Saturday, December 26, 2009


I was able to spend Christmas with Taefa who lives not very far from me. What a nice treat. Taefa lives in an obedience home, will turn six this winter, is intact and has never had puppies.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Brekkubrun Icelandics

Gleðileg jól From my very clever artist friend Christine at Brekkubrun's Icelandics. (Please click on photo to enlarge it.)

(Copy and paste the website below into your browser or look for Christine's kennel in the upper right hand corner of my blog and click. )

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Response to a question -

I received an email from someone asking about the inbreeding coefficient scores. I'm paraphrasing and removing names because being open has been proven to be politically dangerous.

If I remember correctly what I read, it has been stated that the percentage of inbreeding at the five generation level should be kept to less than 5%, but 6% was still acceptable. So several recent breedings listed on the *** site don't fall into that range according to ******. Is this a case of do as I say and not as I do?

I think you hit the nail on the head - "Is this a case of do as I say and not as I do?"

I'd like to add two things.

1. At this point in our Icelandic Saga it is virtually impossible for every cross to avoid repeating some background ancestors. It would be nice to double up or triple up on the so called "good" ancestors but that's not easy to do.

Also, as experienced breeders of all kinds of domesticated animals know, all animals have several hidden recessive 'bad' genes.

Every dog in every breed is believed to have about eight hidden recessive deleterious genes. Doubling up on any ancestor increases the risk that a pair of those harmful genes will combine in the homozygous condition producing the bad characteristic.

All of our Icelandic dogs today in every country go back to the very few original ancestors that managed to survive through the 1960s in Iceland. Some of those ancestors appear in our pedigrees more; some appear less. That may be a function of their age at that time, their fertility, the geographical proximity to other intact mature animals, etc. It could also have been a function of some bad trait(s) those animals themselves showed that we are unaware of today.

2. Having a low IC score or a high IC score is not in and of itself a 'bad' thing, is it? There are legitimate reasons perhaps for having a high score, i.e. having several repeated recent ancestors in the pedigree. Some people want to breed for a look. Having a repeated ancestor in a pedigree that exemplifies that look increases the probability that the puppies produced will also have that desired look. It also increases the risk of genetic issues or problems, doesn't it?

Another possible reason to have some animals more often represented in the pedigree of a dog is to increase the genetic influence of an under utilized ancestor, i.e. to correct a possible past problem of under using a male or a female ancestor.

There seems to be a gender bias in talking about our animals. Males are discussed; females are almost always ignored except in a few rare cases. Both parents contribute virtually equally to the traits in their offspring.

For as long as there have been people breeding domesticated animals, farmers have accepted the double edged sword of increasing the number of good traits in progeny but risking the appearance of bad traits in those same offspring.

In my opinion, the majority of breeders are not at this point in time exclusively breeding conformation show dogs that conform to a written breed standard. Most of us are trying to breed physically active dogs with great Icelandic Sheepdog temperaments, good genetic backgrounds as far as we know, and as few recently repeated ancestors as possible. Locating appropriate mates in the sparse and widely scattered population of North America is really hard.

I know of people who have sought help in locating a good mate from the powers that be and have not received it.

Removing possible mates from view because their owners are not members is counterproductive to establishing a viable population of Icelandics, in my opinion.

Not publishing a contact list with contact information and a list of intact dogs with statistics is also counterproductive, in my opinion.

Speaking with one voice and not allowing for the invigorating exchange of diverse views which allows people to make up their own minds about issues is also harmful, in my opinion.

Taking advice from novice breeders or non-breeders would be ill advised, in my opinion. Can I say that in a more pc way? I doubt it. I want the most experienced people around to counsel me when I have difficulty.

Putting all of our eggs in one basket - the conformation basket - is also not a good idea. I realize that in Iceland probably there is only the one game - the conformation show game. Although there may be rally, obedience, agility, herding, and flyball trials, etc. in Iceland, I have never heard of them and I don't see any of those titles after their dogs' names.

Perhaps allowing anyone to dictate to us how we must do Icelandics as we are become involved with our dogs in a wide variety of activities including conformation (in pirate clubs by the way) but not limited only to conformation, may not be the way to go, in my opinion.

We know the Swiss do other activities besides conformation. We've seen photos of agility shows. Do any other countries also do other dog stuff? Most of what we hear is about conformation - and there is nothing per se at all wrong with that, in my opinion.

My question is simply, if we say we are breeding for the whole dog, then perhaps we have given the dog sport enthusiasts and people who still use them as farm dogs short shrift. They should at least have an equal seat at the table if we want to save the breed. I think I've been saying that for ten years or more.

Remember, Icelandics had no breed standard for almost the entire thousand years they have been in Iceland and they did just fine. For approximately the last 50 years there has been a written enforceable breed standard. If conforming to that standard reduces the diversity in our population, then the result, in my opinion, could be an inevitable decline in the breed's long term viability.

The people involved with other breeds envy the health and diversity of our breed.

I have experienced first hand many times the shock that people owning other breeds have when they first see several examples of our breed. To a person, they say things like; "Well, what is your breed standard?" "How can all these dogs belong to the same breed?" "They look so different." "What health issues does your breed have?"

It's true.

Every Dalmatian, Golden Retriever, Labrador, Collie, Border Collie, Cairn Terrier, Rhodesian Ridgeback, etc. looks like every other one with minor variations.

I see that conformity in other breeds as a possible negative.

I see the diversity in our Icelandics as a possible positive.

Having the great variety in our breed makes us totally unique in the dog world. Capitalizing on that variety may be what makes our breed more successful as far as genetic health problems are concerned. Wouldn't that be a kick?

I think I'm somewhat of an expert on Americans.

There are dozens of kennel clubs in the US. Our dogs will inevitably eventually find their way into most of them.

Chasing people away is counterproductive, in my opinion. That could speed the migration. The damage already done may be irreversible. People who have been lost may never come back.

Continuing to register all Icelandics in the three major kennel clubs (AKC, CKC and UKC) should be a priority. If people also want to register those AKC/UKC/CKC Icelandics in one or more of the dozens of other kennel clubs because they have good trials in agility, conformation, weight pulling, flyball, etc. then that, at least in my opinion, is a good thing.

So there is no confusion: I believe all of our US dogs should belong to the AKC. All of the Canadian dogs should belong to the CKC. Dogs that live in the border areas could belong to both clubs (AKC and CKC) so that they could enters trials in both clubs.

Many of our dogs are already registered in other kennel clubs like the UKC and the International Kennel Club, IKC. Many have been registered in ARBA and FORB. As time goes by, more of our AKC/CKC dogs will be registered in one or more of the many other kennel clubs so that they can participate in other trials. That is a good thing, in my opinion.

For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would call any kennel club besides the AKC and the CKC a 'pirate club'.

Are the UKC, the IKC, ARBA, FORB, NADAC, etc. pirate clubs? I'm asking. If so then why do so many owners of Icelandics have titles in those clubs and others. Something about glass houses and stones comes to mind!

I think that should those other clubs find out that they are being called 'pirate clubs', they might feel a need to pursue litigation.

Not having an organization that is open to differences ensures a loss of vitality in that organization.

Diversity, not only in dogs but in opinions, is a strength not a weakness, in my opinion.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


This is my cousin Rachel's dog Lloyd. Isn't he handsome?

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Can you find the three Icelandic Sheepdogs?

Hint: One is a black and white dog from the 1700s.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

(Mousetraps are non-functioning. Can you guess why they are there?)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lillemor Kullman

Arne Håkon Tunheim, Lillemor Kullman's partner, notified me that Lillemor passed away during Sunday night, November 22, 2009.

This photo of Lillemor shows her with a teasing gleam in her eyes and was taken by Arne Håkon on a rainy day in August, 2005 when they attended the World Championship for Icelandic Horses in Norrköping, Sweden.

Lillemor was one of my mentors. She produced truly amazing Icelandic Sheepdogs. All you have to do is look at her website to see the many, many wonderful Ullälvas dogs, many of them champions, to know how successful she was. She had "the eye" and knew how to breed dogs that exemplified the standard without sacrificing things like temperament and health and intelligence.

One of our newer imports, Tófi av Isheim bred by Arne Håkon of Isheim kennel and co-owned by Jenifer Brimmer and me, has several Ullälvas dogs in his background.

Lillemor's kennel is Kennel Ullälva. Although it's early, probably Lillemor's daughter Åsa will take over the work she started. Some Ullälva litters that were already planned for early next year (2010) by Lillemor and Arne Håkon will go ahead with Åsa's help. There is a current litter on the ground now; all of the puppies are already sold.

I always felt comfortable going to Lillemor with any question about Icelandic Sheepdogs for candid answers. She told it like it was not splitting any hairs.

You can visit Kennel Ullälva and Kennel Isheim by going to the ISIB website and clicking on either kennel name. (Look in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the ISIB link.) Arne Håkon and Åsa will continue to monitor her website and they can be contacted through it.

Lillemor will be sorely missed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Alaskastadirs Korpur

In late October 2009 Korpur earned his RE (Rally Excellent) title which just arrived from the AKC last Friday. He pays close attention to me in the ring - lovely dog.

(Cathi Winkles photography gave me permission to use his photo in my blog.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Autumn in Kensington

We are having a beautiful autumn.

For the second week we went to Kensington Metro Park not far from Royal Oak and reveled in the day. The lake is filled with various kinds of ducks, geese and swans stopping on their southward migrations. It's not Silver Lake where I spent summers and grew up but it's very close. I fell in love with nature at "The Cottage" as did my brother David, and my cousins Tom and Tim.

Pila ran in the oak leaves, played in the muck along the shoreline until she was gray, swam in the lake to clean up and then ran some more to dry off. She must have felt like she was back on her farm in Vermont before the evil witch cursed her - which turned out to be a blessing for me.

We agreed today that fate has been kind to both of us. To all of us. The curse turned out to be a blessing. That happens sometimes. Good does triumph.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Autumn in Michigan

We've had an amazingly gorgeous fall so far this year.

If pictures are really worth a thousand words, these should do a lot of talking.

Click on photos to enlarge them.


Totty, Kria, Huld, Korpur


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Companion Dog Title

CD = Companion Dog Title

Handler and Dog are tested by an AKC judge for the following actions. The team must achieve a score of at least 170 out of a possible 200 points three separate times.
This is often referred to as a “Novice Title”.

Individual Exercises
These exercises are done by dog and handler teams separately.
1. Heel on Leash. On judge’s command handler and dog heel an “L” shaped pattern performing the following: forward, halt, left turn, right turn, about turn, slow, fast, normal.
2. Figure Eight – On leash. Handler and dog heel a figure 8 pattern around two human “posts” halting twice following the judge’s commands.
3. Stand for Exam. Handler removes leash, stands dog, leaves and goes 6 feet away and faces dog. Judge then touches dog on head, shoulders and back while dog remains in a sty. Handler returns.
4. Heel Off Leash. On judge’s command handler and dog heel the same “L” shaped pattern as was done on leash.
5. Recall. On judge’s command handler leaves dog in a sit and goes to other end of ring. Dog is called to front, then finished to heel position.

Group Exercises
After up to 12 exhibitors have finished their individual exercises above, this group returns to the ring for the following group exercises.
1. Group long sit – handlers on judge’s command sit dogs, leave dogs, stand across the room for one minute, return to own dog, walk around behind own dog and return to starting position.
2. Group long down – handlers on judge’s command sit dogs, leave dogs, stand across the room for three minutes, return to own dog, walk around behind own dog and return to starting position.

Friday, October 30, 2009

North Skye Markus

Markus recently won best American bred dog at the first national show for Icelandic Sheepdogs.

Congratulations to Jay and Siby Hill, his breeders, and Alison Matthews, his owner.

He is a wonderful example of the breed, a tricolor, black tan and white, long furred male. (atat ss)

Look at the wonderful mane around his neck.

His PennHIP scores are a respectable 0.47/0.47; his eyes are normal.

He is available for stud to approved females.

Contact me at and I'll connect you with Alison.

(Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sportsmen's Show 2

Here are some photos of Korpur, Kria and me from last weekend's show.

(Photos are courtesy of Cathi Winkles - View all photos at:
You may need to copy and paste the website.)

We did very well - the dogs better than I did.

Sportsmen's Show

Here are some photos of Korpur, Kria and me from last weekends show.

We did very well - the dogs better than I did.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vinlands Loa

I heard from Annette and Fred Prieve this weekend. They live in Minnesota with Loa who has been taking herding lessons.

Fred and Annette have taught me lots about herding, one of the activities Icelandics were bred for.

Click on photo to enlarge it.

The Prieves are not connected to the internet; they have no email, hence the puppy photo for Loa for this blog entry.

For herding: first dogs are tested at a young age to see if they have an aptitude for herding. Another way to say that is - dogs are tested to see how they respond to sheep. If the key indicators are not there, the dog has lost their herding instincts.

Loa was tested many months ago and showed strong herding instincts and has therefore undergone many, many hours of training taking classes twice a week.

This past weekend The American Herding Breed Association, AHBA, held trials. If you're familiar with the AKC, CKC or UKC then you know about trials.

To get a Junior Herding Dog, JHD, title in the AHBA a dog must earn two legs. Loa's task for her first leg was to complete two herding tasks successfully - - - and she did. She now has one leg towards her JHD.

Aussies, Border Collies, GSDs and Shelties were working on their JHDs at the trials also. Loa had better times, much better times, than any other dogs competing in the JHD events.

She will get a rest now because bad weather is fast approaching in Minnesota so the herding trials are suspended until next spring.

Annette will go back to obedience classes with Loa for the winter and next spring it will be back to herding.

I was incredibly lucky to have found Loa a great home with Fred and Annette. They are sending me the paper with Loa's evaluation. I'll copy it and post it on this blog - I hope.

Icelandics need something to do with their incredible minds!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cathy and an Icelandic Sheep Ram at Hestur, Iceland. Cathy has been to Hestur several times to learn about Artificial Insemination in sheep. Aren't they amazing animals!

Cathy is an Iceland lover having Icelandic Sheep, Icelandic Horses, Icelandic Sheepdogs and Icelandic Chickens. Many are in the US; some remain in Iceland.

Visit the ISIB website (See website link at right) for a link to Cathy's Icelandic Sheepdog kennel. Her Bestla is expecting puppies soon.

Brekkubrúns Olli

(Click on photo to enlarge it.)

Brekkubrúns Olli looks amazing. Notice his ruff or mane, his wonderful tail, the tan 'stripes' on his shoulder and the gray fur on his hindquarters. Wait!! He's still just a puppy. When he's an adult he will be fantastic.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From the east coast gathering in August: -

Performance Events

1st Place - Karen Riggin - Saela
2nd Place - Pat Ross - Heidi
3rd Place - Robin - Peregrine Bourne (Honorary Icy)
4th place - Holly Kilpatrick - Truffle
Agility (experienced)
1st Place - Tristan Comella - Nor'Star Disa Be Kiska (R/L Hansen)
2nd Place - Linda Hansen - Lokasteinn Visa
3rd Place – Loren Dribinsky – Bjarkarkots Hroi Hottur Luke
Agility – (inexperienced)
1st Place - Holly Kilpatrick - Runestone Truffle,
2nd Place - Susan Hartman - Frostfyres Roskur
3rd Place - Pat Ross -Ineista Christmas Star and Somi's Saela
8 week to 4 month Bitch
1st - Runestone Kyssa
2nd - Pinnacle Brook Elska
5 month - 8 month Dog
1st - Tarawoods Dimmi
2nd - Kersins Trolli
5 month - 8 month Bitch
1st - Ineista Christmas Star
2nd - Vinlands Brana
9 month - 12 month Dog
1st - Bjarkjakots Hroi Grettir
Best Puppy
Ineista Christmas Star
Best of Opposite Puppy
Tara Woods Dimmi
1 year 18 month Dog
1st - Tofi av Isheim
Open Dog
1st - Isi Kaffisukkolathi
2nd - Viking Spathass
3rd - Lokasteinn Vaskur
4th - Arbakki Snorri
Open Bitch
1st - Lokasteinn Visa
2nd - Viking Syfjuth
3rd - Chisick Farms Soley
4th - Westhills Angel
Best Senior
Best of Breed
Isi Kaffisukkolathi (second year!)
Best of Opposite
Lokasteinn Visa
Best Bred by Exhibitor
Lokasteinn Visa
AKC Conformation Judge W. "Jay" Hyman, Herding group, Hound Group, Miscellaneous

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 2009

Fall is the season for Colchicums. They are worth the wait!

A rare photo of the pack together.

Click on photos to enlarge them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

East Coast Friends

What could be nicer than being surrounded by dogs and friends!

August Wanderings

Some photos from last summer's trip. I have many, many fond memories of my visits.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


A very good imported female.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This year old male (Hansson) needs a nice pet or breeding home.

Both parents and three out of four grandparents have A hips.

I think he should be great from conformation shows too.

Click on his photos to enlarge them.

If you might be interested in adopting him, send me an email: -

Thursday, September 17, 2009

HD Comparisons

HD Charts - approximate comparisons

Excellent_(Normal)______0.31 - 0.40________A1
Good_(Normal)_________0.41 - 0.50________A2
Fair_(Normal)__________0.51 - 0.60________B1
Borderline_____________0.61 - 0.70________B2
Mild__________________0.71 - 0.80________C
Moderate______________0.81 - 0.90________D
Severe________________0.91 - 0.99________E

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


We just heard about a recent arrival. He's very special and will be a great addition to our gene pool in North America.

Vinlands Ronja

I went east to visit David and Carolyn this summer. I wish they lived closer - no, wait, I wish I lived closer to them. (We don't have lobsters in Michigan!)

They are excellent hosts and cooks. We did too much, ate too much, drank too much and had a lovely time.

On the way back 'home', I stopped at the wonderful gathering that Jo-Ann and Jon put on for our Icelandic Sheepdogs and us. Their energy and enthusiasm are contagious.

I heard that unfortunately she is reducing her commitment to the chapter but thankfully not the dogs. It's always about the dogs.

Ronja from last winter.

A special "Hello" to "P". Thank you for your comments. They mean the world to me. It's hard sometimes to keep things in perspective, isn't it.

"C" sent me an email that said, I paraphrase here, Opportunists pervert good ideas.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just a Dog

From time to time people tell me, "Lighten up, it's just a dog" or "That's a lot of money for just a dog". They don't understand the distance traveled, time spent or costs involved for "just a dog".

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog". Many hours have passed with my only company being "just a dog" and not once have I felt slighted. Some of my saddest moments were brought about by "just a dog". In those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" provided comfort and purpose to overcome the day.

If you too think it's "just a dog," you will probably understand phrases like "just a friend", "just a sunrise", or "just a promise."

"Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, unconditional love and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person. Because of "just a dog", I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.

For me and folks like me, it's not "just a dog". It's an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past and the pure joy of the moment. "Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday people can understand it's not "Just a dog". It's the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a man or woman."

So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog," smile because they "just don't understand."

(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sutro Tower
Wayne D. Quinn

Iceland Dog

The name has changed. The description has changed! The dogs are still amazing, absolutely amazing! I would love to help you find the right puppy or older dog for your home and lifestyle.

Here's the original 1750 print, now framed, I recently bought.

This wild clematis, found in an abandoned apple orchard by me over about 35 years ago, can be cut back to the ground each spring and still grows wildly! I cannot imagine what would happen if left untrimmed. Northern Kudzu??

Friday, July 17, 2009

Blue Zafir Esja Anaegja

Meet our great imported Icelandic Sheepdog ambassador from Finland, Blue Zafir Esja Anaegja.

Anaegja is a fantastic chocolate dog who is doing extremely well in agility even though she is only two years old (on July 21, 2009). She also starts Rally competition this weekend with her sister, Lokasteinn Visa, and Visa's mother, Nor'Star Disa Be Kiska. (Click on photo to enlarge it.)

All three girls are doing wonderful in agility and will do great this weekend. Three shows for three dogs in three days. The Hansens have incredible energy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brekkubruns Olli

Olli is going to be one outstanding sheepdog! He has "IT"!

I think he will have an amazingly thick and long double coat. That's very rare.

He should be a fantastic conformation dog and/or a loyal and lovable pet.

(Click on photos to enlarge them - please!)

Christine's email is below the photos.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Olli with father and grandfather

Olli (middle photo) has amazing potential inherited from Gunnar (Edgar) his Red, White and Black sire and Korpur, his maternal grand sire. (Click on photos to enlarge them.)