The Schipperke: A Complete Guide

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The Schipperke’s small size and easy-care coat are attractive qualities, but his intelligence and curiosity are also admirable traits.

He is a beautiful black dog with pricked ears and a coat that gives the impression of a sloped back. The Schipperke is known for his beauty and feisty nature.

Beware if you think he’s simply a sweet little companion dog. He is a small dog with a big personality.
The Schipperke is always alert.

He patrols his home and property, barking warnings as needed and seeking out vermin that dare invade his space.

He wants to be involved in all family activities and loves children of all ages. He’s protective of and devoted to his people and can be aloof toward strangers until he decides they’re okay.

This is an active dog who was bred to work. Give the Schipperke a task, or train him for obedience, agility, and other dog sports and you will have a well-behaved dog for life.

A Schipperke running towards you
The Schipperke needs at least one 30-minute walk a day.

Keep the Schipperke in a securely fenced yard when he’s outdoors. He’s known for being an escape artist.

He can be oblivious to passing cars and other dangers outside the house when he activates his explorer mode. This is why you should always walk him on a leash.

While he’s incredibly cute, smart, and funny, the Schipperke can be a handful for a first-time dog owner.

If you have the time and patience, not to mention a sense of humor, you may find that he’s the perfect dog for you.

There’s no doubt that with this little breed as a companion, your life will never be dull.

Schipperke Puppies – Before You Buy…

What Price are Schipperke Puppies?

The price of Schipperke puppies is anywhere between $600 to $1,000.

How to Find Reputable Schipperke Breeders?

Choosing where to get your Schipperke from is an important decision.

A reputable breeder is not only someone who raises the puppy but one who will be around for the remainder of his life as an information source and support system.

They will happily provide information on the health testing of the parents and will be there if you can no longer keep your Schipperke for some reason.

Reputable breeders have lengthy waiting lists, and you may have to wait to get a puppy.

A breeder’s responsibility should not end when you walk out the door with your puppy.

3 Little-Known Facts About Schipperke Puppies

  1. The Schipperke is also known as Spitske, Spits, and Spitzke. The name Schipperke means ‘little shepherd’ in Flemish.
  2. A small, black sheepdog that was called Leuvenaar was probably the common ancestor of the Belgian Shepherd and the Schipperke.
  3. Schipperkes do very well on boats and people often get this breed to come along with them on boating and fishing trips.

Physical Traits of the Schipperke

The Schipperke sitting in snow
Sometimes the Schipperke barks too much.

The Schipperke is an agile, small, and tailless dog with the face of a fox. He is solidly built and has a distinctive black coat that creates a sloping silhouette from his shoulders to his rear end.

His coat is thick, and his chest is wide. His eyes are small, oval, and dark brown.

The Schipperke generally has a mischievous look in his eye. His triangular ears are erect, set high atop the head.

He wears a distinctive double coat that comes in black. He also has a cape of long hair that extends beyond the ruff.

The backs of the thighs also have thick culottes that are the same length to the hair in his ruff.

These different lengths of hair give his body a sloping effect that runs from his shoulders to his back end.

The Schipperke coat will need to be brushed at least twice a week to keep shedding under control and prevent mats from forming.

Twice a year, his entire undercoat will shed to make room for new growth. During these periods, daily brushing is a must.

A warm bath can also help get rid of all the dead hair and make maintenance a lot easier.
Schipperkes do not require trimming or clipping.

Check his ears weekly for irritation, infection, or wax build-up. Use a veterinarian-approved cleanser. Brush his teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease.

Additionally, nails should be trimmed once a month if he does not wear them down naturally.

How Big is a Full-Grown Schipperke?

The Schipperke can grow up to 10 to 13 inches and weigh 11 to 18 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Schipperke?

The life expectancy of the Schipperke is 13 to 15 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Schipperke

A side view of the Schipperke
The Schipperke loves his family.

The Schipperke is the proverbial big dog in a little dog’s body. He’s active, confident, and curious.

For this dog, a closed door is simply a challenge to be overcome.

The Schipperke retains his puppylike qualities until he’s 4 or 5 years old. This includes all the problematic ones.

He loves his humans and wants to make them happy, but he also likes to have his way most of the time. If you let him, the Schipperke will soon take over and run the household!

Protective, brave, and naturally wary of strangers, he makes a very good watchdog and will take on anyone who seems to have bad intentions.

Schipperkes are picky when it comes to offering their friendship. They only create strong bonds with family members.

When it comes to training, the Schipperke is naughty and can be willful. But with positive reinforcement, they will obey and learn quickly.

Confine the Schipperke to a securely fenced yard. Besides his love for digging, he is very curious and will investigate an interesting scent with no second thought.

Don’t rely on an underground electronic fence too much to keep him in. He’s much too interested in having his way for a fence to stop him.

Train him with patience, firmness, and consistency.

Keep your training sessions short and enjoyable, and don’t be surprised if he puts his flair on the commands you give him. It’s just in his nature to outthink you in different ways.

For best results, use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards.

The Schipperke’s Diet

Like so many other breeds, the Schipperke enjoys a good cut of meat. You can get wholesome, nutritional food like vegetables into his diet by mixing in meat with them.

Because he’s so small, he can be a bit prone to weight gain, so be sure not to overfeed him.

A Schipperke gaining a pound is not the same as a St. Bernard gaining a pound, after all.

How Much Exercise Does a Schipperke Need?

The Schipperke needs at least a 30-minute walk on a leash. But he will pleasantly surprise you because he also makes a good jogging companion.

If you’re smart, you will take advantage of his intelligence, speed, and athletic abilities and train him for dog sports such as rally, obedience, flyball, and agility.

These are all great ways to satisfy his needs for physical and mental stimulation. Expect him to act out destructive ways if you don’t.

Schipperke Health and Conditions

Some of the hereditary eye diseases in Schipperkes include progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts.

Heart disease and epilepsy are also a cause for concern.

Bad joints in the hips and the knees can cause pain and lameness and can require expensive surgery in worst case scenarios.

Schipperkes are also prone to Legg-Calve-Perthes. A number of skin problems affect Schipperkes which cause itchiness or hair loss.

Up to 14% of Schipperkes also have low thyroid levels.

My Final Thoughts on the SchipperkeA Schipperke looking surprised

The inquisitive and watchful Schipperke has been a watchdog for so many years, and he still does a tremendous job at it.

He is interested in everything around him, always prepared to protect his family and property.

When introduced to them as puppies and supervised properly, he is also great with kids, including toddlers.

He is reserved toward strangers, so don’t get a Schipperke if you want a dog who will love everyone on sight.

He loves his family, but he is a confident, independent dog with a mind of his own.

Don’t be surprised when he suddenly dashes out the door without permission, barks too much, or gets challenging to housetrain.

He likes to do things his own way. Unless you can establish yourself as his leader, he doesn’t see any reason to do what you say.

A happy Schipperke owner is firm and consistent but not harsh. A sense of humor helps, too.

Channel your Schipperke’s intelligence and energy into activities such as agility, herding, rally, and obedience, or plan to do lots of trick training, jogging, and other activities to keep him occupied.

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