Schipperke (Non-Sporting Group)
The Schipperke is a member of the Non-Sporting Group, with an unusual look. All black in color, their body tends to “slope” downwards from the neck to its hind quarters. A small dog breed, they weigh anywhere from 10 to 16 pounds, reaching a height of 11 to 13 inches.
The temperament of the breed is best described as a bold companion, one that is courageous an independent, yet playful and highly affectionate. Schipperke dogs are head-strong and love staying busy. They are easy to train and make great house dogs. They are moderately friendly towards other dogs and pets, with a certain level of weariness towards unknown people.
A Brief History Of The Schipperke
The listed origin of the Schipperke is said to be Belgium, dating back to the 1600s. But the exact details of the true beginnings of the breed is still covered in controversy. One theory suggests that they were boat dogs, used for various tasks for boatmen who traveled between Antwerp and Brussels.
The word schip is a Flemish word for boat, therefore many people considered the name to reference “little boatman”. However, the Belgian people referred to the Schipperke as a spitz. A second theory is that these dogs were used as watchdogs and ratters for the middle class and tradesmen guilds.
Whatever the true history of the creation of the Schipperke, documented evidence of the dogs were not found until 1690. Local shoemakers from Brussels would hold competitions of their Schipperke dogs and by the 19th century the popularity of the breed grew to the point where one could be found in almost every household. By the late 1880s, the United States became home of several Schipperke dogs and its numbers have been slowly on the rise every since.
Upkeep Requirements For The Schipperke
This breed has an active need to stay busy. Mental stimulation as well as physical exertion is a must. The small size of the Schipperke helps keep its exercise needs down to a few brisk walks on the leash plus some playtime indoors or outside in the yard. But even during rest time they enjoy looking for something to do.
The Schipperke can withstand moderately cool temperatures but is not meant to live outdoors. They do not fare well in heat and should sleep inside with the family at night. Access to a fenced-in yard during the say is ideal, as these dogs love to stay occupied. Grooming requirements for the Schipperke calls for a weekly brushing of its double coat.
The average lifespan of the Schipperke is between thirteen and fifteen years. The only major health concern in the breed is MPS IIIB. Minor health issues include hypothyroidism, epilepsy, and Legg-Perthes. Rarely seen is PRA, distichiasis, CHD, and entropion. Veterinarians suggest that the Schipperke get specifically tested for DNA for MP IIIB, thyroid, and hip problems.