The Schipperke – What Do They Look Like?
This Belgian breed is a little dog with pointy ears and a medium-length, curled tail. They have a thick coat of black fur that sheds very little. Males typically stand between 13 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder and females are slightly smaller, at 11 to 14 inches. Schipperkes generally weigh between 11 and 18 pounds.
What Is the Schipperke’s Temperament Like?
If you’re looking for a couch potato, the Schipperke is not the breed for you. These dogs are full of energy and need plenty of physical activity to stay happy and healthy. They love to play fetch, go for walks or runs, and explore their surroundings.
Schipperkes are Little Detectives
Schipperkes are also very curious dogs. They like to investigate everything and often get into things they shouldn’t. This curiosity can lead them into trouble, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your Schipperke and provide them with plenty of chew toys and other outlets for their energy.
They May Give You a Hard Time During Training
Schipperkes are also independent dogs with a strong sense of self. This can make them stubborn and difficult to train, especially for first-time dog owners. But if you’re patient and consistent with your training, your Schipperke will learn the rules of the household and be a well-behaved member of the family.
Their Sociability May Vary
While Schipperkes can get along with other dogs, they generally prefer the company of cats. They’re also great with children, but are naturally suspicious with strangers. They can also be territorial, so it’s important to socialize them early and often if you have other pets in the house.
The Health and Lifespan of a Schipperke
Schipperkes are relatively healthy dogs with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. The biggest concerns in this dog breed are:
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease – a condition that affects the hip joint and can cause lameness in the affected leg.
- Autoimmune thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in low levels of thyroid hormone.
- Epilepsy – a neurological disorder that causes seizures.
- Patellar luxation – a condition in which the kneecap slides out of place.
- Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IIIB – a rare genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and skeletal system.
While these conditions are serious, most of them are treatable or manageable with early diagnosis and proper veterinary care. The last disorder won’t occur in puppies bought from reputable breeders – the parent dogs should be tested for the bad gene and not bred if they test positive.
How to Groom and Care for a Schipperke?
When it comes to grooming, the Schipperke’s coat is very easy to care for. A weekly brushing is all that’s needed to remove dead hair and keep the coat looking shiny and healthy. These dogs don’t need to be bathed very often, as their coat is naturally water-resistant. It doesn’t shed much, either, except twice a year for about a month.
As for care, Schipperkes are relatively low-maintenance dogs. They don’t need a lot of special attention or pampering. To prevent dental problems, brush their teeth daily, or at least 2 or 3 times a week. Trim their nails once or twice a month before they get too long, and clean their ears as needed.
Schipperke Breeders and Pricing – What Do You Need to Know?
Schipperkes are purebred dogs and the breed isn’t very common, so they’re not cheap. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1200 to $2000 for a puppy.
The price will depend on the breeder and whether the puppy comes with a warranty or is dog show quality. When looking for a Schipperke puppy, always buy from a reputable breeder who can provide you with health clearances and references.
To avoid pet stores and puppy mills, ask the breeder if they’re a member of an AKC-affiliated club and confirm their membership with the club. You could also find a puppy through AKC’s listings.
The History of the Schipperke Dog Breed
The Schipperke is a Belgian breed that dates back to the 1600s. They were originally bred as watchdogs on barges and boats because of their small size and fearless nature. The word “Schipperke” means “little captain” in Dutch.
In the 1800s, the breed became popular among the upper class in Brussels and other parts of Europe. Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium was a fan of the breed, and she owned two Schipperkes. During World War I, the breed nearly became extinct due to food shortages and lack of breeding stock.
But, a few dedicated breeders kept the breed alive. The Schipperke was first brought to the United States in 1888 and they were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1900.
What Is the Right Home for a Schipperke?
The Schipperke is active and playful, but they can also be independent and stubborn. They make great watchdogs, but their barking can be a problem if not properly trained. For this reason, they’re not recommended for first-time dog owners.
Schipperkes are good for people who are active and have a sense of humor. They need plenty of exercise, but they don’t need a lot of space. If you’re looking for a small dog with a big personality, the Schipperke might be the right breed for you. Just be prepared to give them plenty of exercise and training.
Interesting Facts about Schipperkes
Hungry for more facts about this mischievous dog breed? Here’s some lesser known information you can spread the word about.
- There’s a misconception that the Schipperke is a tailless dog breed because of the widespread practice of tail docking. In reality, they’re born with a full tail, half-tail or a nub.
- While they were originally used to hunt vermin on ships, they also served as watchdogs.
- Some people think of them as a spitz-type dog, while others classify them as miniature sheepdogs.
Ready for a Schipperke Puppy or Adult?
If you think the Schipperke is the right dog for you, congratulations! You’re in for a lot of fun. You can get a puppy from a reputable breeder or adopt an adult dog from a rescue organization. No matter what, be prepared to give your dog plenty of exercise, training, and love. With that, you’ll have a happy, healthy, and loving family member for years to come.
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