Iceland Mag

8 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Animals

Stories about leader sheep's exceptional intelligence not folklore, new study proves

By Staff

  • In the lead New research has determined that Icelandic forystufé, or leader sheep, has different genetic structure to other sheep breeds. Photo/Vilhelm 

New research has determined that Icelandic forystufé, or leader sheep, has different genetic structure to other sheep breeds. According to the National Broadcasting Service, the breed dates all the way back to Iceland’s settlement in 870.

Around 1,200 leader sheep are found in Iceland. The breed gets its name from its intelligence and amazing leadership abilities (a leader sheep will always be in the forefront of its flock).  Many claim forystufé possess a sixth sense as they have an exceptional sense of direction and can forecast impending bad weather.

Forystufé also possesses a number of unique physical characteristics such as longer legs, softer wool, and a more slender body because they have been bred for their intelligence rather than meat.

Some Icelanders reject stories about the breed’s amazing leadership abilities, branding them as folklore. Jón Viðar Jónmundsson, who led the research group, says the stories are true and the study proves it. 

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