The Schipperke: A Small but Mighty Breed

Originating in Belgium, the Schipperke is a small breed of dog that has become increasingly popular among families and individuals alike. The word “Schipperke” comes from the Flemish word for “little captain,” reflecting the breed’s historic role as watchdogs on canal boats. In addition to their loyal and protective nature, this unique breed is also known for its distinctive appearance.

Physical Appearance

The Schipperke typically weighs between 10-20 pounds and stands at a height of around 11-13 inches tall. They have black fur that is thick and plush with a stand-offish quality; meaning it doesn’t lay flat on their body like most other breeds of dogs but rather sticks out from their bodies creating an almost spiky look. Their coats should be brushed regularly to avoid matting or tangling which can lead to skin irritations if not attended too often enough.

Another notable characteristic of the Schipperke are their bright brown eyes and fox-like ears, which stand straight up giving them a perpetually alert expression.
Variations within the breed are minimal except for some differences in size depending upon whether they were bred in Europe versus America. European-bred Schipperkes tend to be smaller while American-bred ones are usually larger.


Despite its small size, the Schipperke exudes energy due to being very active both indoors and outdoors alike making them great companion animals! Their personality traits make them highly suitable for anyone seeking a faithful canine friend who will go above & beyond protecting you (and your home)!

However despite being fiercely loyal protectors they still maintain friendly dispositions towards all who come into contact with them – strangers included! They can sometimes display shyness when introduced too many new people at once so socialization training early on is recommended along with continued exposure throughout adolescence into adulthood.

Schipperkes were originally bred as watchdogs and still exhibit a very strong guarding instinct, however they can be trained to control their natural impulses when around other people or animals. As with many breeds, early training and socialization will help encourage the Schipperke’s friendly personality.

Health Problems

Like any breed of dog there are some common health issues that the Schipperke is predisposed to including hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease. All these conditions can be identified through regular health screenings recommended by your veterinarian.

The average lifespan of a Schipperke is 13-15 years making them relatively healthy dogs for their size! Regular exercise should always be maintained throughout adolescence into adulthood along with good quality nutrition which helps support overall wellbeing!

Exercise Needs

Due to its high energy levels, the Schipperke requires ample exercise in order to stay happy & healthy. They enjoy running around outside for extended periods so exercising them on leash daily (for at least an hour) or frequent trips outback un-leashed playtime is best. Although small in size, owners shouldn’t underestimate this breed’s need for physical activity! These little dogs have lots of stamina resulting from centuries performing tasks on canal boats & farms alike where they needed it most so regular walks plus backyard exercises provide vital mental stimulation along with providing opportunities work off excess energy maintaining muscle strength too!

Grooming Needs

A uniquely minimal grooming requirement associated with owning a schipperke who like cats inherently keep themselves clean thanks to careful self-care practices means maintenance care needs less attention than other longer haired breeds that require weekly brushing regimens helping maintain coats glossy shine keeping mats in check; requiring professional grooming once every month works well ensuring proper upkeep.
Regular baths might not necessarily be required unless your pet rolls about in dirty spots too much but cleaning between toes prevent build-up dirt which can sometimes lead to infections!

Training Needs

As with all dogs, the key to training a Schipperke lies in consistency and positive reinforcement techniques. Basic obedience training should begin early on by using treats and praise, focusing initially on housebreaking & potty training.

More advanced obedience training is also recommended (but not essential) for owners of this high-energy breed who seek challenge themselves mentally as much physical exercise. Breed-specific games like agility exercises or scent tracking also offer both stimulation along with working towards better control under real-life circumstances.
Schipperkes are known for being quick learners when it comes to following commands which makes them ideal candidates for further training regimens that focus not just mental but physical exertion too!

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