The Schipperke was bred in Flanders by a canal boat captain named Renssens. They were descended from a 40 pound (18 kg.) black sheepdog, known as the Leauvenaar, which is the same sheep-herding stock that the black Belgian Sheepdog descended from. The Schipperke was bred smaller and smaller and eventually became a different breed entirely. The dogs became a favorite choice to guard canal barges in Belgium. The breed was used for herding livestock, hunting game, or simply guarding his domain. In Flemish  the word "schip" means boat, hence where they got their name "Schipperke". They earned the nickname "Little Captain" and "Little Skipper", because the dogs were the "ratters", a very important function on a canal barge, and also usually the captain's dog. The breed became very popular in Belgian households by the late 1800's. It first appeared at a dog show in 1880. From that point on it was exported throughout the world. The Schipperke do very well on boats and people often get this breed to come along with them on boating and fishing trips. It makes a great guard dog when the boat anchors for the night, alerting of anything out of the ordinary and the dog thoroughly enjoys its trip



The Schipperke is small and described as fox-like. The body is square in profile. When the skull is seen from the side it looks slightly rounded, narrowing towards the muzzle. The muzzle is slightly shorter than the length of the skull. The small nose is black. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The small, oval eyes face forward on the head. The erect ears are high-set and triangular in shape. The chest is wide, reaching to the elbows. The topline is level or sloping slightly towards the back of the dog. They are sometimes born tailless, the thick double coat is shorter on the face, ears, front of the forelegs and the hocks. The coat is medium in length on the body and even longer around the neck, shoulders and rump.

Size Small
Colour The Schipperke is most commonly in a solid black, which is the only colour accepted by Breed Standards when showing, however they are also tans and fawns.
Coat Length Medium
Weight/Height Range Dogs and bitches should measure between  21 - 33cms and weigh 5.5 and 8kgs.
Ailments Schipperkes can be prone to Hypothyroid, epilepsy, hip dysplasia and hip sockets which tend to slip. Legg Calves Perthes, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Cataracts.

Feeding & Ownership


On the whole these dogs are not big eaters when you consider the amount of exercise they require. 
Food Cost $5 to $10



The Schipperke are quick, energetic little dogs. High-spirited, alert, and self-confident. They are very smart, curious and mischievous. These dogs do exceptionally well on boats. Among the Schipperke's best qualities are the ability to defend its home against intruders - backing down from nobody, and being an excellent friend to children. They are very active indoors. These dogs are incredibly quick and it is a good idea to have a fenced yard.


Intelligence Whilst highly intelligent, this breed does need consistent training and a confident handler. It will reverse roles if you are too soft, too uncertain or too inconsistent.   
Energy High
Suitability for Children Medium
Tendency to Bark High
Overall Exercise Requirement Schipperkes are an active and tireless breed and need to be taken on a daily, long walk or jog.
Suitability as a Guard Dog High
Ease of Transportation Medium
Level of Aggression Medium
Other Animal Compatibility High



  The Schipperke is very clean and pretty much takes care of its own grooming, but to keep the medium-length double coat in top condition, comb and brush regularly with a firm bristle brush.

Grooming RequirementsOnce a week
Amount of Hair ShedLittle

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