Schipperkes combine a solid work ethic with a sense of fun. Loving and warm, they are eager to please, easy to train and somewhat feisty. They get along famously with children and other pets, including cats, and they form strong bonds with their families.
- 12 - 18 pounds
- 10 - 13 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Active, sporty types
- Fishermen and boaters
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What They Are Like to Live With
Schipperkes are ideal for apartment living. Small and friendly and polite, they make good use of small spaces, running in and out of rooms to satisfy their curiosity. They love playing games on the carpet, but they really love to run and play outside. Tirelessly active, they will happily keep pace with the most intense joggers.
Used for hundreds of years to guard barges from thieves and rats, Schipperkes have a built-in protectiveness. In spite of their size, they make excellent watchdogs. And if you happen to own a boat, this could be your ideal second mate.
Things You Should Know
Schipperkes are naturally watchful. Because of this, they can seem a little reserved with new people. Once they realize everything is A-okay, they will loosen up and join the party. They are naturally curious and independent, so always keep them on a leash in public. If you can allow them to run free in a controlled space, they will definitely have a blast.
A healthy Schipperke can live as long as 15 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, cataracts and other eye problems. Their long, thick coats need regular brushing, but Schipperkes keep themselves fairly clean. During spring and fall shedding seasons, Schipperkes do shed, so have plenty of lint brushes handy.
Named after the Flemish word for “little skipper,” Schipperkes were bred by Belgian boat captains to guard unattended boats, keep rats away and provide companionship. Not just popular on boats, Schipperkes also worked with shoemakers and other shopkeepers across Belgium as guard dogs and ratters. The first Schipperke came to America in the late 1800s, but the breed didn’t really catch on until the Schipperke Club of America was founded in 1929.
The Look of a Schipperke
Schipperkes have small, cobby, square-built bodies covered in long, harsh coats that usually come in black, but can also be found in brown, tan and red. These thick coats grow in several different lengths around the body, including a thick ruff around the neck. Their wedge-shaped heads have pointed ears and fox-like faces, and they have small, dark eyes that give off an inquisitive expression. Schipperkes are usually tailless. They move along with a smooth, nimble gait.
Talk About Schipperkes
Evil Genius or Little Black Devil?
McLovin' goes practically everywhere with us. The Schipperke is a go-getter breed and is up for anything. Not a frilly lapdog, this breed would prefer tromping through the woods or rolling in mulch as opposed to sitting and looking pretty.
They are brilliantly intelligent and more curious then a ferret. While they are very independent and only adore their select family members and that one special person, they are very good with people if socialized properly and make for a very kind and empathetic companion; especially to people with disabilities.
They do have a tendency for "Zoomies," where they race about like their tail is on fire, but they are very good lap dogs once you manage to catch them. Schipperkes make for wonderful apartment dogs as long as they get the opportunity to run and take walks in public.
Socialization is vital, since they are protective. Not doing so will often create a mean-spirited little monster that lives up to its nickname "Little Black Devil," But when they are well-socialized, trained and exercised, they make for delightful and adoring companions. They would make a great pet for someone who needs a quiet and clean travelling companion that can also be a great guard dog.
I wouldn't recommend this breed for just anyone, and Schipperkes require a special person who is willing to laugh things off. They are tenacious and extremely intelligent and will get in trouble, which is why I consider them among the select few dogs I refer to as "Evil Geniuses." This would be a great dog for a very active person or someone who is going to spend a lot of time with this dog.
The person interested in this breed must be motivated to train this dog, exercise them often, or take them places as well as be firm on discipline. If all these things are followed, you'll have a devoted and comical companion that could put a Jack Russell to shame with its antics.
~Anti, owner of a Schipperke