Smiling Icelandic Sheepdog (?)

More often we see Icelandic Sheepdog that are called “smiling”. However, there’s a difference between the real smiling and the unhealthy ailment of the upperlip being too short. We think it’s important that as many people as possible will be able to see the difference.

Two ways a real Icelandic Sheepdog smile looks like:

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This smile is one we don’t see often, but is a real smile.
Most of the time it’s been misunderstood by people, because it looks like a threatening raise of the upper lip. However, when you look al the whole bodylanguage, you will see a friendly body with wide wagging tail. You can see Geisli on the picture, he smiles at people when he meets and greets them. It’s an expression of joy.
Geisli with normal face. You can’t see the canines or other teeth from the upper jaw. Geisli has a good upper lip.
Above you can see Elska with a smile every Icelandic Sheepdog shows when he’s relaxed and happy. You can’t see the canines or other teeth from the upper jaw. Elska has a good upper lip.


To make sure we don’t offend other people (that really is not our intention!!), we won’t place pictures from Icelandic Sheepdog with a too short upper lip. It’s easiest to recognize a short upper lip when the dog is smiling like the right picture above, the picture of Elska. You can’t see teeth from the upper jaw when a dog with a normal, healty upper lip is smiling like Elska is doing. When you see the tips from the canines or even whole teeth from the upper jaw, the dog has a short upper lip.
Unfortunately we see this characteristic more often, in the Netherlands as well as in other countries. There hasn’t been done a study yet about where the short lips are coming from and how we can prevent it.