Do you have puppies available? How often do you breed?
We own two female Icelandic Sheepdogs and they are both retired from breeding. We don’t expect to have another female in the family for a few years. We have been fortunate to have co-bred three litters with other breeders, and this gives us a chance to continue contributing to the breed. One strategy to increase genetic diversity in our breed is to produce litters from a wider selection of dogs, rather than selecting only one or two dogs in each generation to reproduce. I’m very pleased that Solhundur dogs can contribute to genetic diversity in this way, though I don’t keep numerous dogs and won’t be breeding on a yearly basis. I will post information on co-bred litters as available, but generally the puppy applications and placement process will be done by the primary owner of the female having the litter.
Our Puppy Raising Principles
Our puppies are raised in our home. We begin the house-training process while the pups are in the whelping box, although it will take a couple of months or more for puppies to be 100% reliable in their new homes. We also introduce clicker-training at 4 weeks of age, which sets an excellent foundation for future learning. Before they go to their new homes, our pups receive their first vet visit, deworming, and are microchipped with a CKC microchip. As we are CKC members our puppies come with a free 6-week trial of Petplan insurance that is activated the day they go their new home. We handle and socialize our puppies extensively and give them all the same start in life as we would for any performance/show prospect we were keeping for ourselves.
Our puppies are CKC registered and eligible to participate in CKC events including Obedience, Rally Obedience, Agility, Herding and Tracking. They are also eligible for UKC registration which enables them to participate in yet more dog sport activities.
We match puppies to their new families based on the results of temperament testing at 7 weeks, as well as herding potential testing at 9 weeks, and on-going observations of their personality and behaviour. Puppies are eye tested at 8 weeks of age by a veterinary opthalmologist.
From five litters that we have bred or co-bred, we are proud to have a couple of puppies in working farm home, several pups are in show/obedience/sports homes, and the other puppies are active and loving companions.
What health problems are in the breed? What health tests do you do?
There is hip dysplasia present in the breed. Out of Icelandic Sheepdogs whose results are registered with the OFA, 14.8% are diagnosed by x-ray to have hip dysplasia. So it is important to test the hips of every dog before breeding. 9.6% of Icelandic Sheepdogs have Excellent hips (this includes our female Sòley). More information is on the OFA website: www.offa.org
Like many other pure breeds, eye diseases have occurred in the Icelandic Sheepdog. The most known disease, although not very common, is juvenile cataracts. The cataracts may be present from a very young age or first diagnosed around 2-4 years of age. Another eye disease that’s been found in the Icelandic Sheepdog is retinal dysplasia. This can generally be diagnosed when the dog is quite young. Another eye condition sometimes found is PPM (persistent pupillary membrane) which seems to run in families. PPM typically doesn’t affect vision, so it’s the breeder’s decision whether to breed dogs with this condition. PPM may be present in very young pups, although it isn’t formally diagnosed until pups are over 16 weeks of age – pups may also outgrow the condition.
I know of some incidences of hypothyroidism and heart murmurs in the breed, in North America and in other countries, these issues seem to run in families so we believe at this time it’s worth testing our breeding stock.
We have tested and will continue to test our breeding dogs with hip exams, annual eye exams from a Board-certified veterinary opthalmologist, heart exams from a Board-certified veterinary cardiologist, and thyroid exams. We register the results of all tests with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) . Having the results publicly available in their open database contributes to genetic health and research for generations to come. The Icelandic Sheepdog is one of the breeds participating in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) initiative. Our two female Icelandics will be donating DNA samples to the CHIC program and this effort could also benefit the breed in years to come.