Breeding group : Non-Sporting
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GENERALBreed group: Non-Sporting Type: Pure Breed
Talent: Agility, Guarding, Tricks, Watchdog
PHYSICALSize: Small Weight: 7-18 lbs Fur length: Ears: Pointy Fur type: Straight
Fur Color: Black
ATTRIBUTESLife Expectancy: About 15-18 years. Rarity: Common Availability: Easily available
Climate: Good for every climate
The Schipperke originated in Belgium and was bred to guard boats either docked or at sea and to hunt down vermin that live aboard the ships. They are descendants of the Belgium Sheepdog but were bred to become decreased in size until they reached their current weight which tops out at a whopping 18 lbs. This breed is petite and has a significantly compact body and tiny, fine boned legs. They have a sharp muzzle and ears that are tiny but are pointed upwards giving them a constantly perceptive look. The Schipperkes tail will be docked for show purposes but if left natural will be a tight coil that curls over to touch their lower back. The Schipperke is a lively little dog that is courageous and strong minded. They love children, and will get along well with other dogs and cats so will make a great family dog. This breed has a very high adoration for their master and will usually give all of their love and loyalty toward that one person. They are not as outgoing or friendly with people they've never met or even know because they are devoted to their owner.
The Schipperke only comes in one colour variation which is the solid black. They can come in tan, a rich brown, or a cream colouring but none of these will be accepted for show rings as black is the only permitted colour.
This breed has a very thick double layered coat that is a bit more dense and hard feeling to the touch. The top coat is fine yet smooth, while the undercoat is fleecy and insulating giving them protection from colder climates. The Schipperke has a 'mane-like' tuft of fur around their necks which gives them a more distinguished look.
The Schipperke is a clever breed that has a mischievous side that needs to explore! They are bright dogs and will not be too difficult to train if their owner is consistent with the techniques. These little guys are notorious for their cleanliness because they have little to no smell and groom themselves as regularly as a cat would. This breeds purpose was to guard their master's territory (in this case boats or ships) and this trait has been carried on to the Schipperke of today. Despite their size, these little dogs are not all bark and will defend what belongs to them at will! Strangers are not welcome around this breed unless they are formally introduced.
The Schipperke will need a large amount of grooming maintenance to upkeep their thick fur. One to three times per year times they will lose their coat to re-grow a new one, this is called 'blowing their coat'. The entire undercoat of the dog will be shed and during this time they will need to be brushed at least 2-3 times per day! Bathing should be done about every 2 months or at the owners discretion as to how often. The Schipperke is prone to cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, hip dysplasia and a breed specific disease called MPS IIB. They might be inclined to inherit hypothyroidism but this will only be in some lines.
This breed is a very clever little dog and will need firm yet gentle training methods to grasp any concepts. Sessions should be shorter and made to be enjoyable so the dog is motivated to learn! They want to please their masters but can be stubborn so owners must be consistent and patient.
The Schipperke will need at least an hour per day of exercise which can be time spent in an off-leash park or on a walk. It is suggested they be taken to dog parks because they will burn off their energy much quicker if they are running after a ball or playing with other dogs. This breed will do well in an apartment as long as they have their daily exercise and a backyard is preferred so they have an outdoor area at home to run around in!