We kept two, Tarn and Shep. Shep is more velcro and biddable than Tarn. He follows me everywhere, even if the other dogs are running out to the pasture to keep the neighbors' cows away from the fence. He looks at me to see what I want. We really like his sweet temperament, he is great with people who come over, sweet with kids, etc. He is a barker though and will bark at shadows. Two families have told us they'd like to have him but Brad won't let him go.
Tarn is more independent. She warms up to people but isn't chummy with them right away like Shep. She loves to herd and I need to work on that with her some more- if I have the sheep out grazing, sometimes she'll go out and put them back in the pen on her own (when they just went out). She's definitely more independent-minded than Shep. I could see her on a big ranch with lots of animals- she would be in her element. (Brad insists on keeping her, too).Dotty
As far as their behavior with livestock- I've come to the conclusion that Icelandic sheep aren't the best breed to start dogs with. They are independent and not very docile, at least the line I have isn't- that's something I intend to work on with my next ram. Even the ewe lamb shakes her head and stamps her feet at the dogs. Anyway, both pups show a definite liking for herding. They both know where the sheep belong. A couple of weeks ago, Shep was the only dog out, and I suddenly heard frantic barking. I looked up and both ram lambs (7months-never neutered as I was hoping to sell as breeding stock) were out of their pen! Well, Shep knew they didn't belong there-he was trying his best to put them back, but they teamed up and wouldn't obey. I went out and lured them with hay- I locked up Shep, as I didn't want to let him get hurt- and all was fine. I don't remember why I didn't have Beau come out- the hseep do obey him. Boy, Shep was upset at me when I locked him up. Dovey got butted hard by a ewe once though and she's never been as interested in the sheep since- only occasionally. I didn't want to make the same mistake. Maybe I should have let him help.
Shep watches me as Sheryl described- he follows me everywhere, and keeps an eye on me. If he sees me go down the street (walking to the neighbore's) he howls at the fence and sitis there until I come back. He did kill 2 half-grown chickens this past fall. :-( I had been gone a week so the dogs were left unattended most of the day while Brad was at work, I probably would have noticed him showing too much interest in following the chicks. We watch him carefully when the chickens are out and so far he listens to us.
Tarn is aptly named- Brad says it is short for "Tarnation!" :-) She doesn't listen as readily, is independent minded, not as interested in coming for petting and attention, likes to go bark at the sheep, eats chicken feed, etc. She hasn't killed any chickens though. :-) She gets too tough with the sheep and grips their wool, I am trying to figure out the best way to un-train this (yes, I know I should have anticipated and not let her start). I am watching her closely. Needless to say, she is spayed. She is bottom of the totem pole, so I don't know if that is part of the problem. She is very sweet when you get her one-on-one, though. Brad loves her.