Information and Questions to Ask
                          Why do I want to buy this puppy??

Gee! It sure is cute and no one else I know has one!
I just have to have that one!!  Sound familiar?  I'm sure it does.  We have all been guilty of this to some
degree.  So, how should we approach the purchase of a new family member?  Research, ask questions,
try and find an owner in your area so you can "meet the breed", join a bulletin board that has information.  
Why is this important?   Great question!  Let me try and answer this without generating too many new

Yes, ISD puppies are cute, as are most puppies.  So disregard the cute factor as a primary selection
point.  I want to be the first one on my block to own one.  Another factor to disregard, there are millions of
buyers who have never seen an Icie.  OK, what should I be looking for?  Now we are on the right track.

There are a number of factors we need to put into a priority list.  This will help you find and purchase a
quality pet that will meet your need and expectations:

1:  Health risks:  What are the health risks I can expect with this puppy?  Best answer to this question is to
look at the health of the parents.  Have they had their hips and elbows evaluated by OFA or PennHIP
xrays?  What were the results?  Have the eyes of the parents been CERF evaluated yearly during their
breeding years?  Are there any eye health issues I need to know about?  Are there any other known health
issues with the parents, grandparents etc of this puppy?  The breeder is the person who should be able to
answer these and other health questions for you.  If they won't or have not had any health checks done
then these is only one logical thing to do: WALK AWAY, find another litter to locate a puppy.  Don't
depend on a breeder to get the health checks done.

2: Family Environment:  How active is my family life?  Do I want to look for an active member of this
breed or the more laid back couch potato?  How big and secure is my yard?  Even the couch potato will
need a place to burn off energy.  Will we be active in any of the performance events, will we use the dog
as a working animal or just a companion?   Remember this puppy will be with you for 14 or 15 years.  
How will this puppy fit into our family situation?  Are there other animals to be considered, what about the
current and future children situation?  Now you are getting the idea!  This is a member of the herding
breeds; they want order in their lives.  They want to know everything about everyone and what they are
doing all the time.  They get along with most breeds of dogs; will learn to accept the house cat, and will
tolerate the wear and tear from children.  They don't like to be left alone, so take your times away from
home into consideration when considering this or any other breed.

3: Maintenance:  Do you know how much these dogs shed?  Do you know how much they bark?  Do you
know what they need to remain healthy for their life?  Do you know how much human contact they need?  
What size will these dogs get to? All good questions to ask a breeder.  There are two different hair lengths
found in this breed.  Both versions shed this coat in large quantity twice a year and in smaller amounts all
year round.  Bark, oh yes, and at everything!  They can be taught to bark less but will never be completely
broken of the habit.  Some bark more then others; this factor is a trait of each puppy and it's environment.  
All dogs, like people, need health check ups, a good quality diet and someone to watch what and how
much they eat.  They need flea, tick and heart worm protection year round in most parts of the country.  
This alone can run several hundred dollars a year.  This is a people breed; they want to be with you 24/7.  
They want to please and they want to be loved in return.  The weight of this breed will run from 20 to 50
pounds.  If you just want a dog for a decoration then the Icie is not the breed you want.  This is not a dog
to be recommended to a first time dog owner.

4:  What to look for:  Now you have made it through the questions above and all those they generated,
what are you really looking for?  Do you want a male or a female; a pet or a future breeder, long or short
haired version?  The male of this breed is more laid back then the females.  So if you have a less active life
style the male may be the best choice.  Not all males fit this laid back mold, some are very active.  So how
to you know?  Again, ask the breeder, they are the best person to know what the personality of each dog
is.  Once you and a breeder get to know each other and have discussed the type of dog you want, let the
breeder do the placing of the dogs.  They will have the best chance of placing the right dog in the right
home.   If your goal is to just have a companion, don't expect the "Pick of the Litter".  If you have a future
interest in breeding, be sure the breeder knows this.  Hair length is strictly personal preference; generally
the long haired version will weigh less then the shorter hair ones.

5: Breeders:  What do I look for in a breeder?  How will I know which ones to contact?  Can I trust
them?  What will they want from me?  The best place to find a breeder is on the national breed clubs
website.  This is true for all breeds.  You can find this information, in the USA, on the AKC, UKC, and
CKC websites.  Breeders in other countries can be found on their national breed club websites.  The
board of directors for the breed clubs are the one who approve breeders for inclusion on the club
website.  These are breeders who adhere to the code of conduct established by the parent clubs.  They
have shown they will comply with the by-laws set down in regards to health checks, breeding ages of their
dogs, number of litters produced by each female or sired by each male.  Ask the breeders you are
interested in what they offer in their sale package.  Is the puppy registered, will it have all the shots up to
date, is there a return clause in the contract, and what else can I expect for the price I'm paying.   Why are
puppies different prices?  Each breeder will set their price according to how they approach breeding.  You
need to determine if one breeder's package is better for you for the price they are asking.  Remember the
initial cost of the puppy is nothing compared to the on going cost of raising and maintaining the dog's quality
of life over the next 15 years.   Yes, there are other breeders who offer puppies for sale who do not
adhere to any kind of rules.

               Bottom line:

6: So what about the one I like the picture of?  Although the pictures are nice to watch ALL the puppies
grow; they should not be the deciding factor in the purchase of a puppy.  Do you think people who buy
Black or Yellow Labs care about the picture?  Not likely.  After 2 minutes with an Icie puppy you won't
care about the pictures either.

Knox Rhine
15 March 2005
                             WHAT A PUPPY IS NOT

A puppy is not a toy.

A puppy is a living creature that has a need for love, kindness and proper care for the rest of its
life, not just sufficient rest. It needs to be fed often when young. Young pups are especially
vulnerable to broken bones and other injuries from careless treatment.

A puppy is not a teaching aid.

A puppy should never be obtained to try to instill a sense of responsibility in children. It's unfair
to place a defenseless animal's well-being in the hands of children. Feeding, grooming,
housebreaking, and discipline training of a pup should be the responsibility of adults.

A puppy is not cheap.

The purchase price or adoption fee for a pet is a mere pittance compared to the cost of
veterinary care for routine and emergency treatment, licensing fees, food, equipment and toys
and grooming costs over the dog's life.

A puppy is not self-cleaning.

Dogs neither groom themselves nor clean up after themselves and, therefore, impose an
additional workload on the household.

A puppy is not a puppy forever.

But they do need your love and care forever. Be sure you understand the commitment involved
before succumbing to the charms of a cute, cuddly puppy.


DON?T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS! Good breeders encourage questions. If a breeder
tries to intimidate you or makes fun of the questions you are asking, politely end the

If a breeder states they don't need to screen the dogs they breed for genetic disorders (hips,
heart, eyes) because they don't have a problem in their line, politely end the conversation.

If the breeder claims they test their dogs, but can't find the certification papers or written results
in order to provide a copy to you prior to the purchase of the puppy, politely end the

If the breeder states the puppies are the result of an "accidental breeding," politely end the
conversation. Remember - conscientious breeders do not have "accidental breedings."

If a breeder states that it's too expensive to test all of the dogs they breed, politely end the
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! Walk away from all situations in which you are not comfortable.

NEVER buy a puppy or an adult dog because you feel sorry for it or want to rescue it from an
unhealthy or unhappy situation. If you do, you may go home with a sickly, unsocialized or
problematic dog, whose problems you will deal with for the rest of its life.

Most reputable breeders will ask you to contact them if for some reason your lifestyle changes
and you are no longer able to care for you pup, regardless of its age. Responsible breeders
continue to be responsible for the pups they produce FOR THE LIFE OF THE DOG! They will
offer to take back the dog and place it in a new home or keep it in their household.

A good breeder will also ask you to keep in touch with them so they can follow their pup's
progress. Many will ask if they can call you periodically and will invite you to return to their
homes occasionally so they can check the dog's progress. If you find such a breeder, you will be
in good hands.

Good luck with your search for a new addition to your family. If, after reading our guide, you
decide a puppy is just too much work, please consider a rescued Golden. These dogs are usually
house-trained and in most cases, "what you see is what you get."


Q. Do you require a written contract? If so, may I have a copy prior to making my decision to
purchase one of your puppies?
* Reputable breeders are happy to give you a copy of their contract prior to your purchase. They want
you to have a through understanding of what is expected and to agree to the terms of the sale.

Q. How many dogs do you own? Are they house-dogs?
* Many good breeders consider their dogs family, and usually have no more than can comfortably live in
their home. Too many dogs may result in lack of proper care.

Q. How many litters do you have each year?
* The AKC may investigate any breeder who has more than 10 litters a year. Puppies are a LOT of hard
work! Breeders who have many litters may not properly socialize each puppy or raise them properly.

Q. What is the cost of your puppies? Do you require a deposit?
* Breeders should be comfortable discussing their prices. Prices for well-bred ISDs in the USA range
from $900.00 to $1,500.00. Most breeders do require a deposit for a puppy. The deposit is usually
$300.00 to $600.00.

Q. Have the parents of this litter been x-rayed for evidence of hip dysplasia? Have the x-rays
been evaluated by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or PennHIP? Has a veterinary
cardiologist examined their hearts? Have their eyes been examined in the past 12 months by a
veterinary ophthalmologist (CERF)?
* The parents of well-bred pups will have all of their health clearances. Beware of the breeder who tells
you they haven't had time to do it yet, or those who make other excuses. ALL breeding stock should have
written certification that their hips, eyes, and hearts are normal. Hip dysplasia, canine cataracts and heart
murmurs may be hereditary.


Q. How old are the sire (father) & dam (mother) of this litter?
* No dog should be bred before the age of two years. Males should not be used for stud after twelve
years old and females should not be bred after eight years of age.

Q. What inherited health problems can Icelandic Sheepdogs have?
* If a breeder claims ISDs don't have inherited health problems, or that they are not aware of any, look
elsewhere for your puppy. ISDs can have many disorders, including hip or elbow dysplasia, cataracts and
other eye disorders, heart murmurs, allergies, undescended testicles, thyroid conditions, epilepsy, etc.

Q. Do you have or have you had any health or temperament problems in your line?
* Most lines have had some health problems that are hereditary, even if it's allergies.

Q. Do you belong to any Icelandic Sheepdog Clubs or all-breed kennel clubs? How long have
you been a member?
* Most reputable breeders are members of the Icelandic Sheepdog Association of America or a kennel
club, as well as a local specialty club.

Q. Have you ever shown your dog in obedience, conformation, agility, field, or tracking?
* Most reputable breeders are involved with their dogs at some level of competition. If they don't belong
to an organized club and don't participate with their dogs in a dog sport, think carefully before buying a
dog. They may be breeding solely for profit and the quality of their pups may be inferior.

Q. How long have you been involved with ISDs?
* Preferably the breeder should have been involved with ISDs for several years before breeding a litter.
Breeders should have a thorough understanding of genetics, nutrition, behavior and temperament and the
breed standard.

Q. Do you give a health guarantees with your puppies?
* It's reasonable to expect a 48 - 72 hour health guarantee against contagious diseases. Some breeders
will give a longer guarantee and should offer to take the puppy back if it becomes ill and you cannot keep

Q. Are there any special conditions or restrictions regarding my purchase of one of your
* If you are buying a pup for a pet/companion, there is NO REASON a breeder should want to use your
pet quality dog for breeding purposes. Some breeders may ask to retain breeding rights or insist you breed
your dog and give them a certain number of puppies. Beware: This may be an easy way for the breeder to
make some extra money! Breeding is a LOT of WORK. It can be very expensive and may even be
dangerous for your dog! Breeders who insist you breed your dog may not have the best interest of the dog
or the breed at heart. Only "show quality" dogs should be bred, and then only by experienced,
knowledgeable people. Many responsible breeders require their pups be spayed/neutered or they sell the
pup with an AKC limited registration, which allows your pup to be registered, but if it is later bred, litters
produced by the dog are not eligible for AKC registration.

Q. Will the puppy have its shots and be wormed before it goes to its new home?
* Puppies should have been given their first puppy shots (DHLPP) and be wormed. Most puppies have
roundworms when they are born and may need several wormings, starting as early as three weeks of age.
You should receive a written schedule of the dates and types of inoculations and wormings and when
additional inoculations or wormings are due.

Q. May I have copies of the test results of the health screenings that have been done and of the
reports certifying the sire and dam as normal?
* Written results of the health screenings are always given to the owner when a dog is tested for
genetic disorders. Reputable breeders are always willing to provide copies of all reports. ALL
breeding stock (parents) should have written certifications that their hips, eyes and hearts are
normal. Hip dysplasia, canine cataracts and heart murmurs may be hereditary.

Q. What happens to my deposit if for some reason I don't get a puppy?
* If you don't receive a pup through no fault of your own (small litter, puppies died, etc.) or if the puppy
that has been chosen for you appears sick or has a poor temperament, a conscientious breeder will refund
your deposit or offer to give you a puppy from their next litter if you are willing to wait

Q. Do the parents have prick ears, curled tail?
* The bred standard requires this in the appearance of the breed.  If the parents have the correct ears and
tails, then their offspring should also possess these traits

Q. Do they have double Dewclaws?  Medium or Long hair?
* Double dewclaws are desired, singles are acceptable.  The hair length is an individual preference.

Q. What are the size, color and temperament of the parents?
* The larger the parents the larger the offspring tend to be.  Color tends to change till the dog reaches 2
years of age, but looking at the parents will give you good idea what color the pups will be.  Not a firm
rule since genetics will always come into play!
Important Information Regarding the Importation of
                   Dogs and Puppies

Note: This is a direct translation taken from the Deild Íslenska Fjárhunsins (DÍF) website  the parent club
for the Icelandic Sheepdog in Iceland and operates under the Icelandic Kennel Club, the HRFÍ

Á ISIC ráðstefnunni í Kaupmannahöfn i október 2004 var ákveðið að koma eftirfarandi upplýsingum í
blöð aðildarlandanna.

At the ISIC conference in Copenhagen in October 2004 it was decided to provide the following
information to the newsletters of the partner countries.

Upplýsingarnar höfða til allra ræktenda og eiganda að íslenskum fjárhundum og ættu allir sem vilja
varðveita íslenska fjárhundinn í framtíðinni að lesa þær.

The information is for all breeders and owners of the Icelandic Sheepdog and should be read by
everyone who wants to preserve the Icelandic Sheepdog for the future.

Til að tryggja framgang íslenska fjárhundsins fyrir komandi kynslóðir, er mikilvægasta verkefni ISIC og
allra klúbba að varðveita, og ef mögulega er hægt, að auka við  genabreidd stofnsins. Með tilkomu ISIC
samvinnunnar hefur orðið til nokkuð sem er einstakt fyrir eitt kyn, það er að segja  gagnagrunnurinn um
alla íslenska fjárhunda sem eru ættbókarskráðir í heiminum, frá þeim tíma er  byrjað var að skrá hunda á
Íslandi fyrir ca. 50 árum.

To ensure the future of the Icelandic Sheepdog for the next generation it is the most important mission of
the ISIC and all clubs to preserve, and if possible, to increase the genetic variability in the population.
With the ISIC cooperation we have something that is unique for any dog breed, and that is a database of
all Icelandic Sheepdogs that are registered with an FCI pedigree, from the time registration was started in
Iceland about 50 years ago.

Með tilliti til þeirra hunda sem eru grunnurinn ( upphafið) fyrir tegundina, skiptir samt mestu máli að hafa
þekkingu á öllum hundum í heiminum, til hagnýtis fyrir áframhaldandi ræktun. Það er samt hvað sem öðru
líður áhætta að þessir möguleikar takmarkist, og við viljum þess vegna biðja meðlimi og einkum
ræktendur, að vera meðvitaðir um það sem stendur hér að neðan. Þrátt fyrir að það séu ekki margir sem
hafa áhuga á upplýsingum um samtökin, sýnir þetta hvaða þýðingu þau  geta haft fyrir framhald á
framgangi hundakynsins.

With consideration to the founding dogs (the first registered dogs) of the breed, it is crucial to have
knowledge of all dogs in the world, for future breeding. There is a danger that the comprehensiveness of
this knowledge will be limited and therefore we want our members and especially all breeders to be
aware of the information that will be provided here below. Although many may not realize the importance
of the information, this explanation will show the important role they can have for the future of the
Icelandic Sheepdog.

Við sem myndum þær sjö opinberu ræktunardeildir innan ISIC,  erum  gegnum hundaræktarfélög okkar
landa tengd ,,Federation Cynologique Internationale” (FCI), stærstu  samtök sinnar tegundar í heiminum.
We,  the seven official partners within the ISIC, are through the kennel clubs in our countries connected
to the “Federation Cynologique Internationale” (FCI), the biggest organization of its kind in the world.
Öll FCI-löndin hafa í gegnum alþjóðlegt samkomulag samskonar kröfur um útgáfu á ættbókarskrám. FCI
ábyrgist gegnum sín samhljóma lög sannleika ættbókanna.

All the FCI countries have, through international agreement, the same requirements about how to publish
pedigrees. FCI guarantees, with its rules, the authenticity of the pedigrees.
Á Norðulöndum fer fyrrnefnd ættbókarskráning fram hjá hundaræktarfélögum landanna-  í Danmörku hjá
In the Nordic countries, dogs are registered with the FCI kennel clubs in each country – in Denmark it is
the Danish Kennel Club (DKK):

Í Þýskalandi er innan þýska hundaræktarfélagsins , viðurkenndur  sérklúbbur ,,Þýskur klúbbur fyrir
norræna hunda” (DCNH) - ábyrgð á tegundum og ættbókarskráningum  fyrir norræn hundakyn, meðal
annars íslenska fjárhundinn. Í gegnum sína tenginu við þýska hundaræktarfélagið er DCNH hluti af FCI.

In Germany, there is within the German Kennel Club, the recognized breed club, “German Club for
Nordic Dog Breeds” (DCNH), that is responsible for the breeding and registration of the nordic dog
breeds, including the Icelandic Sheepdog. Through its connection to the German Kennel Club, the
DCNH is part of and recognized by FCI.

Það er samt til  klúbbur sem ekki er viðurkenndur, er hann fyrir áhugafólk um hreinræktun í Þýskalandi.
Hann  er kallaður Vereinigung der Züchter, Besitzer und Freunde des Islandhundes in Deutschland
(vdZBF) Félagsskapur ræktenda, eigenda og vina Íslandshundsins í Þýskalandi.  Undir pappírum frá
þeim stendur ,,Freunde”.  Þessi klúbbur er ekki innan FCI eins og við hin,  og hjá þeim eru útgefnar
ættbækur með þeim skilmálum, að þær séu ekki viðurkenndar af hundaræktarfélögum innan FCI.  
Afkvæmi skráð af  Freunde, fá sem sagt ekki ættbækur sem eru viðurkenndar, þó svo hundarnir eigi
foreldra með FCI-ættbækur. Afkvæmin nýtast þar með ekki til framhaldsræktunar hjá viðurkenndum
ræktunarfélagögum  innan FCI. Þessa hunda er ekki hægt að sýna eða leyfa þátttöku í keppnum á
nokkrum vettvangi inn FCI-samtakanna.

Nonetheless, there is also a club in Germany that is not official, for people interested in purebreeding in
Germany. It is called Vereinigung der Züchter, Besitzer und Freunde des Islandhundes in Deutschland
(VDZBF) or The partnership of breeders, owners and friends of the Icelandic Sheepdog in Germany. On
their paperwork they are called“Freunde” (directly translated as friend). This club is not within the FCI
system as all of the ISIC FCI eligible countries are (the ISAA is in the AKC and AKC has a system of
reciprocity with the FCI). Pedigrees from the Freunde Club are not accepted by the clubs within FCI,
because they refuse to follow the breeding rules of the FCI kennel clubs. Offspring registered by Freunde
do not get accepted pedigrees, even though the parents might have FCI pedigrees. It is not possible to
use offspring of those dogs for future breeding by accepted kennel/breed clubs within FCI/ISIC. It is not
possible to allow or show these dogs in any type of shows in any field within the FCI organization,
because they cannot be proven as 100% Icelandic Sheepdogs.

Ræktendur innan hinna alþjóðlegu ræktunarfélaga sem selja/afhenda hunda til VdZBF eða annarra
óviðurkenndra klúbba ( sem velja að vera utan okkar reglna og skrá hunda á sinn hátt)  taka þá áhættu
þar með að minnka genabreidd kynsins.

Breeders within the international breed clubs that sell or give puppies to VDZBF or other clubs that are
not recognized / official (that choose to be outside our rules and register the dogs in their own way) are
therefore risking the purity of the genepool and  the genetic variation of the Icelandic Sheepdog will

Ættbækur viðurkenndar af félögum sem eru innan FCI, þekkjast af merki  FCI (lógói)

Pedigrees recognized by clubs that are within FCI can be known by the FCI logo.

Note: See official FCI Logo below. If you are purchasing a puppy from a country other than Canada or
the U.S., be sure to ask the breeder if the puppy will come with an official FCI pedigree. This insures you
are purchasing a purebred Icelandic Sheepdog. If not, we encourage you to not import that puppy. If you
are buying a second generation dog from imported dogs, be sure that both parents have an FCI pedigree
unless they are both from Canada or the U.S. Any reputable breeder of Icelandic Sheepdogs will
willingly provide you with copies of the sire and dam‘s pedigrees. To see a list of the approved FCI
breedclubs of the Icelandic Sheepdog, please go to These
countries adhere to FCI breeding rules and provide secure pedigrees for the Icelandic Sheepdog.
Important Information about Non-FCI/CKC Import
On December 2, 2008, the ISAA Board of Directors voted unanimously to pass the following:

As of December 2, 2008, any Icelandic Sheepdog imported without an official FCI or CKC pedigree will
not be advertised on the ISAA website. Furthermore, no offspring of those dogs will be advertised in any
club or ISAA chapter publication or website. The ISAA will not advocate nor support securing an AKC
pedigree. This does not affect any non-FCI or CKC imports prior to this date nor the offspring of those
dogs born prior to December 2, 2008.

Click here for recognized clubs