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Your Pet, Our Passion.


Small, compact and cobby, the Schipperke is an attractive dog with sparkling, lively eyes and an abundant harsh coat. Sometimes born tail-less, the tailed version carries the thickly furred tail over the back and this in combination with the profuse coat and pricked ears gives them a distinctly spitz-like appearance. 

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Needs under an hour of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

The Schipperke breed is generally quite a hardy breed but can be prone to: 
- Patellar luxation 
- Legg- Perthes disease 
- Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IIIB which is a storage disorder which can lead to interrupt cell function affecting the brain.
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing:
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

Key Facts

Lifespan: 13 – 15 years
Weight:  5.5-7.5kg 
Height:  21-33cm
Colours:  Usually black, the Schipperke also occasionally comes in a cream/gold, and can come in any solid colour, though these are rarely seen
Size:  Small 
UK Kennel Club Groups: Utility


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 2/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
Schipperke is standing on the grass


Clever and lively, the Schipperke is said by both breeders and owners to be quick to learn, but also quick to get into trouble! Good-natured and generally amenable, they do like to bark to let their family know about anything they deem suspicious or unusual. As such, good dog socialisation and habituation should help ensure they don’t find too many things suspicious or unusual! 

Schipperke is standing on the grass and looking forward

History and Origins

The Schipperke was originally a barge dog - small enough to live in the tiny space inside a barge cabin but loud enough to make thieves think twice. They were also well equipped to cope with any weather and able to keep barges and their cargo free of rats and mice.
Their origins are a little unclear. Some suggest that the Schipperke is a descendent of the now extinct Belgian Shepherd type, the ‘Leuvenaar’ however unlike this breed, they have a distinctly spitz-like appearance. It is however possible their small size was achieved by crossing the Leuvenaar with the small spitz types from surrounding areas - probably the small German Spitz and Pomeranian. Regardless of their true origins, it is known that the Schipperke dates back to at least the 17th century, as they were first exhibited at the Grand Palace of Brussels in 1690, however they were not given a breed standard until the late 1800’s.

did you know?

Did You Know?

The breed was made popular as a companion and pet by Queen Marie-Henriette (wife of King Leopold II and first cousin to the then future Queen Mary of England). In 1885 she bought a Schipperke she’d seen at a show in Brussels, named him ‘Black’ after his colouring and was often seen walking and driving with him. They became so desirable as a result that some unscrupulous sellers would try to pass off any suitably sized black dog as a Schipperke.