The herding character of the Iceland Dog is very much unlike the Border Collie. The Border Collie collects the sheep into a
group, then the man goes before the group and the Border Collie follows the man. The man shows him where to move
them. With the Iceland Dog, the man follows the dog. The Iceland Dog can work independently, the man rides a horse and
the Iceland dogs works fast.
The sheep are in the mountain in the autumn and they need to be collected and brought together for sorting out to each
farmer. The group of sheep is mixed and the dogs bring them together and bring them down the hill. The Iceland Dog
works in a horseshoe pattern, not a circle, pushing the sheep into the fold. The Iceland dog was the worker for the farmer
and is able to do the same job today.
I watch the Iceland Dog work today on my farm bringing in the cows and it is wonderful for me to watch them. Ólafsvellir
is a farm of over 1500 acres. On my land, they work three together, one collects the difficult ones and the male moves the
whole thing. The bitches collect and he pushes. It is such a beautiful thing to see. This is the job of the Iceland Dog. This is
correct. This has been the natural way for them to work throughout the centuries.
They can work with all animals, sheep, cows and horses. They work differently with each kind of animal. It bears with it the
special characteristic of this dog. It is not necessary for them to live this way, but they must have the ability to herd, in form
and in mind. They protect the herd. The Iceland Dog, he is collecting them, the family, and driving them toward safety. They
have to be able to trot from morning to evening without tiring. Movement is extremely important. They rarely move slowly,
they trot. If you tell an Iceland Dog to guard something, he will give voice.
This is why it is so important to keep the Iceland Dog unchanged from what they looked like years ago, like in the picture
Mark Watson made for me. That is the correct Iceland Dog, like the copper etching. It is a copper etching that was used
around 1900 and Mark Watson bought it for me. (See below)
|Click on photos to enlarge
Copper etching used with permission of Sigridur Pétursdóttir.