In memory of Sigridur Petursdottir

Sigridur looked at me with a humour in her eye and told me that she had told her doctor that he had to cure her because there was only one copy of her. She was right about that.

It is a privilege to have known this great woman Sigridur Petursdottir. One only gets to know one Sigridur Petursdottir in a lifetime: The farmer, the teacher, the exporter, the guide, the breeder and the judge, to name a few. Sigridur was a chief and a cosmopolitan. She spoke many languages which expedited her well when she went to England to study to become a judge. Sigridur was the first Icelander to start such studies and was far ahead of her time as in so many other things she did.

After Sigridur moved to Olafsvellir, an Icelandic sheepdog caught her attention, Sigridur said it was love at first sight. Sigridur and Kjartan started looking for an Icelandic sheepdog and with the help of Pall A. Palsson, Chief Veterinary Officer, the couple got not only one dog but Pall urged them to take more dogs and start breeding the Icelandic sheepdog at Olafsvellir.

The next step for Sigríður was to go to England where she got to know the judge Jean Lanning and the breeder Mark Watson, they became great friends. In England, Sigridur started to study to become judge and introduced herself to breeding work. Despite a strict ban on importing dog at this time, Sigridur was granted permission to import Icelandic sheepdogs from Mark Watson. She said that Pall. A. Palsson showed a keen understanding of the matter and had above all, wished that this Settlement-animal would be saved from extinction. Sigridur began a great breeding work with a very few dogs and you can say that her name has been connected with the breed ever since.

In 1969, Sigridur Petursdottir, along with others, founded the Icelandic Kennel Club (HRFI). The clubs goal was to protect and breed the Icelandic sheepdog breed-which Sigríður made her life‘s work. A few years later, Sigridur became the chairman of the Icelandic Kennel Club and in her hands the operations of the club became more diverse. The club started registering pedigrees for other dog breeds and applied for membership for FCI and NKU.

Sigridur love for the Icelandic sheepdog was genuine and lasted all her life. Once when, as so many times before, Sigridur and I were talking about the breed, Sigridur said:

 For me, the Icelandic sheepdog is the most beautiful animal it does not matter if he has a short coat or a long coat as long as he is correctly built with a good temperament. That is what you have to look for in every breed, not only that the dog is correctly built, it also has to have the qualities it is bred for. The Icelandic sheepdog shows so much love and understanding, the temperament is so important………

 The Icelandic dog is every man’s dream.


Sigridur was recognized for her breeding work. In 2008, the president of Iceland, Mr. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, granted Sigridur, the honorary medal of the Icelandic Order of Falcon, for her work in breeding the Icelandic sheepdog. In 2004, Sigríður was honoured with the gold badge of the Icelandic Kennel Club and recently she was honoured by the Islandsk Fårehundeklub in Denmark.


The greatest honour must be Sigridur breeding work. Handsome stock of Icelandic sheepdogs that is no longer in danger of extinction. The dog that survived with the nation through all the disasters that struck in earlier centuries. Having participated in rescuing the Icelandic sheepdog from extinction is Sigridur Petursdottir monument. After nearly 50 years of breeding, people on the street still ask about her, the woman in the east of Iceland, the protector of the Icelandic sheepdog.

 HRFI sýning 27.feb. 11 126


Thorhildur Bjartmarz


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