According to official theory, the breed name comes from the Dutch word "Shapocke" or "Scheperke", which means "shepherd." A common ancestor of the Belgian sheepdog and the Schipperke was probably an ancient black breed called Leuvenaar. The dog's history began in the 17th century. During the 1690's it was a pet of workers from Brussels. The breed was used mainly for hunting rodents.
In their present form these dogs appeared only in 1882 in a town of Spa, Belgium. The breed was popularized thanks to the Belgian Queen Henrietta Maria. The first specimens in the US and Britain appeared in 1887. A following year a first club was created and the first breed standard was established. At that time, in some Belgian cities - Brussels, Leuven, Antwerp, there were different varieties of the breed and it was therefore very difficult to write this standard.
A widespread opinion is that a word "schipperke" means "little captain" in Flemish, as this breed guarded commercial vessels and barges.
The Schipperke is a small sized dog up to 33 cm in height and weighs up to 9 kg regardless of a gender. A head resembles head of a fox - with a broad forehead and tapering snout. Eyes are oval shaped and dark brown. Ears are small and triangular in shape. They are located high on a head and are very mobile. A body is stocky and slightly shortened. Belly and chest are well developed. Tail is docked, but there are representatives of the breed who are born without a tail. Limbs are not very long, but muscular. Coat is purely black in color, a fur on the front legs and a head is short. The Schipperke has a relatively large teeth and strong jaw.
Character and behavior
This is a sensitive little dog, very energetic and shy. It is active, curious, always interested in everything around it. The Schipperke loves to hunt rodents, such as rats and moles.
Training and education
If trained from an early age, the dog can hunt rabbits and brings them to its owner. Schipperke easily learns to dig moles out of their holes. It is a very smart dog and easily understands all your commands. Nevertheless, you should start training and socialization from a very young age. With positive methods, treats and praise, you will have a very obedient dog and a perfect family companion.
A lifespan of these beautiful dogs is about 15 years. They are prone to hip dysplasia, eye issues, thyroid problems and epilepsy.
Grooming and care
The Schipperke is an active dog that needs to expend its energy. If you keep your Schipperke in an apartment, you should take it on at least two long walks a day. It is not recommended to leave it off a leash, as it may chase small dogs or other animals. It will gladly accompany you during a morning jog or walk in the park. The Schipperke needs not only physical activity, but also intellectual activities and games with its owner and family.
A fur does not need much care, it repels dirt and is easy to maintain. You only need to comb through a day to keep it shiny and clean. A period of moulting lasts 10 days. During this time, a lower layer of a coat of your pet is changing and you should comb it twice a day. Regularly check condition of an eyes and ears to protect your puppy from developing infections in these areas.
Children and other pets
This dog gets along perfectly with children and pets. It has very well developed protective instincts and is reserved with strangers. The Schipperke can get into a fight with another dog of same sex even without a reason.
The Schipperke is a relatively rare breed, so its price is quite high. Puppies for sale could cost over 1,000$.
An interesting fact is that this dog doesn't mature until its fourth year, though physically an already completed adult specimen.