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Icelandic leader sheep, (28)

Icelandic leader sheepThe Icelandic leader sheep is a separate line within the Icelandic breed of sheep (27). The Leader sheep were probably brought to Iceland together with other sheep at the time of settlement in the 8th and 9th century. The sheep are lightly built with long legs and not as heavy as the Icelandic sheep, but otherwise similar. The leader sheep are known for their leader characteristics and a specific sense of directions, that were highly valued traits under the extensive farming conditions in Iceland in earlier times. The leader sheep were used to bring the flock home in bad weather during winter grazing and they are still used to lead the flock when sheep are moved to and from summer pastures. The leader sheep are now a small population of around 1,000 purebred adult sheep that are spread between many flocks, with a few leader sheep on each farm. Leader rams have been kept at the AI stations in Iceland since 1981 as an aid to the conservation of the leader sheep.


Local name: Forystufé
Emma Eythorsdottir, Agric. University of Iceland, Keldnaholt, IS-112 Reykjavik.
Jón Eiríksson









List of North European sheep breeds:
Ålands sheep
Cheviot sheep
Dala sheep
Dala fur sheep
Danish landrace sheep
Estonian Ruhnu sheep
Faeroe sheep
Fine wool sheep Finnish Grey landrace

Forest sheep
Fuglestad sheep
Gotland sheep
Greenland sheep Grey Troender sheep
Gute sheep
-Icelandic leader sheep
Icelandic sheep
Latvian darkheaded sheep
Lithuanian coarse wool sheep
Norwegian feral sheep  

Norwegian Old Spael sheep
Norwegian Spael sheep
Romanov sheep
Roslags sheep Russian Viena sheep
Rya sheep
Rygja sheep
Steigar sheep
Texel sheep
White faced Marsh


Created by ThEP and EE Edited by Emma Eythorsdottir for the North SheD group.
Agricultural Research Institute of Iceland.