Schipperke Photo

Schipperke Dog Breed Info & Pictures

The Schipperke is a small, active breed. When viewed from above, the head is a wedge, though in profile the skull is slightly rounded. Forward on the head, the eyes are small, dark brown ovals, and give the dog a mischievous, alert expression. Ears are small triangles held erect high on the head. The dog has a slightly arched neck and noticeably sloping back. Its chest is deep, with well sprung ribs, topped by laid back shoulders. Forelegs are straight and placed well under the body, and the hind legs appear a bit lighter. The docked tail is not visible amidst its dense black coat, which is longer in the ruff and cape, and lies flat down the back and over the rump. This gives the topline its sloping effect. The hair is short on the face, ears, front of the forelegs and hocks. Coloring is black throughout.

Schipperke Fast Facts

13 - 15 years
17th century
12 - 16 lb
10 - 14 lb
11 - 13"
10 - 12"
Chiperk, Shipperke, Schipperk or Schiperke.


The Schipperke is high spirited and tempered, energetic and confident....

Its high energy and curiosity means it requires a lot of attention and stimulation. Though wary of strangers, it bonds well with its master. Courageous and alert, the Schipperke will defend its territory against human and animal visitors, though it gets along well with cats and other pets, and is especially good with children. Be sure to socialize this dog while it is young. Training is usually easy, as the breed is intelligent and eager to learn; however, some Schipperkes can be stubborn and willful, and require extra attention. Training at a young age is essential to avoid a constant battle of wills. Schipperkes are among the more affectionate breeds. The Schipperke likes to bark and howl, and makes an excellent watchdog.

Caring For a Schipperke

The Schipperke is a good choice for apartment dwellers, and also does well on boats....

It is very active and needs a lot of exercise, though in a pinch it can meet its exercise needs running around an apartment. A long walk or romp in the park is obviously preferred. Schipperkes are very fast and they should only be allowed a leash-free frolic in a well fenced area. The Schipperke is generally healthy and has been known to live to be up to 18 years of age. To ensure longevity in your dog, avoid over-feeding and inactivity. Up to three times a year, the dog will shed all of its undercoat in a very short period, but otherwise will not shed. The dog should be brushed with a heavy bristled brush two to three times a week to keep its coat in top condition. The Schipperke is susceptible to a potentially fatal disease known as mucopolysacharidosis IIIB. Legge-Perthes, hypothyroidism and epilepsy may also develop in the breed.

Schipperke History

Breed History

A descendant of the Leauvenaar, a Belgian sheepdog, the Schipperke was bred during the 17th century as a watchdog and ratter on Belgian riverboats....

Before officially taking the name of Schipperke in 1888, the breed was known casually as the Spitzke, and has also been called the Belgian barge dog. Schipperke is commonly translated as Flemish for little captain or little boatman although some suggest it is actually a corruption of the Flemish for little shepherd. Perhaps the first breed ever to have a specialty show, the Schipperke made its debut as a show dog in 1690. The Schipperke came into its own during the 19th century. By that time it had unquestionably become the most popular house dog in Belgium and was considered the national dog; this status was elevated in 1885 when Queen Marie Henriette adopted a Schipperke of her own. The Queens fondness sent the breeds popularity spiraling ever upward, and in 1888 the Schipperke was introduced to the United States. It officially entered the ranks of American Kennel Club recognized breeds in 1904. Since then, it has enjoyed a period of popularity that was stifled by World War I, only to be revived in 1929, thanks to the hard work of a few financiers.