A small, cobby, spitz-looking dog (with an abundant, harsh coat, curled tail over the back – unless born tail-less, a foxy face and prick ears), the Schipperke is usually black, but the coat can come in any solid colour. Adult dogs usually stand at 21-33cm and weigh approximately 5.5-7.5kg.
- Category size: Small
- Grooming requirements: Once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Utility
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: High
Some say the Schipperke dog breed is a miniature sheepdog, a smaller version of the Leauvenaar, a black sheepdog from Belgium. Others are convinced the Schipperke is a Spitz breed, and he certainly looks more like the latter. Regardless, it is known that he dates back to at least the 17th century, as a Schipperke show was put on in 1690 at the Grand Palace of Brussels. He was used on the canals of Belgium, guarding the barges, was a popular companion of shoemakers, and a renowned killer of rodents.
A lively, alert little dog, the Schipperke is loyal, amenable and good-natured. He can be stubborn and mischievous, especially around other dogs if insufficiently socialised when a puppy.
The Schipperke dog is generally quite a hardy breed, but they can suffer some inherited neurological conditions, and hip disorders
About half an hour's daily exercise is needed as a minimum, though this active little dog would happily accept more if you can offer it.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The profuse coat is thick and dense. It is generally smooth and lies close, but there is a mane around the neck, where it stands off, and 'culottes' on the back of the thighs. A thorough groom once a week will keep it in good order.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information