Last Updated on August 5, 2023 by Pets Feed
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.
The Schipperke is a small, stocky Spitz-like dog with abundant coarse hair and a tail curled over the back (except when dogs are born without a tail), with a fox-like muzzle and pointed ears. Dogs of this breed are most commonly black in color, although it can be any other solid color.
The height of adult dogs is 21-33 cm, weight is 5-8 kg.
- Head: The head is not very long, of sufficient width, wedge-shaped with a well-developed skull. The forehead is wide, rounded. The muzzle is narrowed towards the nose, its length is 40% of the length of the head. The transition line from forehead to muzzle is distinct.
- Jaws: The teeth are strong with full dentition. Bite “scissors”.
- Ears: The ears are distinctly triangular, rather small, erect, mobile. The landing is high, the space between the legs is wide enough.
- Eyes: The eyes are almond-shaped, small in size, neither prominent nor sunken. The color of the iris is dark brown. The look is cheerful, pointed.
- Body: The body is square, well balanced, stocky, rather wide. The neck is of medium length, muscular, strong. The back is straight, short and powerful. The sternum is quite roomy, lowered to the elbow joints. The loin is straight, the withers are slightly embossed. The croup is round and wide. The belly is moderately upturned.
- Limbs: The legs are straight, parallel with well developed muscles. The paws are compact, round, resembling those of a cat. Short, black nails.
- Coat: The coat is straight, thick, coarse in texture. Shorter on the ears and head than on the rest of the body. The undercoat is dense and soft. The color of the coat is black, the undercoat can be dark gray.
Character and behavior
The Schipperke is a faithful dog, lively and agile, gentle and calm. He can be stubborn and playful, sometimes earning his nickname “the black devil”, especially when he meets other dogs he hasn’t known before.
Schipperke, as befits a real sheepdog, has an independent character, is extremely active. Like an imp, he quickly rushes among family members, giving off a powerful stream of cheerful energy.
The sense of possessiveness is overdeveloped, often turning into pathological greed. He will never give his portion of food or personal toys to anyone in the world to other pets. With pleasure they drag various rags from the street and hide them behind a sofa or in another secluded place.
With the children
Schipperke behaves neatly and moderately good-natured, but they do not feel real pleasure in the process of communicating with the younger generation, and they will definitely never sign up for the role of nanny and entertainer.
With other animals
They get along well with other pets and even the Schipperkes cat, but can conflict with dogs of the same sex.
Below are the diseases typical of the Schipperke dog:
- 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.
On average, a Schipperke can live up to 13-15 years.
Care for the Schipperke is simple:
- Hair is combed once or twice a week.
- Ears are cleaned 1 time in 7-10 days.
- The eyes are cleaned 1-2 times a week.
- Brush your dog’s teeth 2-3 times a week.
- Bathe the dog once or twice a month.
- The nails are cut once a month.
- The pads are wiped down after each ride.
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.
- 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.
History of the breed
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.