Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sunna - 5-31-12

Sunna is enjoying her active life but occasionally grabs a quick nap. By the way, the report says she is eating a third of a cup three times a day. She must have heard somewhere that it was impolite to clean your plate; she leaves a few pieces of kibble when she's finished.

Please let me know how your pups are doing! (I've often said the best time to photograph a puppy is when it's taking a nap! That's the only time they slow down!)

Thank you Mike and Debbi.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Humans and Dogs

I was just made aware of some interesting articles discussing human and dog interaction in the distant past. Copy and paste this address into your browser. I hope it works.

This is also a very interesting article. Copy and paste it into your browser as well.

We love our dogs. Maybe these articles (above) partially explain why.

These poppies mysteriously appeared in my front yard out by the road. I've always had a few in the back yard but they've been spindly and not prosperous. These three plants are amazing for their vigor and abundance of buds and blooms. It's a harsher climate in the front yard, perhaps more like where their ancestors are from. (As always, clicking on the photos enlarges them.)

Monday, May 28, 2012


Isla has arrived at her new home in the Poconos.

 And she's made herself right to home! She's a long haired tricolor (black, white, and tan) with a great temperament. She fits the standard to a "T".  

I suppose I should call her color "black and tan with white" but I often list them in the order of their abundance. Does that make sense? They are mostly black so that comes first. White is second most abundant and tan is third.

However, black and tan (together) is the result of a recessive gene called "at". In order to be "black and tan" a dog needs two at-genes. They would be listed as atat. They got one at-gene from mom and one at-gene from dad. Think of a black and tan Doberman or a black and tan Airedale or a black and tan German Shepard. They all have two at-genes (atat).

Three of Isla's sisters are tan, white, and black - again listed in order of the amount of each color shown. The tan shade gene is sometimes listed as Ay. Those three sisters - Saga, Thora, and Sunna - are Ayat. They have a hidden recessive at-gene for black and tan and a dominant Ay gene for tan. Some tan dogs have two Ay-genes. They are AyAy. You cannot tell by simply looking at a tan shade dog whether it has two genes for tan (AyAy) or one gene for tan and another one for black and tan (Ayat). They look identical to the eye.

Virtually all Icelandic Sheepdogs have some white on them. The white is a result of a gene known as the Irish Spotting gene and could be abbreviated as either "I" or "Is". I prefer the latter. Some dogs have less white; others have more white.

I'm guessing that there is a related recessive gene called the i-gene. I'm guessing that a dog with two i-genes (ii) would have no Irish Spotting - no white. I have seen only a few Icelandic Sheepdogs that look like they have no white.

Thank you to Sally.

There is a recessive gene for pied related to the Irish Spotting gene often written as "ip". Remember these symbols only represent a piece of the DNA that produces an identifiable trait in an animal, in our case, our Icelandic Sheepdogs. These genes are usually or most often in pairs.

So dogs with Irish Spotting can be IsIs or Isi or Isip. The first would be a dog with two Is-genes for Irish spotting. The second would be a dog that shows Irish Spotting and has one Is-gene and one recessive hidden i-gene. The third would be a dog that has one Is-gene and shows Irish Spotting but has one hidden recessive ip-gene for pied.)

A true pied dog is ipip; it has two recessive ip-genes for pied and usually comes from two parents who are each Isip. A true pied dog usually receives one recessive ip-gene from dad and one recessive ip-gene from mom.

Some dogs do not have any genes for pied but, nevertheless, show a lot of white. They are often called Extreme Irish Spotting dogs. Although they look similar to pied dogs, usually experienced breeders can tell the difference between Extreme Irish Spotting dogs and true pied dogs.

Before this litter I had never produced dogs with the "Odin Split Faces" and in this litter there were three puppies out of six that showed split faces. 

I was told that split faces probably result from a gene related to Irish Spotting* - perhaps it could be labeled "isf" (sf = split face). If that's true, then each parent must have been "Isisf". That simply put means that each parent had one dominant gene for Irish Spotting (Is) and one recessive gene for split face (isf). The three puppies with split faces - Wodin, Saga and Thora - must have two isf-genes. They must each be isfisf. That's an educated guess.

* However, the split face gene could be totally unrelated to the Irish Spotting gene - I suspect that may be the case. If that is the case, then we would need another symbol to show that. It's possible the gene could be abbreviated simply as sf. Our choices would be either S = not a split face or sf = a split face.
Genes =
S - not a split face
sf - a split face

SS - a dog without a split face. It has two genes for normal, non-split-faces
Ssf - a dog identical in appearance to the above - it also does not have a split face. It has one dominant gene for not having a split face and one hidden recessive sf-gene for split face.
sfsf - a split face dog that has two recessive sf-genes for split face.

So just to review. There are four genes that can produce varying amounts of white:
Is = Irish Spotting, a dominant gene
i = its recessive allele (partner) results in no white
ip = pied
isf = split face* see above

Every Icelandic Sheepdog has two of those genes above.

Now a quiz. Describe the physical appearance of the following dogs: - 
IsIs  = 
Isi    =
ii      =
Isip  =
ipip  = 

If you want to go further, you will definitely need a more experienced teacher. This particular one is an amateur and makes mistakes. I know of an experienced canine geneticist in Holland.

Genetics is endlessly fascinating and sometimes quite confusing. Everything that we know about genetics in any plant or animal species comes from actually doing test crosses. As a result of test crosses, geneticists try to come to conclusions about how various traits are inherited.

It will be wonderful to watch Isla and her siblings grow. 

Like her Viking ancestors newly arrived at Iceland from Scandinavia over a thousand years ago, she emerged from her ride, on a plane this time and not a Viking long boat, wagging her tail. That is quite typical for this breed. They LOVE people.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunna at Home

           Sunna is already enjoying the grass at her new home in Ohio!
                 Thank you Debbi and Michael. Really - thank you.


The Icelandic Sheepdog puppy named Vinlands Sunna left this afternoon for her new forever home with Debbi and Mike in Ohio. She has the "Kohl-eyes" typical of some of the more beautiful Icelandics. Cleopatra would have been a good name for Sunna - - you never know if the eyeliner will persist. 

Debbi and Michael brought along Moose, Sunna's Icelandic relative, so he could meet his cousins and see his kennel dad. Moose's mom Pila is the sister to Sunna's mom Totty. Moose and Sunna had different fathers. 

Sunna will be living on a farm - how wonderful!

It was interesting to see Moose all grown up. It's surprising - maybe not surprising at all really - to see that Moose has a temperament (personality) similar to Bear, his sire. I predict that Sunna will soon have Moose under her control.

                             Wodin, Saga and Sunna and Aunt Pila.

The "toy" the pups played with the most was the leash Debbi and Mike brought in with Moose. They loved it. I would suggest a tug leash might be a good training device for these pups.

Sunna, Isla, Wodin, Saga, Thora

Having only five puppies seems easy after six. Tonight there will be only four.
Thora, Wodin, Sunna, Saga, Isla 

(There have been no signs of diarrhea since last Thursday, May 24, 2012.)

Friday, May 25, 2012


Vinlands Kani, aka Tryggur, finished his AKC Championship under Judge Charles L. Ovis and with handler Ann Keil on Saturday, May 19, 2012

Soffia left for her new home this afternoon. I'm very sad to see her go but I'm sure she is going to have a wonderful life with Linda and Mike.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I am truly blessed. Virtually all of my puppies have found fantastic, loving homes. This is Hringa, daughter of Korpur and Huld, who turns seven years old in June. She got hot on a walk recently and got carried for at least part of the way.

Thursday (Thor's Day) 5-24-12

A beautiful spring day. You're probably tired of all the Icelandic Sheepdog puppy photos so today it's garden photos. I don't have any grass in my backyard because I don't have a lawn mower.

Can you find the Pila, Kria and Tryggur hidden at the bottom of the Rhododendron?

Here are Bear (in the sun), Kria, Pila, and Totty. (Clicking on photos enlarges them a bit.)

 Bear and Kria. People ask me if my dogs don't destroy my garden. I ask you: Does it look like it? Like all Icelandics they can be pretty rambunctious running through things like whirling dervishes. I do not discourage them. It's their yard more than it's mine. They are out in it year long. I don't use it much in the winter. 

Our motto here? You have to be tough if you're a plant in this yard. If you can't survive the Icelandics, you don't belong here.

 My favorite Peony - probably because it's one I grew from a seed. Yes, you can do that! They are plants like all other plants! And it smells like Peonies are supposed to smell. I have some more seedlings this year too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday (Wodin's Day), May 23, 2012

The pups are all OK today, Wednesday, May 23, 2012. I'm crossing my fingers and continuing the Albon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Uh Oh!


Vinlands Isla, Sunna, Thora and Saga

The puppies are sleeping less and playing more. 

A couple of days ago one of the puppies got a case of diarrhea. Unfortunately it was hard to tell which one was affected. I watched and waited and waited and waited to see if I could tell which pup was affected with no luck. Now it seems to have spread to at least two other pups. I started treating them all with Albon. 

I strongly suspect they have coccidia which is very common in pups of all breeds after they are weaned. I'm hoping I caught it in time for them to recover before their scheduled departures. I don't want to release them to their new homes until they are OK again.

I will keep you informed on their progress and any changes in plans if necessary. 

FLIGHTS: - Isla is traveling to Pennsylvania on Monday, May 28. Saga and Wodin are scheduled to leave on Friday June 1 for Milwaukee and Seattle.

COMING TO PICK THEIR PUPS UP: - Soffia's family will be picking her up some time during Memorial Day weekend. Sunna will be picked up on Sunday, May 27. Thora will leave on June 2.

                                               Vinlands Saga, Thora, Wodin

Fortunately the diarrhea has not affected their energy or their appetites.
                                                 Vinlands Wodin, Thora

The pups have "discovered" rawhide chewers and love them. (The chewers were introduced after they got diarrhea.)
                                                     Vinlands Soffia
They are also fond of carrying the dumbbells around (usually by the center bar but not always).

                                                     Vinlands Saga, Isla


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hughes Gardens' Iris

For several years I visited Hughes Gardens on Lahser in Southfield to purchase unusual and old fashioned garden plants. Hughes was an avid gardener and sold plants from his yard and garden for many years as Southfield changed from a rural setting to an urban one.

On my very last visit there before he passed away and his 'farm' was sold to build something big and modern I found a small, wild species iris - not in flower. It has since flowered every year and been divided a couple of times. It's never vigorous but the small late spring/early summer flowers are gorgeously colored. This is my best effort so far to capture its unique orchid-like beauty. I fail every time.

                                              Click on the photo to see it better.
                          If anyone knows the name of this species, please let me know.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Who knew "pop" (soda) bottles could be so 
 much fun?

 Yeah, but this pink pig watering can is better!

That's "my" cookie!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lessons from Mom

It's amazing to watch my Icelandic Sheepdog female Totty play with and teach her puppies; she's the best mother I've ever had. (Maybe I say that every year!) I love this breed. They still have most of their important primitive instincts which makes them unique and very special.

Today each puppy got "collared". 

I get them used to a collar before they leave their birth home so that their new families can take them for a walk on a short leash immediately after their arrival. 

They love being able to walk on the grass (or even the cement) after being cooped up for the duration of the flight. Without a collar, it is harder to control the puppies when they arrive. 

The last thing you want to have happen is for your puppy to escape from you and scoot out into traffic on the tarmac after successfully traveling all the way from my home to your home! 

If your puppy is being shipped, please take a leash with you to the airport. Attach the leash to the collar and make sure the collar is still securely closed before releasing the pup for a little exercise. 

It's also a good idea to take a small kitchen garbage bag in order to remove and dispose of the absorbent material (shredded newspaper) that may have become soiled during transport. A fresh cotton towel or more clean newspaper may be nice to replace the dirty material you throw away at the airport.

The pups are also very likely going to be thirsty and/or hungry on their arrival at their new home. Bottled water and some kibble would be appreciated. Food is love. I tape a sandwich bag with their kibble, Eukanuba Lamb and Rice Puppy, to the crate and usually the airport staff feed and/or water the puppies on their voyage. If the bag of kibble is still attached, you may use that because they will be familiar with its taste, smell and texture. These puppies, however, are not fussy. They will probably be happy with any food.

Their stomachs may be a little upset after the trip, especially if it is a long one, so feed them relatively bland food until you are sure they are OK.

Brekkubrúns Icelandic Sheepdogs

Here are some photos of the five puppies, four males and one female, born recently to Brekkubrúns Icelandics. They are looking for their forever homes.

Google Brekkubruns Icelandics to see more photos and information on how to adopt one of them.

Here's Christine's email address: -






Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Icelandic Sheepdog Puppies

If you are still looking for a wonderful canine companion, I highly recommend the latest litter of Icelandic Sheepdog puppies from my good friend Christine. The photos above show the sire of the litter, Edgar.

You can check the puppies out on her blog by Googleing Brekkubruns Icelandics.

Or you can contact her directly via email: -   for more information.

They are about four weeks old now and will soon be ready to set out on their Viking voyage.

The photos below show the mother of the litter, Kippa. Christine takes really good action shots. I love the photos of Edgar and Kippa "flying".

 Both Edgar and Kippa have some old North American ancestors and some more recently imported ancestors to add to their genetic diversity.