The Schipperke is a little sailor dog that originated in Belgium. This small dog has a sturdy and compact body, has no tail with a face that has a fox-like quality to it. He is an active, spirited, courageous breed that is an excellent guard dog, gets along well with children, and very affectionate with his owners, though he is suspicious of strangers and does not easily warm up to them. This breed thrives for affection and attention and likes to be treated as a member of the family. He is hardy, and by far one of the healthier and longer lived of all canines, having known to reach 20 years of age. Training can be a challenge with this independent, head-strong, and curious breed, though he is highly trainable with proper training. He can be quite difficult to housebreak. His owner or trainer needs to be firm and persistent without being pushy or overbearing. The Schipperke has a tendency to bite if annoyed or pushed too hard. Socialization that starts from puppy hood is important in order to increase his trust and confidence level. The Schipperke has a tendency to be dog-aggressive and has a high prey drive toward small animals. He is a noisy breed and may become restless and destructive if left alone for too long.
Size: The Schipperke stands 10-13in at the shoulder and weighs between 12 and 18lb.
History and origin: The Schipperke was developed in Belgium during the 17th and 18th centuries. In fact, the name Schipperke is a Flemish word that stands for “little captain,” a well-suited name for his job as a watchdog on canal boats. He was also used as a ratter. Many believe that he was developed by crossing a large black sheepdog with a Northern breed such as the Keeshond while some classify him as a member of the Spitz family. Another theory is that he was the result of a cross between a terrier and Pomeranian.
Feeding: One good meal a day and perhaps with biscuit at night is ideal for this breed. Recommended feeding for the Schipperke would be ½ – 1 can of high-quality meat product (13.0oz size) with biscuit added in equal amount or 1 ½ cupfuls of a complete dry food. As with all breeds, always make sure that he is getting ample supply of water.
Exercise: An apartment is fine for this breed as long as he is getting his daily exercise. This dog has a lot of energy and can walk up to 6 miles or more without any sign of fatigue, although he can manage with a walk or two per day.
Grooming: The Schipperke has a shedding coat that is short on the face, ears, and legs and straight, thick, and hard on the body. The undercoat is dense and soft. Regular brushing is helpful to keep the coat in good condition.