The Working Icie

The Icelandic Sheepdog, not just a pretty face, is actively used as a sheepdog in his homeland today. There are no historical land predators of sheep in Iceland, so sheep are either left alone for much of the grazing season, or minimally watched. In the spring, they are moved to pasture, and in the autumn, the sheep are gathered and brought down from the mountains.

Often described as a large dog in the body of a small dog, the Icie is a “loose-eyed” gatherer that drives stock forward with barking, pushing, and an occasional “grip.”  The dogs work in conjunction with shepherds on horses with whom Icies get along particularly well. They work the sheep in a semi-circular pattern in which they run back and forth, often with tremendous bursts of speed, and they can work independently, or with commands that come in the way of whistles, gestures or verbal commands. 

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