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Iceland Farehound

Country/Date of Origin: Iceland/1800s

This breed is believed to have been originally brought to Iceland by the Vikings where it was used as a herding dog. It came close to extinction in the early 1900s when it was almost wiped out by a viral epidemic (probably distemper.) Thirty years later most of the Farehonds were killed to stop an epidemic of tapeworm that is communicable to sheep and humans. A few of the breed were sent to England in the 1950s and it has thrived there and on mainland Scandinavia. It has been accepted for showing under FCI rules and is now making inroads back into its native Iceland.

FCI Group: 5 (Working)

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Icelandic Sheepdog, Friar Dog

AKC Group: Miscellaneous

Breed Club:

Rescue Club:

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Body Type:

  • A small spitz type dog
  • Height: 12-16 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 20-30 pounds
  • The tail is set high and carried curled over the back. It is not altered
  • The ears are carried erect and are not altered


  • Intelligent
  • Easily trained
  • Loyal


  • The coat is thick and carried close to the body. It may be either short or long in length
  • All colors are permissible with a golden red being the most common
  • Moderate grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Generally robust
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Unlike most spitz breeds, the Farehond is not a hunting dog. It does not have the roaming predilection of that group but the homebody propensity of the herding dogs
  • This is a lively dog that requires plenty of exercise
  • Should be socialized at an early age
  • It will be difficult to obtain a puppy in the United States

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