Breed Standards

The Icelandic Sheep Breed Standards have been adopted from the Canadian Sheep Breeders Association. Both the breed standards and judging standards are provided to members. If you plan on showing your sheep in local fairs, be sure to give the judge copies of these articles so that they know how to judge Icelandic sheep.

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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