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The Schipperke is a black, tailless dog raised on barges in Belgium, keeping them free from vermin and warning of intruders. Their name in Flemish means "Little Captain." He was and is also popular as a housepet who enjoys hunting rabbits, moles and other vermin. His body style, though small, hints toward a spitz-type of ancestry. The breed has been in existence for centuries, possibly since the days of the Vikings, and was shown at dog shows as early as the1600s. They were first imported to the United States and Great Britain in the late 1800s.
The Schipperke is often referred to as "le meilleur chien de maison" (best house dog). He makes an admirable pet, a faithful watchdog and a good vermin dog. He is full of curiosity and pep. He has great love for his family and also an instinctive love of horses.
The head of the Schipperke is fox-like with a tapered muzzle and not too much drop off (stop) from skull to muzzle. His eyes are dark brown, small and oval with a questioning, lively expression. His ears are small, triangular and held erect. The neck is strong, full and short. The shoulders are muscular as are the loins. The body is short, thickset and cobby. The back is strong, short and level. The legs are straight. The tail is docked to an inch in length or less. The feet are small and tight. The only color of coat accepted in the United States is solid black while other colors including chocolate, tans, fawns, sable and cream are accepted in other counties. Whatever the color, the coat hair is abundant and harsh to the touch. It is a double coat with a dense short undercoat and an outercoat that is fairly short except for a ruff around the neck and along the rear. Height is between ten and thirteen inches at the withers and weight is not to exceed eighteen pounds.
Name withheld by request of Minnesota writes:
Best watchdog in the world.
My ex-husband and I got a Schipperke at the local humane society. They classified him as a "mix," but I'm not so sure. He has all the skip traits, but he has a genuine tail. I don't know what possessed us to bring him home, because when we took him outside to check out his temperament (at the shelter), he wanted nothing to do with us, only what was going on outside. But he was adorable and I had to have him! He was two when we brought him home, and very nippy and energetic. But as he got to know us (his family), and we got to know him, he was (and still is) the most enjoyable pet I've had. They are smart, mine learned to sit and stay in one week. He is my faithful companion (I got "custody" after the divorce). VERY protective of me and my children, and my home. He is extremely curious, never letting a door stay closed for very long. And the best thing about my skip is the affection he gives, he loves nothing better than cuddling up in bed after a long day. I love him; he is my best friend, and my most loyal companion, and I always feel safe with him around. He always alerts me when someone is outside or at the door. I discovered a rare treasure when we brought this wonderful dog home! He is almost nine now, but hasn't slowed down a bit!
Name withheld by request of Washington writes:
He's the devil!
I "inherited" a Schipperke by marrying a woman who is owned by one. I love my wife. This dog is another matter. She does not even deny that he's been a vicious little @#%*% from day one. According to her, this dog would viciously go for the face of her entire family from the time he was a puppy. He was sent to two professional dog trainers, plus obedience training. The trainers threw in the towel and said it was hopeless. He's fourteen years old now. I've lived with this dog for three years and have been bitten about a dozen times, usually in the middle of the night when I don't see him and brush past him. I've had dogs, reputedly mean dogs ­p; they were all sweet ­p; and even a high percentage wolf hybrid that was a joy, but I have never run into anything as utterly incapable of learning as this dog. Forget about punishing him, he'll run right up your leg. There's no establishing an "alpha" position with him by restraining him and looking him in the eye. I have heard about behavior problems in this breed ­p; always minimized because breeders want to make a sale at the end of the day ­p; and I'll be the first to admit that this particular dog might be either an anomaly, or possessed by demons. They are really cute puppies, but after experiencing this one on my ankle, I can't recommend one to anyone.
email@example.com of NJ writes:
Buying from a pet store was a big mistake.
My husband and I found a Schipperke puppy at a local pet store. We fell in love with him, brought him home and named him. Unfortunately, this story doesn't have a happy ending. There is a good reason people who know this breed always warn against buying one from a pet store. Ours had a severe biting problem. He was only ten weeks old and under four pounds, but once he clamped on to skin he just wouldn't let go. He wouldn't play with us no matter what toys we bought him. We tried distracting him, shaking a can of coins at him, and telling him no, to no avail. My hands were shredded and bleeding and I had cuts up and down my legs. He bit my husband on the face and went after our twenty-month-old daughter. We brought him to the vet but he had no advice to offer us except that maybe he would outgrow the bad behavior. After four days I was afraid to be around him, so we decided to return him. The minute we brought him back to the pet store he was a different dog, kissing the employees of the store and rolling on his back to be scratched. Our hearts are broken ... just remember, even though they look cute in the pet store, you don't have a clue what kind of problems they might have. We have learned our lesson, and next time we'll go to a reputable breeder.
Name withheld by request of Denmark writes:
They have tails!
We have two Schipperkes, both with tails. Little curly tails that makes them look like a much more complete dog, sort of a black and tiny Malamute. Having a tail or not is a breeding option, and I suspect a lot of tailless Schipperkes have had their tails docked as puppies.
A lot of unverified lore seems to pass around whenever a person wants to describe a Schipperke. First, the origin as a typical barge dog seems highly questionable. There has been a reported incident of a British captain having two of these dogs on his ship. But it's an old breed and back in those days it was an expensive breed. More likely it was a fashion dog for the good burghers of Flemish towns. Fits poorly into a life as a humble ship dog.
The "learning curve" of a Schipperke can be quite steep when you start doing training with them, but persist and use the right pedagogical methods and you will get a marvellous dog in all thinkable disciplines. Also they seem to fit a mix of herding dog and Spitz. They stick to you like glue, and I cannot recognize the description of the Schipperke as an unattentive, easy-to-lose dog. They are very alert about the whereabouts of their owners when out, but their always adventurous minds might break the focus for a short while. But pat on your pockets and they come zooming back for a treat.
They quickly develop a territorial sense when out of the house, but they are surprisingly calm and relaxed if you make sure to get them used to out of the house activities. When home they're alert guard dogs, when they're out, calm as sheep ­p; unless some other dog trespasses on their private sphere.
firstname.lastname@example.org of Ohio writes:
The best dog you will ever want to live with.
I wrote a review back in November 2000, at that time, I had only had my Schip for six months. Now he is two years old, he is a therapy dog with TDI and with the SCPA, he is on his way to his first Compainion Dog title, and he is a member of Dog Scouts. I can honestly say, you couldn't give me 300 billion dollars for my Schipperke. I adore this dog! I now do Schipperke rescue and I am what is called a "Schipperke Addict" I have met amazing people because of my Schip and started many new friendships. Schip and Schip people are the best. I will ALWAYS have a Schip and a fenced in yard!
If you are thinking about a Schipperke, there are a few things you must know. Not everyone is qualified to be owned by a Schip. You must have patience, persistence, a fenced in yard, a good sense of humor, and the time to invest in obedience. These are very smart little dogs and you must learn to outsmart them. They are very sensitive and don't take well with firm correction. But if you think you are able to be all this then you may one day be blessed with a magnicifent animal called a Schipperke.
LHarrin645@aol.com of New York writes on 4/5/01:
Lovable, high energy and a whole new lifestyle.
My god is bold, pigheaded, cute, fun and not all that friendly. He shows his home and protects his family. He eats everything including the cat poop from the litter box. He is a brat and a best friend. He sleeps on my bed and protects me when I sleep; because he doesn't sleep. He watches out for intruders. He's the best.
email@example.com of Iowa writes on 12/18/00:
The best friend a guy could have.
My father gave me my first dog when I was 15 and it was a Schip. We go every where together and do everthing together. He loves to go fishing, hunting, and where ever else I go. He is a very protective dog, but also very loving. He is a genuine Schip. Always getting into trouble and places he shouldn't be. We always go hunting could run all day if I would let him, but I will ruin his day and go back to the house, where he is still getting into trouble. He is a lovable, and protective dog. I dont know what I would do with out him. My best friend.
Name withheld by request of Hamilton, OH writes on 11/22/00:
Once you have one, there is no reason to have anything else.
I have many types of dogs in my life but none compare to my Schip. Mine is a well tempered male that I can take anywhere with me and not have to worry about him biting or jumping on someone.
I had to put a one year old German Shepherd to sleep about 6 months ago becaue he bit two people, because he was a fear biter. I am not saying all Shepherds are bad either because I had a beloved Shepherd as a child. My Schip has renewed my heart after it was broken and I can't imagine every loving another dog any more than him. He is 20 pounds and he thinks he is 120 pounds when you come to the fence and then licks you to death when he gets to know you. He gets along with my husband, and my other dog and my 2 cats. To get along with 2 spoiled rotten cats, that is saying something. He is my baby. His breed isn't for just anyone but if you have a good sense of humor and you have trained other dogs then he is the breed for you. Good luck and remember, don't sweat the small stuff, Schips are just small stuff.
Name withheld by request of Virginia writes on 3/3/00:
Great dog for responsible, involved active owners.
Our Schipperke is the best dog we have every owned, but we must agree that owners need to understand the extreme level of involvement and responsibility Schipperkes require.He wants to play or go for a walk well after other dogs in the neighborhood have gone to bed and he needs A LOT of constant attention, petting and affection. In return, he makes us laugh at his antics (dancing on his hind legs), snuggles with us in bed, throws a party each time we return home and is the best friend anyone could ever want. A fenced yard is a must and he has "selective" hearing sometimes unless a treat is involved. This dog has more personality, charm, intelligence and grace than any dog we have ever known, and if you are up for the challenge of socialization class, obedience school and a strict exercise routine, than we would highly recommend this breed.He also doubles as an alarm clock and if you sleep in, you will get a paw or lick to the face - so be prepared! Please do your research first to make sure this is the right dog for you and find a qualified and recommended breeder (NOT a pet store!). There are several Schipperke sites on the web with a lot of good information. We researched Schipperkes thoroughly and are thankful every day for this steady ray of sunshine in our lives.
Name withheld by request of California writes on 12/28/99:
Loyal, one person dogs.
I have a wonderful, intellegent Schipperke puppy. He is seven months old and has been neutered, had all of his shots and been through puppy training. Max is extremley intellegent and would make a terrific cirrcus dog. We have been able to teach him many tricks such as "touch this, touch that" and sit in one day's time. He is very loving with me and he likes the other family members too.
The big drawback of this breed, and I have seen this often, is that all other people, including friends and neighbors, are viewed with strong mistrust by Schipperkes. We are experienced with dogs and have been working to socialize Max but, knowing the breed as I do, I expect he will always be suspicious of aquaintances.
firstname.lastname@example.org of California writes on 10/20/99:
A breed with a great deal to offer a well-matched human.
Schipperkes are the most wonderful, loving, playful,curious, inquisitive, intelligent, empathetic companions to their adoring understanding humans. Or, they can be the most obnoxious, distructive, loud mouthed, un-ruly, hyper, exasperating animals around if their humans weren't properly educated as to what to expect of the adorable cute ball of furr they all are as babies.
Schipperkes can be and are all these things if the circumstance warrant. Schipperkes are intelligent, curious, and have tons of energy, therefore they need to be "entertained" or provided with "entertainment" toys and situations such as obedience, agility, flyball, long walks or runs, hikes, etc.
The need their solitude time as much as they need their play and investigating time. Grooming generally is done for pleasure and bonding except for the all out coat blow-out once or twice a year.
Schipperkes are wonderful watch dogs so be prepared to know when your neighbor has company. Just because your fence is the legal limit of your property doesn't mean your schipperke understands this. He can smell and hear much better than you can or ever will. It is his job to keep his family informed of changes in the neighborhood. Schipperkes respond to positive reinforcement much better than they do to punishment. Their level of actividty and energy lasts well up into their advanced age. Only during the advanced years of 12 or so do they normally "slow down" in comparison to their early years. This is not to be confused with a "hyper" animal. Spend the time and energy learning of this breeds inherant characteristicts and what to realistically expect from a breeder and if they are for you then spend the time and effort finding a responsible breeder who will stand by the dogs they produce and be there for the owners questions about these dogs forever.
email@example.com of Michigan writes on 10/19/99:
Schips are tops, the only dog for some, not the right one for others.
Schips are an absolutely great breed. They are fun, energetic, and adorable. Even as adults they have a "puppy" look about them, and as puppies they are just to die for. People who like a dog with an attitude, who stands his ground, and has loads of personality will love them. People who like a quiet, predictable dog will not. I would say that having a fence with this breed is a 99% must. Their energy level is too much for just a house, so you either need a fenced yard or you had better LOVE jogging. They average about 15 pounds, as little as 10 for a bitch, and as much as 20 for a male. They have a lot of coat, and do shed twice a year, but their coat is very easy to care for other than that. Little or no brushing, little bathing. Little grooming for the show ring. They can be great with children as long as the parents do two things: number one, teach the dog how to treat the children, and number two, teach the CHILDREN how to treat the dog. Too many people expect number one to be natural, and c
uld care less about number two. Schips are highly intelligent - sometimes too much so, and my Schip is the only dog that I have ever seen that "pretends" - literally. She is also the only dog that I have ever seen to predict that she would not be allowed to do something she has never been punished for - so she doesn't do it in front of us - ever. Schips can be barkers - on the other hand, they often make great little watchdogs. So, low maintenence on coat, some shedding, might bark, HIGH energy level, good family dogs, small size, and high intelligence. Schips are not for everyone - but the ones who truly love them would rarely have any other breed.
One other very important thing: Schips are very sute puppies and as such they have become very popular in pet shops lately. PLEASE do not buy your dog from a pet shop!! They only get their dogs from people who don't care where they go! Also, please watch out for Backyard breeders - people who breed without really bothering to learn about the breed. These people won't show - none of their dogs will have championships, they may or may not give you a pedigree (before you look at the dog), and they will have virtually no health information - unless it is just to say "my dogs are healthy" - in other words, they haven't a clue (when breeding a litter, you have to know what problems they might PRODUCE, not just what they have). Good things to check for - are they an SCA member (Schipperke Club of America), do they show (this doesn't always mean that you will get a good pupy - but it increases your chances a hundred fold), what health checks do they do?, and why did they produce this litter? (if it was to produce pets only, please run the other way - that means they have no goal in their breeding program, and they bred to litter to SELL it). Good luck, if you want a Schip, please do your research - it is all out there on the web!
Danteskips@earthlink.net of Omaha, NE writes on 10/1099:
For me, the very best dog in the world.
Schipperkes are fun, energetic, beautiful and intelligent dogs. They are the best housedogs possible, happy, silly and entertaining even into their older years. Their lovely thick black coat is very easy to take care of, only shedding once or twice a year. They are known to live a long time, often until 16- 17. As a whole they have very few health problems. Epilepsy, luxating patellas and hypothyroid have been reported. Keeping a Schipperke healthy is usually as simple as feeding a good diet, an occasional nail trim, brushing & bath, and a securely fenced yard.
An important factor when selecting a Schipperke is the puppy's breeder and pedigree. A huge part of temperament is inherited. Many Schipperkes have sweet, loving, mellow attitudes, and others are very busy, demanding little buggers. Most fall somewhere in between. Knowing that temperament is inherited, be sure to buy your Schipperke from a reputable breeder, someone who has taken the time to breed the very best dogs, who has learned as much as they can, know what problems you might have to deal with, and are not only interested in money. NEVER buy from a pet store. Be sure to meet the dam and a few of the Breeder's other dogs as well. Be a responsible dog owner. Train and socialize your puppy from an early age to be a good citizen and cherished member of your family.
Just as many Schipperkes are sweet, easy and brilliant, they may also be independent, strong willed and stubborn. Every dog is an individual, and temperaments do vary. Schipperkes are very much influenced by their environment. As young dogs, Schipperkes do all the normal puppy stuff like chewing, barking, digging etc.... With consistent training, these bad traits can be broken before they become habits. If you have not raised a dog before, get the help of a local dog training facility. Like any other breed of dog, an undisciplined Schipperke is like a spoiled child. A Schipperke that has been loved, trained and nurtured will be the BEST DOG YOUíVE EVER HAD! :)
DMurphy859@aol.com of Chicago area, IL writes on 10/4/99:
Not for everyone!
If you want an endlessly active dog, this is the breed for you! Reading through the registered names of Schipperkes, a search will intermittently yield such names as "Devil Dog," and not without reason. Schipperkes are little black bundles of energy. They are very good with children, in part because of this, but frequently form one-person attachments (and if the dog is choosing between child and parent, this can be a problem), and are definitely one-home dogs, often defending the home at all costs. They can be hard to housebreak, especially the females, perhaps in an attempt to identify territory. They are voracious little watchdogs, which translates to a great deal of high-pitched barking. In an urban setting, this can cause problems within a municipality as the police are summoned to your residence when you least expect it. Schipperkes are hunters of vermin and, as such, they will dig (your yard, your carpet, your furniture, your woodwork). Thus, a crate is a necessity when you are not planning to home for a period of time.
They enjoy having their own possessions, such as squeaky toys and rawhides. Schipperkes do enjoy the privacy of a crate, and often seeking the comfort of the crate on their own. Schipperkes should not live in unfenced areas, and the fence bottom should be buried a substantial measure under the soil so they won't be able to dig beneath it. Once outside the intended enclosure, a Schipperke will run for miles, no matter how attached to the master or how well trained. A great number of Schipperkes have been killed in automobile accidents, to the sadness of their owners. Furthermore, they can be very difficult to catch because, although a Schipperke loves his owner, he also loves to run! This is a dog with a high metabolic rate, a great need for exercise, and an appetite to match. A "wash-and-wear" breed, needing only bathing and brushing in addition to routine hygienic measures to which all dogs should have access, they don't necessarily like to be clean. They, instead, will roll in the mud and trot through every puddle in the yard, zipping though the house as you open the door like a painter of modern art on the canvas that is your carpet. They are an unusually healthy breed and are not high-maintenance. Although small in stature, make no mistake -- this is no lap dog. A Schipperke won't sit still very long, unless he's asleep.
They are, however, charming, good-looking, and train for obedience trials with an unparalleled precision. Because of the degree of energy they exhibit, they are excellent agility candidates and perform excellently, achieving high marks. They are generally gregarious showmen and, thus, when sold as show quality, do well in the conformation show ring. Many Schipperkes are versatile and achieve many titles -- in conformation, obedience, and agility. For someone who would like to work with a single dog for a lifetime, this is the perfect choice as the dog will often achieve title after title after title, providing the owner/handler much pleasure as each succeeding achievement is met. The network of Schipperke breeders is small, but very knowledgeable. The potential owner is best served by researching the breed and contacting one of the very reputable breeders within the small network. My experience is that all are friendly and anxious to help you with your decision. It would be best to observe Schipperkes for a period of time before commiting to the breed. Schipperkes are long-lived (usually averaging about fifteen years and sometimes longer) and the potential owner would be wise to bear that in mind before confirming his decision.
firstname.lastname@example.org of Palm City, FL writes on 9/22/01:
Affectionate, loyal to family, inquisitive, busy bodies, clowns, amazing, love older children.
We have two Schipperkes that we rescued. They are very loving and loyal to our family, suspicious of strangers and amazing watch dogs. Despite their small size they would actually guard us with their lives. Our two dogs are approxamately eight years old, yet they are still playful with each other, their toys and us. they are delightful companions. The breed must have fenced yards and ours are no excptions, because given a chance they will wander.The breed is noted for loving ,older responsble children and they do seem to be in "dog heaven" when children are around, but they are not Labradors and will not respond well to toddlers if left unsupervised. The Schipperke is a very bright breed and a great problem solver, but they can be stubborn and obedience training takes patience on the owners part.They are clever and love to learn tricks and entertain. This breed is often used in circuses. Schipperkes are very active, much like a Jack Russel.They stay active on into their mature years.These dogs bring humor, joy,loyalty and protection to families with older children,fenced yards and patient trainers.
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