Icelandic sheep are members of the Northern European Short-tailed group of sheep.
They are a primitive breed, and related to our native Hebrideans, North Ronaldsays, Shetlands and Soays. They differ from these other primitive breeds in that their breeding in isolation over the centuries has resulted in them being larger and much more docile.
Sheep were originally taken to Iceland by the Vikings, who colonised the island between 870 and 930 AD. Icelandic Sheep have been isolated genetically from other breeds of sheep for over a thousand years, and are possibly one of the oldest and purest domesticated breeds of sheep in the world today.
Icelandic sheep have naturally short, fluke shaped tails, and are medium sized and fine boned. They shed their fleeces in the early Spring. The Icelandic fleece is unique in having two distinct layers, the longer, silky tog layer, and a very fine, soft thel layer. The combination of these two layers keep the sheep warm through the long, harsh Icelandic winters, and enabled the early colonisers in Iceland to survive.
Icelandic ewes lamb easily, have very good mothering instincts and an excellent milk supply to raise their lambs. They usually have twins, occasionally triplets or more.
For a lot more information on Icelandic Sheep, click on the "About Icelandic Sheep" heading.