Other names: LBD
The Schipperke is a bold, lively and protective dog who was originally used to guard boats and hunt rats. With its small size, adorable yet easy-to-care-for coat and friendly attitude, the Schipperke has become a popular family companion dog. With high intelligence and bags of curiosity can come trouble - yes, this breed has ‘small dog, big personality’ down to perfection. Truthfully, you’ll never have a dull day with the Schipperke around, but then, you may never have a quiet one, either!
Key facts about the Schipperke
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Origins and history
The origins of the Schipperke go way back to the late seventeenth century, when documents speak of a dog who lived with the cobblers of the Saint-Géey district of Brussels. These shoemakers organized strange canine "exhibitions" where the subject was not so much the dog as the necklace made by craftsmen! According to legend, a shoddy cobbler who did badly at one of these necklace shows, expressed his disappointment by cutting off the tail of the winning dog. That dog was so prized that a trend started, and other owners began to cut the tail of their dogs. Fortunately, this practice is now prohibited.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Schipperke
Female : Between 8 and 12 in
Male : Between 8 and 12 in
Female : Between 7 and 20 lb
Male : Between 7 and 20 lb
Type of coat
Medium length, double, thick, straight and soft.
The Schipperke is a truly distinctive looking breed, with a lovely, fluffy black coat and fox-like face. The ears are small and pointy, standing completely erect at the top of the head. The head is wedge-shaped with eyes which are small and dark with an alert, mischievous gleam. The body is small and thick for its size, with short legs and a well-muscled, stocky appearance.
Good to know
The Schipperke is commonly nicknamed the ‘Little Black Devil’ due to its mischievous and lively nature - you have been warned!
While the Schipperke is often affectionate and loving, this is only displayed towards its closest family, with whom it forms a super strong bond.
With its seemingly endless energy, the Schipperke loves getting involved in family games and is always up for playing.
If you’re looking for a calm dog, the Schipperke isn’t the one. It is super curious and highly energetic, always needing something to do.
The Schipperke is intelligent and smart, but this means it hates being bored and loves having a task to complete.
If it’s reasonably small and moves, the Schipperke will chase it. Be careful when out and about around small animals and wildlife.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Preferring the company of its family, the Schipperke can be shy and suspicious of strangers, and will not hesitate to give voice to his discomfort.
This is an independent breed who likes to have its own way. The Schipperke can be stubborn, willful and mischievous.
Behaviour of the Schipperke
The Schipperke will tolerate a small amount of alone time if well-trained and accustomed to it from a young age. However, left alone for too long, this breed is more than capable of causing some serious mischief.
Easy to train / obedience
The Schipperke is very receptive to education. It is eager to learn and please its masters. If well-trained and socialized, this dog can excel at obedience competitions.
Known as a very vocal breed - be prepared for barks!
Tendency to run away
They say curiosity killed the cat - but in this case, curiosity may well kill the Schipperke! It sometimes seems this pooch has no sense of danger, leading it to be an escape artist through and through. A securely fenced garden or yard is a must.
As well as being a barker, the Schipperke may become destructive if left alone for too long, bored or under-exercised.
Greedy / Gluttony
Some dogs of this breed end up a little greedy. Avoid free-feeding, go easy on the treats and measure out food intake daily.
The Schipperke makes a fabulous watchdog! As a working breed who previously guarded boats, this feisty pooch is known to patrol the family home as it once did the ships. You’re sure to hear some loud, endless barking if an intruder steps onto your property!
The Schipperke has all the qualities required for a first adoption: happy, sporty, small, intelligent and docile.
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Schipperke in a flat
This breed will do fine in a flat as long as they have multiple, brisk walks daily. Be aware of the Schipperke’s barking tendencies, though - it might annoy the neighbours!
Need for exercise / Sporty
The Schipperke has impressive energy and stamina for such a small dog. It will need at least an hour of exercise every day, otherwise, you’re in for some mischief from a bored troublemaker! This breed loves exploring and will enjoy going on walks out in the wilds.
Travelling / easy to transport
The Schipperke is quite a small dog and therefore, fairly easy to transport.
Schipperke and cats
This breed generally gets on well with cats, but socializing your dog with them from a young age is sure to ensure a good relationship.
Schipperke and dogs
The jovial Schipperke, if well-socialized, will be pleasant company for other dogs.
Schipperke and children
Generally wonderful with children and will happily play alongside them for hours.
Schipperke and the elderly
May suit a particularly active elderly person who is experienced with dog training, but otherwise may prove difficult.
We do not have enough data to set an average price, but you can expect to pay upwards of £400 for a well-bred puppy. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £50 to £80 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.
You may think that the Schipperke’s lovely coat is high-maintenance in terms of grooming, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! All this breed needs is a simple weekly brushing. The coat fluffs up and styles itself naturally, so there’s no need for trimming or cutting.
Low shedding generally, but sheds heavily twice a year.
Nutrition of the Schipperke
Generally, the Schipperke will do well on a high-quality dog food which is appropriate for its current age. However, a particularly active dog of this breed (which, ideally, all should be) could benefit from an active dog formula.
Health of the Schipperke
This is a healthy and robust breed, known to have a particularly long lifespan - the oldest reported Schipperke was 17 and a half years old! Their average life expectancy is 14 years.
Strong / robust
The Schipperke is well-muscled for its size and fairly hardy. It is known to live longer than most breeds.
Provide cold water and shade, and check for signs of heatstroke, if the weather turns hot.
Its dense dress and tight undercoat give the Schipperke a very good protection against bad weather and cold.
Tendency to put on weight
The Schipperke should be okay as long as its exercise needs are met.