Documented sources confirm that the settlers originally brought the domesticated animals of Iceland to the country. They had to select the prime of their stocks because they could only take very few of each species with them. Those creatures, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, fowl and, dogs shared the same hardships as the human population during the centuries.
The harsh nature and climate of the country caused great losses in human and creature lives, and the result is the present natural selection. Imported diseases also took their toll when misguided imports of livestock late in the 19th and early in the 20th centuries caused the amazingly quick distribution of fatal diseases, such as pneumonia and scrabie.
The domestic animals have survived without being crossed with foreign breeds to prevent inbreeding and its undesirable effects. Experimental crossings between a few heads of Icelandic cattle with the Limousine-, Aberdeen Angus- and the Galloway breeds have not changed the mainstay of the old stock. No such experiments have ever been carried out with the Icelandic horse breed as they have always been forbidden by law. The small livestock of goats has also escaped such misguided efforts.
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