A Schipperke (pronounced skipper key) is a small Belgian breed of dog going back to the early 16th century. Small in size, but big in character, there was a long debate whether these dogs were terriers or sheepdogs, but the external characteristics won.

In the Flemish language, Schipperke translates into, "little captain of the boat." They were used on canal boats and shops in Belgium as guardians and eradicators of rats and mice. Schipperkes are small, thick, tailless dogs with a face resembling a fox. Its undercoat is very dense, especially around its neck.

The Schipperke is interested in everything and makes an excellent and faithful watchdog. This is an excellent choice as a family dog. Always alert and curious, Schipperkes are little dynamos who love to explore adventure wherever their nose takes them. This is probably the hardiest of all the small dogs. He can adapt to any climate and weather and can sleep anywhere provided he has a draft-free shelter. Combining all the qualities of a ratter, a watchdog, and a pet, he should be worked a lot, not pampered, and never overfed. His life centers around his family and the home. He is supreme as a small, sturdy house dog.

SchipperkePhoto courtesy of Ebonorth Registered Kennels

Schipperkes are alert, smart, curious and do well in obedience training if approached gently, but firmly. Some Schipperke can be difficult to house train. They love children, but need to be socialized with them from puppyhood. The coat color is black.

Schipperke Breed Outline

Other Names: Schipp

Country of Origin: Belgium

Utilization: Small guardian and companion dog

FCI Classification: Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss cattle dogs); Sheepdog (without working trial); AKC Classification: Non-Sporting Group

Size: Small (10-13 inches at shoulders)

Colors: Totally black. The undercoat need not be completely black but can also be dark gray provided it is totally hidden by the top coat.

Litter Size: 5

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Life Span: 14-15 years

Grooming Requirements: Brush and comb(metal comb)your Schipperke once a week. More often when shedding. Schipperkes are naturally clean dogs.

Shedding: Abundant twice a year, low the rest of the year.

Personality: Alert and curious about everything. Ideal watchdog with the heart of a terrier. Excellent companion dog. Reserved with strangers.

Social skills: Usually good if socialized early.

Suitability for Children: The Schipperke needs early socialization with young children.

Exercise Needs: Needs daily walks. Suitable for country or city life. Does well in a fenced in area.

Train Ability: Provide firm and consistent training at an early age to deal with the Schipperkes natural stubbornness.

Health & Behavioral Issues: Hip dysplasia, arthritis, eye and joints problems.

Keywords: Schipperke, Schipp, sheepdog, Schäferhund, chien de berger, perro de pastor

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