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Quick facts

Schipperke AKC Group: Non-Sporting
Height: Male: 11-13 inches, Female: 10-12 inches
Weight: Male: 15-18 pounds, Female: 11-15 pounds
Colors: Black
AKC recognized in: 1904

The Schipperke (pronounced as skip-per-kee) is widely thought to be descended from the Leauvenaar, a black sheepdog breed also credited with being the ancestor to the Belgian Sheepdog. But, while the Belgian Sheepdog was bred to be a herding breed, the Schipperke was bred to fulfil a different task, that of a small watch dog.

This dog breed may have initially acquired its name from the Dutch word Scheperke for little shepherd, but it was bred in Belgium in 1888 and had been used more as barge dog. As a barge dog, the Schipperke barks to ward off intruders or warn the bargemen and is said to nip on heels of horses towing the barge. Later, a Belgian man suggested in 1894 that the spelling of the dog's name should be Schipperke which means little boatman.

Other than its black color that is noticeable, a pair of short and pointed ears atop its head makes the dog recognizable belonging to dog breeds as working dogs. With its double coated body, it is a moderate shredder. It does not need grooming that would be thorough and expensive. Its ruff or the hair around the neck fluffs naturally and, thus, it does not need to be trimmed. A weekly brushing or combing is enough.


Schipperke Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training two paws
Energy level five paws
Exercise Requirements five paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals three paws
Friendliness: Other Pets three paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance two paws
Playfulness five paws
Protection Ability two paws
Watchdog Ability three paws

The Schipperke has an attitude to be mischievous and stubborn. It needs a strong discipline when being trained to curb its aggressiveness and high-energy. But, when it is on a playful mood, it is a nice dog to be around in the house.

Its barking can be annoying at night as it has a natural instinct to warn and scare off someone who might be intruding its privacy and in the premises of its owner. Because it thinks independently and can be disobedient, some people have called it "little black fox", "little black devil" or "little Tasmanian devil".

Health and Exercise

The Schipperke has an average lifespan of 13-15 years. This is a healthy dog with very little health problems. But, if the owner allows the Schipperke to be over-fed or stay inactive, it can have some joint and skeletal problems. There would be some risks of dental problems, cardiac and lung ailments, and internal organs in the digestive system.

At least 15% of this breed's population has been known to be infected by a genetic mutation known as MPS IIIB (Mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIB, a rare autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease).

Visitor Comments

This is your chance to add your feedback. Do you have a Schipperke in your family, or know one in someone elses? Do you have a story to tell related to that Schipperke? Or maybe you have more questions that either or another of our visitors might be able to help you with? Feel free to add your comment or question below.

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