When Nearly 75% of This Breed Was Decimated

During the 1800s in Iceland, Icelandic Sheepdogs were very nearly lost as a breed more than once. When a tapeworm infestation broke out among the sheep, Icies became infected because of their closeness to the stock. Then distemper raged across Iceland, and between the tapeworm and distemper outbreaks, nearly 75% of the dogs in Iceland died. Because of a law imposed by the government to prevent future disease outbreaks, a tax was levied on dogs which further reduced the number of Icelandic Sheepdogs. Farmers with only two sheepdogs were exempt from the tax, but any more, but they were forced to pay up.

Image: Photo by Michelle Jansen

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