Icelandic Sheep Breed Standard

This is the Icelandic Breed Standard which is what we as breeders are to follow when breeding Icelandics. This provides somewhat of a picture of the "ideal" Icelandic sheep which can be used to judge your own animals against.  This is especially important to keep in mind when you are shopping for sheep.

General Description
  • A medium sized sheep
  • Fine boned with an open face and legs
  • Mature body weights, Rams 90-100 kgs., Ewes 60-65 kgs
  • Short with a broad forehead to the nostrils
  • Nostrils should be well open, lips thick and jaw strong looking
  • Eyes should be bright and alert
  • Horned and polled acceptable in both sexes
  • Horns growing too close to the face is undesirable
  • Short, round and broading at shoulders so that where neck and shoulders meet is not noticeable
  • Rams should have a much thicker neck area than ewes
  • Broad, blending smoothly into body
  • Rounded and meaty
Chest and Ribs
  • Broad and reach well in front of legs
  • Wide chest cavity
  • Ribs should stand well out and be well rounded
Back, Loin, and Rump
  • Long, thick back muscle with firm flesh
  • Loin is broad, roundish, strong
  • Rump is broad well muscled, fairly long but can taper back a bit
Feet and Legs
  • Legs are well muscled and thick, muscle reaching far down towards the hock
  • Feet are short, thick, straight and squarely placed
  • Pasterns are strong, angling about 45 degrees to the ground
  • There should be a lot of wool
  • Fleece comes in wide range of natural colours
  • Wool is dual coated; fine wavy undercoat called thel and long, coarse corkscrewy outercoat called tog.
  • Kemp in wool is undesirable
  • Color variable, depending on colour of wool.
  • Tail is naturally short, fluke shaped, mostly covered with hair, 15-20 cm long on a full-grown sheep.
  • Docking of tail disqualifies Icelandic sheep from registration.
Serious Defects
  • Badly twisted legs