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Size: Small
25 - 33 cm (10 - 13 inches)
Weight: 5.4 - 7.3 kg (12 - 16 lb)
Life Span: 14 years
Intelligent & alert
Country of Origin:
AKC Group:


The Schipperke is active, intelligent, self-confident, alert and faithful. Schipperkes tend to happily play with children, but will be much more cautious with strange dogs or visitors. They generally accept other household pets and are simple to train. Schipperkes are easily alerted and will bark at any signs of trouble and should therefore be trained that several barks is sufficient. Schipperkes make tireless and highly-spirited family pets, that are ideal for an energetic owner.

Schipperkes are easy to groom and only need an occasional brush to keep the coat in excellent condition. Using a rough cloth can help bring out the shine in the coat.

Although Schipperkes are small, they are a bundle of dynamite and need plenty of exercise and space to run and play freely. They should have daily walks and opportunities to run off the lead. They can adapt to either country or urban living so long as they receive adequate exercise.

Schipperkes resemble small spitz breeds, but they are actually small sheepdogs and were once called 'Leavenaars'. During the mid 19th century the larger pups were taken and gradually bred up to a larger herding dog, whereas the little pups were bred down in size to become better ratters and a more ideal size for the canal boats in Europe. They were originally known as 'Spits' or 'Spitske', before the name was changed to Schipperke, which means 'Little Captain' in Flemish.

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Short, compact and lively.
Color: Black is preferable, but other whole colors are accepted.
Coat: Dense, abundant and harsh. There is a mane around the neck with frills between the forelegs. The hair is smooth on the head, ears and legs.
Tail: Customarily docked. If left alone, the tail curls up and is carried over the back.
Ears: Set high, triangular and erect.
Body: The body is stocky with a deep chest and short, level back.

Additional Comments:

  • Schipperke is pronounced as "skip-er-key".
  • These staunch, hardy little dogs don't miss anything and make effective watchdogs.
Schipperke Picture Gallery 1
Schipperke PortraitSchipperke Looking Through a GateSchipperke Looking up at the Camera
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