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The Schipperke (sheep-er-ker) is an active
little dog with a distinctive thick and
fluffy black coat which consists of several
different lengths. An impressive ruff is
formed completely around the neck of this
compact and solidly built breed.
The Schipperke has roots tracing back to
the 17th century in Belgium where it is
believed to have been derived from a black
sheepdog known as Leauvenaar. The Schipperke
excelled in hunting small vermin such as
rats and mice and often could found as a
captain's dog working on canal barges. They
were also very popular as a watchdog and
faithful companion, but also used to herd
Schipperkes were first imported to the United
States in 1888 and were officially recognized
by the American Kennel Club in the Non-sporting
Group in 1904. Today they are most commonly
used as companion dogs.
The height for a Schipperke is between 10
to 13 inches (25 - 33 cm) tall at the shoulder.
Bitches are a bit shorter. This is considered
ideal by AKC Standard. The Schipperke has
a square build.
The weight of Schipperke is between 12-18
pounds (5.5-8 kg).
The Schipperke has a profuse, thick and
harsh outer coat. The undercoat is thick
and soft. It is very thick and longer around
the neck forming a ruff which extends in
different lengths down the front (the coat
has several distinct lengths). Grooming
of the Schipperke's coat includes weekly
brushing (making sure you reach the undercoat)
and trimming of his whiskers or the hair
between the pads of the feet. The coat should
be left in its natural shape. The Schipperke
is a moderate shedder. Up to three times
a year, the undercoat can 'blow' (shed)
for several days up to several weeks. It
will then take two to three months for the
undercoat to grow back.
The color of the Schipperke's coat is black.
The undercoat may be a bit lighter and when
shedding, there may be a (temporary) reddish
The Schipperke is an excellent companion
and watch dog. He is loving, loyal, full
of energy, alert and very good with children.
The Schipperke is mischievous and curious.
Socialization should start at an early age
and he should also be trained - which isn't
difficult since the Schipperke is smart
and eager to learn. Behavior problems can
exist if the Schipperke is allowed to rule
the home, therefore, it's very important
for its owner to have strong and consistent
leadership skills. Schipperkes are active,
tireless and will become destructive if
bored. They need daily exercise such as
long walks including free play and the opportunity
to run in a secure area which are all considered
The Schipperke does not have any
breed specific health problems other than
an inherited disease called MPS IIIB. This
genetic mutation affects maybe as much as
15% of these type dogs. To help keep your
Schipperke in good heath, it's important
not to overfeed him and to give him plenty
of exercise. Schipperkes are known to live
up to the age of 15 and longer.
• The Schipperke has been referred
to as Tasmanian black devil, little black
devil, Little Captain, Little Sailor, Spitzke
and Belgian barge (or ship) dog.
• The Schipperke coat of different
lengths gives it a unique silhouette which
is unlike any other breed.
• Schipperkelittle means little shepherd
in Flemish (Dutch language spoken in northern
AKC: Non-sporting Group
ANKC: Non-sporting Group 7
CKC: Non-sporting Group 6
FCI: Group 1 Section 1 Sheepdogs
UKC: Companion breeds