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The Schipperke was originally bred in Flanders and was thought to be descended from the same sheep-herding stock as the black Belgian Shepherd.  Eventually because this dog (in Flemish Schipperke means "Little Skipper", or "Little Captain") was bred smaller and smaller until it became a different breed entirely.  Becoming the favorite choice to guard canal barges in Belgium and because they made excellent "ratters", they were usually the captain's dog. Thus the name of the little skipper. Becoming very popular in Belgian households by the late 1800's, it was exported throughout the world by 1880. Nowadays they are primarily companion dogs or taken on boats for fishing trips where they even make great guard dogs when the boat anchors for the night.



They really bond to their master and these quick, energetic little dogs are like a big dog in a little dog's body. Being hot-tempered, high-spirited, self-confident and protective, they tend to be quite wary of strangers if someone new visits and may appear somewhat aloof, but are actually very devoted and loyal, especially with children. Even though they are very smart, curious and mischievous they will readily accept pet cats and other dogs.  They can be willful at times and like to howl and bark but they are trainable and eager to learn.



Height:   33cm (13") 

Weight:  5-7.5kg (12-16lb)

The Schipperke has a short, compact body and is tail-less. It has a thick double coat and a ruff around his neck and in color they are a solid black however. The breed also comes in a range of tans and fawns. Their small oval eyes are dark brown with a mischievous, questioning and alert expression and its small, erect ears are triangular in shape.



The Schipperke sheds very little coat and is a very clean little dog that pretty much takes care of its own grooming.  All that is required to keep the medium-length double coat in top condition is to comb and brush it regularly with a firm bristle brush. You can also dry shampoo when necessary.  When their coat "blows" which can be as often as 3 times a year the coat change will be a sudden drop of their entire undercoat within about a 10 day period.  These dogs are literally naked for about 2-3 months, depending on the time of year.


Life Expectancy

17 Years


Health Concerns

Apart from being very careful not to overfeed this breed, the most common inherited health problems are hypothyroid, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and hip sockets which tend to slip.



Making good watchdogs, which are a great size for indoor life, most of them make an adaptable house dog suited to families with children or older people.

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Start grooming your dog as early as possible so that they become accustomed to being handled. Be gentle to make this task easy and pleasurable for you both


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