If you want to have a pet in the form of a shepherd dog, but do not have the opportunity to keep such a large dog, then the Belgian Schipperke breed is ideal for you. It can be said to be a miniature copy of the Groenendael. These species are similar in appearance, apart from size, and are similar in character.
Schipperke distinguished himself as an unsurpassed rodent hunter and a sensitive watchman, from whose sonorous bark not only the owners, but the entire district will wake up.
So, the robbers will definitely not get into the territory guarded by such a dog unnoticed. Representatives of the breed are inquisitive, energetic, with proper education, the Schipperke can become not only a guard, but also a faithful companion.
Another name for the breed is Spitzke.
If you like this breed of dog and you are interested in adopting a schipperke, do not miss this Pets Feed dog breed sheet, in which we will share with you all the information you need to know about the schipperke, from its origins or, till the facts of this breed of dog.
Schipperke is Flemish for “little captain”. The name originated in the second half of the nineteenth century. It is believed to have been invented by English-speaking sailors. Schipperke was very much appreciated by the owners of water transport, as she ideally fought with rats and mice.
The breed dates back to the seventeenth century. Schipperke’s homeland is Belgium. The ancestors are small ancient dogs with black coat color, their name is “Leuvenar”. Representatives of the breed were very popular in the nineties of the seventeenth century among shoemakers and ordinary workers. Competitions were held between the owners of the Schipperke, which dog had the most original collar. Usually collars were made of copper and decorated with all kinds of intricate additions.
The original purpose of energetic black dogs was to protect property and catch pests. In the nineteenth century the situation changed. The breed standard was approved, a breeding club was founded. Schippercke began to take part in exhibition shows, gaining popularity not only at home, but also in America, in European countries.
Physical characteristics of the Schipperke
A black, fluffy, small dog that looks like a revived soft toy is a Schipperke. Representatives of the breed are divided in appearance into “Americans” and “Europeans”. “Americans” are taller, heavier and more bony, “Europeans” are inferior to them both in height and weight, they look more refined and graceful. During exhibition shows there is no division, but the championship is in most cases American-style schipperke.
The growth of adults is about 25-33 cm, the ideal weight is 4-7 kg, but Schipperke is found with a weight of 3 to 9 kg. This is not a vice.
A wide wedge-shaped head rests on a muscular neck that is not too long. The forehead is wide, narrowing towards the eyes. The ears are small, triangular in shape, erect, strong, very mobile, set high.
The muzzle is well defined, its end does not look truncated. The nose is small, straight, the nose and lips are black. Full scissor bite, tick-borne is allowed.
The eyes are almond-shaped, small, dark brown. Set not deep, but not protruding either.
The body is wide, short, square format is considered ideal. The topline is slightly raised from the croup to the withers. The back is straight and strong. The abdomen is moderately tucked up. The rib cage is wide and well defined.
The tail is docked. It happens that Schipperke puppies are born without a tail (bobtail). An uncropped tail is not considered a disadvantage, as in many countries docking the ears and tail of pets is prohibited. The natural tail is wide and long. During the step, running, the schipperke carries it at the level of the back, but it happens that it is raised above the back line and twisted.
The legs are straight, parallel with well-developed muscles, a certain grace is visible. The hind legs are visually more voluminous than they actually are. All because of the lush coat on the hips. Paws “cat”, round, small size. Arched toes, strong black nails.
The coat is of medium length. The hair is straight, coarse. There is a dense undercoat that protects the Schipperke from the cold. On the head the hair is short, around the neck there is a beautiful collar (mane), especially pronounced in males. Lush frill on the chest. On the limbs “pants”.
The coat is pure black.
Personality and character of the Schipperke
Lively and agile, the Schipperke is a loyal, gentle and calm dog. He can be stubborn and playful, sometimes earning his nickname “black devil”, especially when he meets other dogs he has not known before.
In general, this dog is curious, brimming with vitality and guardian. Although he is independent, he also needs a lot of company.
The Schipperke tends to be very friendly to his family, but distrustful of strangers. This makes this dog a very good watchdog, as it usually barks at the slightest surprise. He can get along with other dogs and other pets, provided he has been properly socialized. To avoid problems, both with humans and with other animals, it is important to socialize these dogs from an early age.
When this dog is well socialized and educated, it can be an excellent pet for almost all families. However, the Schipperke may not tolerate the severe treatment of young children, so it is not recommended as a pet for families with children under the age of about eight.
On average, a Schipperke can live up to 12-15 years. He is naturally strong and have strong immunity.
It is worth noting a genetic predisposition to epilepsy. Seizures occur due to erratic eating habits that disrupt the proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems.
Keeping your pet healthy is essential. How long the dog will live depends on the correct actions of the owner.
The owner must annually take the pet to the veterinary clinic for preventive examinations, tests and X-ray examinations. You also need to vaccinate, deworm and treat skin parasites on time, which is especially important in the warm season.
When examining a Schipperke in the clinic, special attention should be paid to the hip joints and the thyroid gland. Since the representatives of this breed are at risk for hip dysplasia and thyroid diseases.
The list of Schipperke’s health problems does not end with the above diseases. Below are the diseases typical of the Belgian breed:
- Eye diseases – cataracts, volvulus of the eyelids, retinal atrophy, treatment consists of surgical intervention.
- Mucopolysaccharidosis is a genetic disease that belongs to a group of so-called mucopolysaccharide disorders.
- Hypothyroidism is a lack of thyroid hormones.
- Legg Calvet Perthes disease is aseptic necrosis of the femoral head.
- Epilepsy – the disease can be controlled; the number of seizures can be reduced.
Because of the breed’s predisposition to have hip problems, it is important to prevent the schipperke from being overweight.
Schipperke needs a lot of exercise despite his small size, but luckily his needs can be easily met. This may be enough with a shorter walk in the morning and a longer and more interesting walk in the afternoon. However, care must be taken not to place excessive demands on dogs, especially during jumping exercises, so as not to damage their hips.
The Schipperke is a smart, high-energy dog and as such needs the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation to be truly happy and well-balanced dogs. If this dog is not getting the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Schipperke would get bored quickly and might even start to show destructive behavior in the home, which is his way of relieving the stress that he feels and not necessarily because he is mean.
Feeding a Schipperke has its own characteristics and rules. If the diet and portions are not properly formulated, the dog can gain excess weight, become obese and even epilepsy.
We feed sexually mature representatives of the breed 1 time a day, it is permissible to give some kind of delicacy at night. Buy premium food when artificially fed. With natural – fresh, high-quality products (meat, vegetables, offal …).
It is forbidden to give the Schipperke food from the table, river fish, smoked meats, sweets, potatoes, legumes.
There should be fresh, cool water in the dog’s bowl around the clock.
Once a puppy is 11 months old, it can be fed with food for adult dogs.
You can keep a Schipperke both indoors and outdoors. The main thing is to provide an overly active pet with the opportunity to throw out the accumulated energy. When kept in an aviary, the dog will be able to run freely around the area near the house. If he lives in an apartment, it is necessary to walk him 2-3 times daily. One walk can be short, but during the rest the dog must not only relieve his natural needs, but also play active games, run, jump.
Try to regularly take the Schipperke out into nature, where his freedom will not be limited. The ideal game for the breed is agility.
We support the beauty and health of Schipperke with the following procedures:
- Brushing the lush coat once a week. During molting (3 times a year), comb out 2 times daily. The Schipperke’s molt is very abundant; it is recommended to use a hard-bristled brush when combing out. Inexperienced dog owners get scared when they see their pet after molting. Indeed, the dog looks bald. This is not scary, there is no reason for panic, after a couple of months the coat will become beautiful and lush again.
- We bathe the Schipperke 2-3 times a year or if the dog is very dirty. After each walk, we wash its paws. It is recommended to use dry shampoo while bathing.
- We clean and inspect our dog’s ears regularly. In Schipperke, they are strongly pubescent inside, the hairs contribute to the retention of dirt, which can lead to infectious diseases.
- We cut the claws as they grow, if there is no experience, it is better to entrust this procedure to a specialist so as not to injure the dog.
Training and education
In appearance, the Schipperke is a cute, affectionate animal, but in fact he is quite wayward, brave, and often shows stubbornness. Therefore, such a dog needs an owner with a strong character who can raise an obedient, adequate, disciplined pet from a puppy.
Early socialization is the main rule in the educational process of representatives of the breed. Schipperke loves to bark loudly, in the absence of socialization and education, such an active dog will bark at all passers-by, the same reaction occurs when the doorbell rings or just extraneous sounds. It is important to teach your pet to respond appropriately to surrounding events.
Thanks to his quick wit, excellent memory and sharp mind, it is not very difficult to train a Schipperke. The main thing is to learn to cope with his stubbornness. For this, it is recommended that you train consistently, play form of lessons, and variety.
Schipperke Fun Facts
- In Flemish schipperke means “little captain” or “little boatman”, there is also a translation version – “shepherd boy”.
- Cynologist Florimond Verbank claims that in the old Brabant dialect, schipperke means “little shepherd”.
- At home (Belgium), Schipperke is affectionately called little skippers.
- Until 4-5 years old, the Schipperke behaves like a little playful puppy, this does not prevent him from being a fearless guard.
Schipperke Dog Breed Highlights
If you cannot afford to keep a large guard dog, but you really need such a guard, pay attention to the Schipperke breed. The little dog will not cause trouble in keeping and will perfectly cope with the duties of a watchdog. To decide finally whether this is your breed or is it worth looking for another option, check out the main pros and cons of the Schipperke.
- The Schipperke is known to be a good companion and a loving, loyal and fun pet.
- He thrives in a family environment and likes to be involved in everything.
- He is very intelligent and in good hands, easy to train.
- The Schipperke is one of the healthiest breeds.
- This dog is playful, curious and looks like a puppy well in his later years.
- It has a long lifespan if it is well cared for and fed with an appropriate diet.
- He makes a wonderful watchdog because he is always on the alert.
- The Schipperke loves to travel by car.
- The Schipperke hates being left alone and suffers from separation anxiety.
- He is a high energy little dog who likes to be given something to do.
- It is quite demanding and requires a lot of attention.
- The Schipperke loses abundantly throughout the year, especially in spring and fall.
- This dog can be booked with people he does not know.
- He can be stubborn and determined when the mood takes him.
- The Schipperke has a very high sense of prey.
- This breed of dog has a low boredom threshold which can lead to destructiveness and incessant barking.
- He likes the sound of his own voice.
- He can be aggressive towards other dogs if he is not socialized well enough.