Inspired by Iceland/Meeting an Icelandic Sheepdog

Inspired by Iceland started a campaign last year to have ordinary Icelanders get involved with tourists, particularly during the off-peak season.  They do this through a series of invitations which I have watched with interest, ranging from meeting the President to experiencing a small aspect of a local person’s daily life.

I decided I would actually like to do one of these invitations instead of just reading about them. Being an animal lover, I wanted to do the one that offered to go for a walk with Mosi the Icelandic Sheepdog. The Icelandic Sheepdog is a very old breed brought to Iceland by the Vikings over 1000 years ago. As you can imagine, their main “ability” is protecting sheep and having herding instincts.

Mosi means “moss” in Icelandic and is a very suitable dog name for Iceland– where else can dogs walk on moss covered lava fields?

I met Mosi and his “mum” Þórdís at the Öskjuhlíð area near Perlan. This is a popular recreation area with many trails and because it is wooded and hilly it feels quite rural and not just like a park. Mosi is a really well behaved dog who was happy to walk either on the lead or go off exploring on his own and would always come back when called. Despite being a breeding dog, he isn’t aggressive towards other dogs and has a quietly cheerful nature. I come across other people’s dogs misbehaving all the time (which I do appreciate is the fault of the owner and not the dog!) so it was really refreshing to meet a dog who wasn’t any trouble at all and is obviously very happy with his life. He’s always on the move and it was only when we tried to take pictures of him that I realised that he doesn’t keep still!

Some time ago people released pet rabbits around where we were walking and there is quite a large rabbit colony now, with the hot water pipes keeping them warm in winter. We did see a couple of rabbits and it was quite strange as I’m used to only seeing “wild” rabbits outside and these really were pet-looking rabbits. Luckily Mosi was distracted by something else at the time and didn’t see them!

I can see why some people still consider Reykjavík to be unfriendly to dog owners. Although this must be one of the main dog walking areas in the city, there aren’t many bins for dog walkers and you are forbidden from taking dogs in some areas, and in some other areas they need to be on a lead. Having said that, we have the opposite issue sometimes in the UK where we are too accommodating to dogs everywhere.

Although I’m not in the market for a dog right now, I would seriously consider an Icelandic Sheepdog if I was. They are a nice manageable size, not too big and not too small. Mosi’s coat was very soft and he doesn’t really bark – my perfect dog. And just look how handsome he is.

If you are interested in reading more about the breed, you can visit Mosi’s breeder’s page here and see pictures of his latest puppies. Mosi has his own Facebook page too. The breed is also available outside Iceland and make very good ambassadors!

If you are going to Iceland and have some time, I would really encourage you to look at what Inspired by Iceland is offering when you visit. I had a great time doing something very simple. Aside from whatever activity you do, it gives you the chance to get to know someone from Iceland that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. I look forward to seeing how long the campaign continues and what new ideas they come up with.

Do you think this type of initiative could work in other countries? How would you show a tourist something of your world?


16 thoughts on “Inspired by Iceland/Meeting an Icelandic Sheepdog

    • I know, cute!
      It’s one of the interesting things about the campaign for me – a lot of the experiences are very ordinary and probably something you wouldn’t think would be interesting in your own life, but as you know when you are travelling it’s often the little things that make an impression on you!

  1. Mosi is gorgeous!! I am beginning to like the sound of Iceland more and more 🙂 I’m 75% more of a cat person but when we decide it’s time to choose a Dog, we want a pedigree and I am putting this Icelandic Sheepdog on the list of possibles.

    This campaign sounds really good. When are you thinking of taking it up and going next?

    Now Mosi is a very stunning Dog. And I agree with you that when it comes to Dogs behaving unruly, it is down to the owners. I had a Dog a couple of years back and was 2 when I adopted him. Now his behaviour was outrageous and I tried solid for 2 years to re-train him and it was impossible so I ended up having to give him up [to the R.S.P.C.A.] Now if his owners had of raised him right it would have been a different story; so the next Dog will be a Puppy with careful inspection of the breeders etc…

    Mosi reminds me of a Husky. Maybe they are of the same or similar lineage.

    This has been a lovely post to read. You have such a calming tone to your writing. See you again soon….Immie 😀

    • I’m probably 90% more of a cat person but when I meet nice dogs I always start thinking about how it would be good to have one some day – maybe when I’m retired! They need a lot more attention and work than cats.

      I’m going back later this year with my husband to do a longer trip so it will be interesting to see what is going on then.

      You’re right, Huskies are also of Spitz type (curly tailed). It must have been heartbreaking to have to give your dog up. Despite being the biggest nation of animal lovers that I have ever come across, we do seem to have a lot of uninformed dog owners.

      Thanks for your kind words!

      • Your welcome 🙂 If you have a look on my Blog there is an animated picture of a ‘Ragdoll’ Cat and if you mouse over it (sounds like bit of a pun that ! ) I have written a little bit about them. I have an 8 year old who was adopted too at 5 months but he is great, very loving.

        Dogs are hard work; Mine was a nightmare but I did love him very much and the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” certainly is true. I woke up crying one morning as I dreamt of when I used to bath him and wrap him in a towel and just hold him until he dried, and that was very painful. But he had to go and I just hope that he is in a loving home now with owners that have more Dog experience in Behaviour.

        Someone once said to me that “Dogs are good training in preparation for having children” !! If the Dogs are bought from a Puppy then you can train them right but saying that not all adopted Dogs are as unruly as mine was. You’ll love having one, lots of fun 🙂

        I can’t remember what year it got abolished, but at one time we used to have to have a Dog Licence to own one…I seriously think that they should bring that back for sure.

        Immie 🙂

  2. Mosi is sooo cute 😉
    Have you heard about coatch surfing! apparently people do alot of it while travelling, and the people who lends you their “coatch” or an extra room they have, take you sightseeing.. A good idea to get to know the locals, and the coutry.. If you are lucky with the people you stay with.

    I was a little “different” kid, i liked to visit nursing homes and talk to the elderly people, about how life was in Iceland, back in the day.. Plus they love the company, and Iceland is such a small community that it is’nt considered that weird, if you would pop by for a visit.. 😉

    • Yes, I’ve heard about couch surfing and it seems to work for a lot of people. Although it would save a lot of money, I also like to have my own space and I would find it hard work being in a stranger’s house. I like the idea of meeting locals though and finding out their tips.

      You must have been a really sweet child! That is actually another good tourist idea, old people like to have someone to talk to and it would be interesting to hear their stories. They would need to be able to speak a foreign language though, that will be less of a problem once our generation is old! I bet life has changed a lot for the oldies.

  3. Do you mind if I reblog this Post? I like it that much and other animal lovers might like to read about it. Reblogging will have your details on it so readers will know that I never wrote it and that it came from you. Would that be OK?? Immie 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on It is a Strange Life… and commented:
    I’m not a 100% Dog Lover but when I see a beautiful one, I really 100% appreciate them! So when I read this post and saw these pictures of the “Icelandic Sheepdog”~’Mosi’, I fell in Love !! ❤ I just had to reblog! So here is the post from Eva Lind over @"I'd Rather Be In Iceland" and I really hope you fall in love with 'Mosi' as much as me and now when deciding to get a Dog, this type has now joined the list of possibles !! I hope you like him. Imogen 🙂

  5. Pingback: Revisiting the bucket list | I'd Rather Be In Iceland

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