The Icelandic's dual-coated wool is famous
world-wide because of it's many natural colors.
White, cream, peach, various shades of gray,
blue-gray, slate, and silver-gray. Chocolate
(called moorit), various blacks, (brown-black,
blue-black, silver-black, jet black) tan, oatmeal,
lavender, and champagne. These colors are
arranged in 6 basic patterns, with many different
variations on those patterns. The lanolin content
of the Icelandic wool is only about 20-25%, as
opposed to "modern" sheep with a lanolin content
of as much as 50%. The inner wool (called 'thel')
is soft and downy, and can be used to make
undergarments and baby clothes. The outer wool,
(called 'tog') grows up to 18 inches long.
Lustrous and strong, it is used to weave blankets, rugs, embroidery and tapestry. The
tog is spun together with the thel to make the world-famous Lopi sweater. When the
patterned fleeces are spun together, they produce a true tweed yarn which is like a
Attempts to improve the breed through crossing with other breeds have never been
successful, and any breed improvement is acheived from within the breed itself, often
through artificial insemination with semen from the finest rams in the nation, kept at
various "semen-stations"-facilities where their semen is harvested after the rams pass a
battery of disease tests.
The lives of many a shepherd have been saved by the homing instinct of their
"Leadersheep" Only found within the Icelandic breed, this rare Icelandic sheep has
the ability to sense the advance of a dangerous storm hours before it's arrival, and
lead the flock back to the barn. Even if caught in the mountains during a blizzard,
the strong homing instinct of the leadersheep have enabled it to guide both flock
and shepherd to safety.
In summary, one could hardly find a
more useful and productive breed of
sheep. Hardy, heavy milking, easy lamb-
ing with excellent mothering instincts,
long-lived reliable twinners, efficient
grass to meat conversion ratio, gourmet
meat served in the world's finest res-
taurants, colorful fleeces, and short tails
with no need for docking. A more
versatile sheep is hardly to be found!
With the ability to express emotions...joy,
love, jealousy, anger, compassion, peace,
as well as a degree of rational thought, these sheep could seem to be a reflection of
our deep inner selves, providing insight into our own natures,and shepherding
them can be an instructive and deeply satisfying experience.