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I am Maggý, I was born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland but now I live in Dayton Ohio along with my husband Jeff, our son Kristinn and Five dogs, Rocky, Adrienne, Snotra, Spurðann and Spurðanella.
Our first dog Rocky, a Boston Terrier came to us in 2002. A year later we got Adrienne, also a Boston Terrier.
While growing up in Iceland, my father would tell me stories about his dogs Spurðann (Ask him) and Hvað (What). When they encountered people who asked him what his dogs are called, he would reply with "Ask him" or "What" making people questioning his father and ask why his son was so rude and would not tell them the dogs names.
I loved listening to his stories about the adventures he had with his dogs and always dreamed of having Icelandic Sheepdog myself.
In January 2004 I had to convince Jeff we needed another dog, but he told me to go ahead and look for one, but didn’t think we were ready for another dog yet. Little did he know... I had started looking on the internet and was surprised that Icelandic Sheepdogs were being bred here in the States. I knew I wanted a dog from Iceland though and happened to come across Hörður Þorsteinssons website. I talked to him and his wife Stína to coordinate getting my first Icelandic Sheepdog from them. Now for the hard part I had to tell Jeff we were going to take a six hour one way trip to Orlando to pick up our new puppy. I guess I had forgotten that I was only looking at the dogs.
Now after all these years my dream finally came true when we got Snotra from Hnúks Kennel in Iceland in 2004.
In 2005 I convinced Jeff what we needed another Icelandic Sheepdog, this time he didn't say much I think he knew that it wasn't a matter of if, but when. I started searching and talked to Hörður and Stína again, they found a wonderful puppy for me from Iceland. Hörður knew the story about my fathers dogs, so he asked the breeder to name him Spurdann in honor of my father and his dog.
Jeff and Kristinn went to Frederick Maryland to pick him up from a wonderful lady Álfhildur who was gracious enough to get him from the airport in Baltimore and keep him overnight.
Spurðann joined us in January 2005.
Spurðanella was born in 2008, she is our baby girl from Spurðann’s and Snotra’s litter Now with 3 beautiful Icelandic Sheepdogs in our household, I am very happy and very busy to keep all three of them occupied and happy, they are always with me just like my shadow, I just love that about this breed.
I consider myself lucky to be blessed with my wonderful dogs, I get to spend my days with them, and wouldn't want it any other way.
Probably the best feature of this breed is its temperament, they love their family and want to be with the family as much as possible. This breed is not a breed that can be left in a crate for long periods of a time, for centuries these dogs have worked side by side with their master, that is when they are happiest.
Breeders who “collect” this breed and then keep them in kennels and crates are doing the breed harm. This breed needs room to exercise and a nurturing loving family, they will not do well if they are left alone all day.
Unfortunately I have begun to see dogs with yellow or blue eyes, totally wrong!
From the FCI Standard with Comments:
The eyes are an important part of the expression. They are lively, intelligent, and firm. The color of the eyes must be as dark as possible to obtain the expression strived after. A little lighter eye is normal for chocolate color and some cream colored dogs (dogs with brown pigmentation).
Other colors, such as yellow eyes, are considered a serious deviation and blue are untypical in this breed. The pigmentation, which also forms part of the overall expression, must be as dark as possible, no matter whether it is black or brown.
Aggressiveness and barking for no reason is not typical.
From the FCI Standard with Comments:
Cheerfulness, friendliness, and curiosity must be recognized during the exterior judgment. The Icelandic Sheepdog is interested in meeting people and very often signals this behavior. An anxious looking Icelandic Sheepdog does not meet the behavior described in the standard and is not typical for the breed as a whole. The same goes for dogs being aggressive or showing aggressive behavior against people.
I believe breeding should be done thoughtfully and carefully, with lot of considerations, and looking to breed up only.
Of course life is not perfect and sometimes things don't work out as expected, but breeders should learn from their mistakes and should strive for pairings that will better our breeding.
This breed is slow to mature, and while some breeders don't like to wait for the dog or bitch to reach the age of two before they begin breeding, to me it is important to follow the guidelines recommended by the Icelandic Sheepdog International Cooperation's (ISIC) Breeding Committee. These standards were developed based on research of the ISIC countries in cooperation with the scientific community in support of the continued health of the breed.
When a group of people begin breeding for just one trait such as color, that really concerns me, when type, temperament, and health are much more important then "That Special Color".
When breeders breed “just because they want puppies” and do so without consideration whether the breeding will produce puppies that meet the standard, sometimes with no health checks or even with known health issues in the dog or bitches line, too young or too old, or dogs that are just not typical. Those people or rather “Producers” are not improving the breed but are lining their wallet.
Maggý with Nella Snotra and Spurðann
For more information, please read this article by Sigríður Pétursdóttir breed expert.