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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Schipperke


Origin: Belgium

AKC Group: Non-sporting

Height: 10 inches (Male)

Weight: 12 poounds (Male)

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Schipperkes are bold, active, hardy dogs that love to run. They're usually good with other animals, but suspicious of strangers. Most are good with kids, but will snap if teased or startled. They're sometimes hard to housebreak.

Male height: 
10 inches
Male weight: 
12 poounds
Short and rough coat stands erect. Dense neck rough with very short hair on the face, ears and legs. Brush once a week. Tail is docked; ears should prick up.
Solid black. Eyes are dark; nose is black.

The Schipperke (pronounced SKIP-er-kee) hails from the Flemish provinces of Belgium, where he has existed for at least several hundred years. His exact origins are a bit hazy, but it is likely that northern spitz-type breeds are in his ancestry. He was acclaimed as a ratter, ridding farms, workshops and homes of vermin. By the late 1800s, he was carrying out the same task on barges and canal boats throughout Belgium. He was also an excellent watchdog. In 1888, his name was changed to Schipperke, which is Flemish for "little skipper," or "little captain." The breed was introduced in the United States and Britain around that time, and its popularity has continued to steadily increase.

The Schipperke is quick, energetic, alert, curious and protective. He seems to think that he is much bigger than he actually is. A tireless little watchdog, he challenges intruders, is wary of strangers and backs down from nothing. He is devoted and loyal to family members and often bonds strongly with one person.
At home: 
The Schipperke is one of the hardiest of the small dogs and is equally at home running through the country or being walked on an urban street. The Schipperke notices and is constantly interested in everything that is going on around him, and he can be quite vocal about it. Through most of the year he is fairly low shedding, but twice a year he sheds his undercoat, and you'll need to be prepared to do some serious vacuuming during those times.
This energetic breed requires a daily long walk or jog. He will also enjoy running in a confined area, as well as frequent indoor play sessions.
The Schipperke is a good eater who should be fed a high-quality food twice a day. He has been known to learn tricks, such as waving his front paws, just to get an extra tidbit. It is important to keep your Schipperke at a healthy weight.
The Schipperke has an independent streak and can be willful, but he is also intelligent and eager to please. Positive training methods that keep his interest will ensure that this quick learner becomes a well-behaved member of the family. Some Schipperkes can be hard to housetrain.
A natural watchdog, the Schipperke is suspicious of strangers. He has a love for children and can be especially protective of them. He can get along well with other dogs and cats, especially if raised with them, but cannot be trusted alone around small animals, which he may see as prey.
The average life span of the Schipperke is 13 to 16 years. Health problems of the Schipperke include cataracts; epilepsy; hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism; Legg-Calve-Perthes disease; patellar luxation; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). The Schipperke is the only breed in which has been found (so far) a newly discovered disease called Sanfilippo syndrome type IIIB, or MPS IIIB.
Fun fact: 

The Schipperke was originally called the Spits or Spitske ("little Spits").

Grooming blurb: 
The Schipperke's thick, medium-length hair should be brushed out at least a few times a week with a medium-hard bristle brush. Approximately twice a year he will shed his entire undercoat in about a week, so plan for extra brushing then.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.