Yes, we do love sheep in Iceland, and yes, they outnumber us by almost half. But there is a reason why sheep are so important in this country, and I am about to tell you.
First of all, it is a unique breed that was brought to the country by Nordic settlers. And we know that is not reason enough, but we are talking that this happened in the 10th century, more than a thousand years ago. At that time people in Iceland were cold and hungry, you can imagine, and raising sheep made them survive.
This knowledge was passed down to their descendants throughout the generations. They raised sheep on the same land until it became a national treasure.
The sheep not only adapted exceptionally well to the weather conditions, but we can also say that they've become the rulers of Iceland, you can see them on every road on the island, and they are popularly known for the freedom they enjoy. In 2018 it was reported a population of just over 800.000 sheep and only 371,000 Icelanders, so that's about 2 sheep per person.
Icelandic sheep are strong, and their immune system developed to be that way because of the difficult farming conditions in Iceland, but they are also independent and friendly to humans, and let's say it, they are really cute. It doesn't stop there, they have a peculiarity that makes them unique: their high-quality wool.
Icelandic wool is dual-coated, the long external coat is called Tog, and the fine internal coat is called þel. When weaved together they form Lopi, a special kind of yarn only made in Iceland that is used for our famous Lopapeysa, mostly known as the Icelandic wool sweaters.
If you are visiting Iceland, you may want to know that the ladies are referred to as ewe, and the gentleman as ram (yes, we are still talking about sheep). But the most important thing, if you are peacefully driving around the island and see a sheep on the road, do not trust them, they've become experts on crossing the road when you least expect it. Just be careful and enjoy our island.