Pet Insurance for Icelandic Sheepdogs

Find out all about Icelandic Sheepdogs and their common health conditions, then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on September 20th, 2023       

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Price range







Energetic, friendly, alert

Coat length

Medium, dense double coat

Exercise needs




Life expectancy

12–15 years

Icelandic Sheepdog


The Icelandic Sheepdog, the only dog breed indigenous to Iceland, has been a loyal companion to Icelandic farmers for centuries. Bred for herding and protecting livestock in Iceland’s rugged terrain, these dogs exhibit a blend of strength and agility. Their compact frame, double coat and bushy tail are distinctive features, providing insulation against harsh Icelandic winters.

With a friendly disposition and keen intelligence, Icelandic Sheepdogs have evolved from working dogs to cherished pets. They are known for their affectionate and amiable nature, making them wonderful companions for active families. These dogs interact well with children and other pets, especially when introduced to them early in life. Their agility and intelligence also make them excellent candidates for various dog sports and activities, enhancing their physical and mental well-being.

Common diseases and conditions of Icelandic Sheepdogs

  • Hip dysplasia: this is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to arthritis and mobility issues. It can be managed with medication, weight management and sometimes surgery.
  • Eye issues: Icelandic Sheepdogs may face various eye issues, including cataracts, which cloud the lens of the eye and can lead to vision impairment; distichiasis, where extra eyelashes irritate the eye; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an inherited condition leading to progressive vision loss and potential blindness. Early detection is key to managing these conditions effectively.
  • Ear infections: due to their fluffy ears, Icelandic Sheepdogs can be prone to ear infections. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent this.
  • Luxating patella: this is a condition where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position. It can range from mild to severe and may require surgery in severe cases.

Breed-specific issues:  

Icelandic Sheepdogs have a natural herding instinct, which may lead them to try to round up other animals or even children, and potentially chase cars. Proper training and supervision, especially around young children, are essential to manage this behaviour. The dogs also have a tendency to bark, especially at unfamiliar people, which makes them good watchdogs but may bother neighbours!

How much does pet insurance cost for an Icelandic Sheepdog?

There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your Icelandic Sheepdog, including the following: 

  • Age: the older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because older dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.   
  • Type of insurance you choose:  there are three basic types of pet insurance available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most. 
  • The policy annual limit: each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.  
  • Sub limits: in addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub limits that apply to the policy, for example a $300 sub limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.  
  • Benefit percentage: pet insurance may not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies up to 90% for top-of-the-range cover. 
  • Excess amount: this is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, while others do. 
  • Any add-ons you choose: it’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.  

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

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Common questions about Icelandic Sheepdogs

Are Icelandic Sheepdogs suitable for apartment living?

No – Icelandic Sheepdogs are active and energetic dogs that thrive with space to run and play. While they can adapt to apartment living if given enough exercise and mental stimulation, they are generally better suited to homes with a yard or open space. Furthermore, due to their vocal nature, close neighbours might be disturbed by the dog’s regular barking.

Do Icelandic Sheepdogs get along well with other pets?

Yes – Icelandic Sheepdogs are generally sociable and can get along well with other pets, especially if they are socialised from a young age. However, as with any breed, early socialisation and proper introductions are important.

What is the grooming routine for Icelandic Sheepdogs?

Icelandic Sheepdogs have a dense double coat that requires regular grooming. They shed heavily twice a year, during which more frequent brushing is needed. Regular brushing helps prevent matting and keeps their coat in good condition. Additionally, check their ears, eyes and teeth regularly and trim their nails as needed.

How much exercise do Icelandic Sheepdogs need?

Icelandic Sheepdogs are an active breed that enjoys physical activity. They benefit from at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day. This can include activities like walks, playtime, and mental stimulation through games and training sessions. Providing opportunities for them to engage in activities like agility or hiking can also be beneficial for their physical and mental well-being.

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Icelandic Sheepdog

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