Icelandic sheepskin rugs have a wild, shaggy look and feel to them;
Australian sheepskin rugs are soft and plush.
Descended from sheep the Vikings brought to Iceland, Icelandic sheepskin is thicker, coarser and long, with 4 – 6” pile (wool length). Australian sheepskin rugs, on the other hand, come from sheep of Merino wool heritage, with wool that is shorter, denser and softer, with pile around 2.5” in length. Because of its density, the loft (ability to stay upright) of the Australian sheepskin wool is very high, whereas the longer Icelandic wool lays flat.
Which is better? It’s entirely a matter of preference, as they’re both great rugs of the highest quality. If you’re looking for a long, shaggy sheepskin rug, Icelandic is the choice. For a soft, plush one, choose Australian.