Origin and brief history
The Schipperke is a Belgian breed that originated in the early 16th century. There has been some debate if the dog is a type of spitz or a type of miniature sheepdog. The origin of the breed is very controversial. Some say they originated as a dog from boatmen traveling between Antwerp and Brussels. Schipperke is thought to mean, “little boatman.” The bred also resembles a Belgian Sheepdog and many think the name Schipperke derived from the word Scheper, which means Shepherd. Great interest in the dog was sparked around 1885, when Queen Marie Henriette attained a Schipperke at a dog show.
The Schipperke is known for being mischievous, headstrong, and very stubborn. They will chase small animals and has been coined with the nicknames because of this. Little black fox and the black Tasmanian devil are two names that tell just how mischievous they are. Schipperkes are very inquisitive and have a high energy level. They are intelligent and must be kept busy. The can be aggressive with other dogs and will need ample training and socialization to prevent it. They do have a very high prey drive and enjoy chasing small animals and rodents; because of this it is smart to enroll them in obedience, agility, or fly ball to exercise their bodies and minds.
The Schipperke requires little grooming. They require a regular brushing with a firm bristle brush to keep their double coats in top condition. Most of the year they shed little, but three times a year they will shed their undercoat. Once a month they require a nail clipping, ear and teeth cleaning, and a general look over of the body.
Specification of breed
The Schipperke can weigh between 6-19lbs. The male will average 33.6 cm (13.2 in) and the female 31.2 cm (12.3in.) They have small ears that stand erect over the tops of their heads. They have a double coat, the undercoat being soft and fluffy and the outer coat feeling dense and rough. They have longer fur on their hind legs that is called culottes. The color is either blonde or black and the coat is very shiny. The Schipperkes tail is usually docked in the United States and Canada; however some places have banned docking. In these places the tail remains natural.
Schipperkes are very high energy and will require daily exercise. They may need several long walks a day or very strenuous play. They can be very independent and head strong. They will need socialization and training to overcome aggression and boredom. If left without exercise or a challenge the Schipperke can become destructive and may tear things up around the house or chase smaller animals and pets. It is very important the owner is confident because the Schipperke can be assertive and dominant.
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