerland
Vinlands Snerpa (from USA to Switzerland)
Ýrar Garpur (from Iceland to Sweden)

* These are dogs that have been imported/exported to expand regional gene pools.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I just had a Halloween email from some friends in the Pacific Northwest.

Bosi will be three this coming March. Lulu (Ljufa) will be two in May.

I am blessed with the good homes my puppies live in.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vinlands Totty is the first puppy that I have bred and kept. As the last dog in the house, she claims she is neglected. She is. The rest of the pack claim that she is spoiled. She is. Poor Totty!!

She has gone through three classes so far at Sportsmen's:-Puppy Kindergarten, Beginner and Canine Good Citizen and is only 8 months old. She is not currently enrolled in a class and really needs to be. She is a high energy Icelandic.(Icelandics are already a high energy dog so she is really an handful.)

Here are some recent photos of Totty. She is what I call a chocolate tricolor.Her mother, Thordunu Kria, is a black tricolor.

I have already begun looking for a mate for Totty, even though she will have to wait until she is two years old, and have narrowed the candidates down to handful.

On Friday Huld earned her third leg for her Rally Excellent, RE, title. In rather rapid succession she has earned her Rally Novice, Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent titles.

Rally is one of the dog sports that is becoming more popular especially with novice handlers. It’s a great way to get acquainted with dog sports like agility and obedience because there is less pressure on both the dog and the handler to do things perfectly, especially at the Rally Novice level.

There are three levels of rally: Rally Novice, Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent.

To earn a title at each level a dog and handler must work together as a team and successfully do all the exercises on a rally course. A qualifying score is 70 points out of a possible 100 points. Points are subtracted from 100 each time a team doesn’t do the exercise correctly. Judges can take off points for things like not performing the task correctly, having a leash that is too tight, excessive barking, etc.

Each time the team qualifies, they earn a leg toward the title. Three legs are necessary in order to finish and get the title. Beginning dogs can earn their Rally Novice, RN, title. Exercises in Rally Novice are done on leash. Exercises in Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent are done off leash and require increasing amounts of skill.

Frankly, Huld and I were not going to go as far as Rally Excellent. We had earned titles in Rally Novice and Rally Advanced and, I at least, was ready to retire.

She finished her Rally Advanced title in three shows but we had entered four shows. The closing date for future shows often comes before you know if you have qualified for current shows. So you may be entering your dog in a Rally Advanced show before you know if you have finished or qualified for a title.

If you have earned your three legs for a title, the Show Steward will let you move up to the next level if you ask. Because we had already paid for the fourth show, we went to the show, asked to be moved up, and were moved up to Excellent and qualified.

Let me say this about Huld: she loves to go to shows and do her stuff. Me? I’m not so crazy about the whole thing.

She - and I - are getting older and getting around has become harder for me (and her). Well, once we had one leg towards the RE title, we had to go on. Two more shows and we had earned our three legs.

My friend, Cathi Winkles, is the Training Director at Sportsmen’s Dog Training Club and also takes photos at dog shows. (The link to Sportsmen’s is below.) The attached photos were taken the day Huld earned her third leg in RE.

Huld insists that we be fair and mention the other dogs. Korpur has finished his RN title and was the first of my dogs to also earn his RA title. Kata and Kria also have their RN and RA titles. Kappu, the younger male in our pack, has his RN title. Totty earned her CGC the same weekend that Huld finished her RE title.

Not too long ago in April 2007 several breeders banded together to pay for a group ad in the Dog World issue that featured the Icelandic Sheepdog. We were all members of the Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America (ISAA). The ad listed the ISAA website as a contact for all of us. We were all such good friends and so excited about the future back then.

Other breeders had their own individual ads as well if I remember correctly.

I also placed my own separate ad which a great friend designed for me. I only had one call from that ad but I sold a wonderful puppy named Vinlands Loa to a fantastic couple in Minnesota.

From time to time Dog World and their near relation, Dog Fancy, still contact me to see if I would run that ad again. It is rather expensive and I’m retired and living on a fixed, but decreasing, income so I’ve always declined.

This year Icelandic Sheepdogs are again going to be featured, not alone but along with several other breeds, this time in an upcoming issue of Dog Fancy. Someone from Dog Fancy contacted several of us and asked if we would do individual ads or perhaps join together to place a group ad in that issue.

We talked with one another and decided that we would do another group ad and that this time we would also have a group website that interested people could go to in order to find Icelandics. The idea snowballed and we now have a small website. We call ourselves the Icelandic Sheepdog International Breeders (ISIB). All of the US and Canadian people on the ISIB website are members of the ISAA, some are lifetime members. We do not have a chat-room, have never had a meeting, and do not discuss issues. We are not a club and do not want to be a club.

Attached to this blog entry is a copy of our ISIB ad. Somehow the color blue was switched to red. Computers are amazing,aren't they?

We listed two phone numbers in the ad, an east coast one and a west coast one, in case readers of Dog Fancy do not have an internet connection.

We appreciate all the ISAA has done for the breed. Our ISAA breed club has done a great job. It is our turn now to help them by expanding the number of breeders that advertise thereby increasing public awareness.

Since some of the breeders that were interested in advertising in Dog Fancy are not ISAA members because they live in Europe or Iceland, having an "international" name is a way of encompassing everyone and explaining to the public that there are many options to explore when looking to buy an Icelandic Sheepdog.

In the December 2008 issue of Dog World Chihuahuas are featured. I counted almost 30 big separate color ads for Chihuahuas. In the classified pages of Dog World there are an additional regular 30 +/- ads.

I don’t think we will ever be taken seriously until we increase our exposure. We hope the small amount of additional exposure we’ve provided with our ISIB ad will add to the prestige of the Icelandic Sheepdogs and the ISAA.

We decided to step up to the plate, put our money where our mouths are, place the ISIB ad in Dog Fancy and help the ISAA with a show of our confidence in the great job they are doing!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Is there any other breed of dogs in the world with the amount of variety our Icelandic Sheepdogs show? I seriously doubt it.

We have a very diverse gene pool. That is a good thing, in my opinion.

Take a look at just one of our breeds’ traits: their tails.

Here is what the most recent FCI standard for Icelandic Sheepdogs, November, 2000, says about tails: -

TAIL : High set, curled over and touching the back.”

Here is the current AKC breed standard voted on and approved by the members of the ISAA: -

Tail – High set, curled over and touching the back; the amount of the curl may vary from an arch to a double curl; may be vertically or horizontally oriented.

I like all of the attached tails. Some people may prefer one kind of tail over another, but arguably, all of them ‘fit’ the standard, regardless of which standard you use.

I hope we never officially prefer one over another. Restricting the variety in our breed could lead to a genetic bottleneck which reduces the number and variety of genes we can work with. That, in my opinion, would not be a good thing for future breeders and enthusiasts.

Here are some tail examples. There are simple arches, single curls, double curls, some touch the back on the top of the back, some touch the side of the back. Some are horizontal; others are vertical. In my opinion, all fit both standards.

I heard from my good friend Petra in Switzerland today. She belongs to Vinlands Sigga. Petra updates me regularly on Sigga's progress. She loves doing agility. Here are some recent photos of Sigga, who was named after Sigriður Pétursdóttir in Iceland.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Black and White

Black & White Icelandics

The following quotes were taken from my personal copy of The Iceland Dog 874 - 1956, by Mark Watson

From: - Histoire Naturelle - Le Chien d'Island, by Count de Buffon, 1755
page 300 - a drawing of an Icelandic showing it to be black & white.

From: - Travels in the Island of Iceland, by Sir George Steuart MacKenzie, 1811,
p. 311 - "Their predominant colour is white; yet they vary considerably; and some are entirely brown or black."

From: - Biographical Sketches and Authentic Anecdotes of Dogs, by Captain Thomas Brown, 1829
p. 187 - "His general colour is white with large patches of black over different parts of the body. In some few instances they are found altogether black."

From: - The Zoologist's Text-Book, by Captain Thomas Brown, 1833
p 77 - "Head round; ears erect, and reflected at their tips; hair long and soft, white with large black patches."

From: - The Naturalist's Library, by Sir William Jardine, 1840
p. 130 - "The Norwegian emigrants to Iceland seem to have carried a race of dogs to its shores, which at present is not found in the parent country. The head is rounder, and the snout more pointed, than the preceding (dog). In stature, it is not larger than that of the Kamtschatka, and in fur like the Esquimaux; ears are upright, the lips flaccid; the colours white and black, or white and brown."

From: - Iceland: Its Scenes and Sagas, by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1863
p. 3 - "The dog is of the Esquimaux type, with ruff around its neck, head like a fox, and tail curled over its back. It is of great use to the farmer keeping his flocks together, and defending his tun or home meadow, from the inroads of cattle."

p. 58 - "The Iceland dog (Canis Familiaris Islandicus) has been already briefly described in the Introduction: Its head is just like that of the fox; it is small, has sharp yes, short legs, a profusion of hair, a ruff around the neck, a tail curled over the back, and is generally of a white, dappled or tawny colour."

From: - By Fell and Fjord, by E.J. Oswald, 1882
p. 219 - "At Bessastadir I was presented with my Iceland dog Kari. He was pure white, with the exception of black cheeks and nose and pricked black ears, which stood up like two sharp points of rock out of a snow-drift. Indeed, in the snow he became almost invisible. A sweeter nature than Kari never ran upon four legs; nothing would make him bite or fight; he was friends with the whole world - except, indeed, pigs and donkeys. There are none in Iceland; and he looked upon them with the utmost disgust, and could scarcely be induced to pass them. I never knew a dog who understood language so well, or who tried so hard to talk. As these attempts were not always agreeable, and as he shrieked with delight at the prospect of a game of ball or a walk into town, etc., there were many words that we tried to conceal by spelling them; but in two or three days Kari would learn the alias of anything that concerned him, and excite himself as before."

"There are the long-haired and the short-haired varieties, but even the latter have fine thick coats. They are mostly black or white, or fawn, in colour; they are very fleet and hardy, and most companionable creatures."

From: - Hunden Og Hunderacerne, by Viggo Mueller, 1887
pp 85-88 – “The colour is commonly brownish or greyish and dirty white or yellowish. A usual colour distribution is: back black, underside of the body and limbs white, with the latter colour on the underside of the tail and its tip, and as a collar around its throat.”

“Yes, I know S. P. thinks that black & white is old colour! She was our special shows judge last summer (2005) and she told to us also this!” – R.

“Yes he (a black and white male) is a beuaty, If he stay in Iceland i will use him i think - - - - - I know that S. á Ó. like black and white color like (him). - - - - - - (he) is very good looking and healty...that is very good too, so of course you have to use him, if he was mine i use him - - - ” H.