Leader Sheep

Leadership qualities are highly valued in any flock.

Leader Sheep / © Foto: Georg Berg
A Leader Sheep explores the area while the pregnant sheep of the flock are still in the barn. In Iceland, they only go outside together with their lambs / © Photo: Georg Berg

In Iceland, a special breed of leader sheep has been bred for many years. If you give a Leadersheep to a flock, you can leave them to their own devices. Shepherds and herding dogs are only needed for those occasions that are not part of the natural nature of the flock. Shearing the wool is one of them and – who would have guessed otherwise – so is slaughtering.

Leader sheep have longer legs, softer wool and slimmer bodies because they were bred for their intelligence rather than their meat.

By all accounts, the perfect leader sheep always comes from Iceland. The approximately 1,400 leader sheep in the world today are all descendants of sheep from the Norður-Þingeyjarsýsla district, where the Icelandic Leader Sheep Information Center is located today.

There, the outstanding characteristics of the Leader sheep are listed in a German-language leaflet as follows:

  • Leader sheep have an excellent sense of direction.
  • Leader sheep lead and control the flock
  • Leader sheep sense possible dangers and make sure that the flock avoids them.
  • Leader sheep have particularly soft and warm wool

Wondrous Iceland Stories

Magical, mystical, whimsical. On our trip through Iceland, we experienced overwhelming nature, enjoyed the benefits of geothermal energy and tasted many an outlandish dish or of the beer that was only legalized in 1989. In Iceland there are leader sheep, but under no circumstances ponies. Instead, the descendants of the Vikings today have heated sidewalks, still seething volcanoes and a lot of creativity, which in the long dark months is the best recipe against the onset of winter depression. Other Moment Mal episodes are about hairy beer bottles, petrified trolls and wishing stones. Fermented, cruelly stinking Greenland shark contrasts with rye bread baked in hot earth. The whales that regularly appear off Húsavík are a popular photo motif during whale watching.

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