Schipperke

Home > Dog Breeds > Schipperke
11-15 lbs
10-12"
Belgium
Spitske

These small dogs are independent minded and are not recommended for first time dog owners. They are curious and very clever, often nicknamed the LBD which is short for little black devil. The Schipperke is fearless and devoted and will guard the family from any harm. They are very adaptable to any setting be it on a boat, or farm or even an apartment, as long as they get enough exercise and you have tolerant (or deaf) neighbors to his barking. They have a high energy level and need daily exercising. It is best if they have an enclosed yard where they can run around in. The LBD is considered a low shedder between their twice-yearly sheds. The most they require is a good brushing, they don’t require regular baths. These dogs adore children and make ideal family dogs if they have a strong leader, and have been trained from birth. They mix well with cats and get along with them and other visiting dogs. The only slight negative is their tendency to bark: they love to hear themselves and will bark just for fun, not just as a watchdog. The country is ideal for them or if they can be trained to limit their barking (they can be challenging to train), they will do well in towns.

Purpose
barge dog, watchdog,
Date of Origin
1600s
Ancestry
sheepdog

Schipperke Health

Average Size
Height: 11-13 inches Weight: 12-16 lbs
Height: 10-12 inches Weight: 11-15 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Entropion
  • Epilepsy
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • X-Rays
  • MRI
  • Eye Examination

Schipperke Breed History

The Schipperke is believed to be bred from the Leauvenaar (Black Sheepdog) in Belgium with the aim to be a watchdog on the boats that plied the canals between Brussels and Antwerp. This dog had the distinction of having one of the first ‘speciality shows’ which took place in 1690. Members of the Shoemakers guild brought their Schipperkes adorned in their hammered brass collars (fashionable at the time) to the Grand Palace of Brussels. Once known as the Spitske or Spits dog, they were given their Schipperke name when the breed club formed in 1888. The meaning of their name is translated as ‘little shepherd’ or ‘little captain’ which suited them well as they were equally at home in the country, as they were on the boats. The breed grew in popularity after Queen Marie Henriette saw one at the Brussels dog show in 1885. With rising popularity, the LBD was imported to the United States in 1888. The first United States speciality club was formed in 1905 for the popular Schipperke, then in 1929 the official Schipperke Club of America was founded. Today, the little black devil is loved for his sly sense of humor and devotion. These dogs are very versatile and adaptable.

Schipperke Breed Appearance

The Schipperke is a small dog that thinks it is a big dog. They are fearless, great home protectors, and guardians of their family. They have a fox-like appearance, slightly mischievous and a very alert attitude.  Their body has a square profile, and when the skull is seen from side on it looks slightly rounded but narrows towards the muzzle, which is shorter in length than the skull. Their dark oval eyes are forward placed on the face, and they have high set, erect pointed ears. These dogs have a small black nose and the teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. The LBD has a wide chest, and a sloping line along the back towards the rear. Often born tailless, but if born with a tail it is often docked to the base, except for Europe where docking is illegal. Their beautifully dense double coat has different lengths; it is short over the face, ears and front legs, medium in length on the body, and even longer around the neck, shoulders and rump. The coat is normally a solid black, (the only color accepted by the AKC) but they also come in a range of fawn shades or variations on tan. Small, vivacious and full of life, these dogs are not for the first-time owner as they can be stubborn to train, and need a strong pack leader to respect.

Appearance of schipperke
Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
Black
Cream
Brown
Blue
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Schipperke Breed Maintenance

The Schipperke dog is a clean animal with little odor. They only need to be bathed if they have gotten into mischief and rolled in something stinky. A good brushing will prevent hair from floating around the house. At shedding times, a warm bath will help to loosen the dead hair and it will be easier to brush out. The entire process of shedding takes about a month to complete. Other grooming needs include dental hygiene and nail care. Get your young LBD used to having his teeth and nails done early in life, and they will be easy to care for as they grow older. Dogs are touchy about their feet so getting them used to this procedure will also help at veterinarian visits. With this little character, if you can make grooming a positive fun experience, they will be much easier to handle later on. They have a lot of energy and need to have daily exercise and games to burn it off. This dog loves investigating everything, and is always busy. A leash is required when out on walks, as they are extremely fast and will chase anything that moves, disregarding your calls. 

Brushes for Schipperke
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Comb
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Schipperke Temperament

The Schipperke needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation. They are little busy bodies who need to vent their energy. If they get bored they can become destructive or bark excessively. They can be a bit wary of strangers, and need to be socialised a lot when young. By mixing with a wide variety of people and other animals when they are young, it will make them more outgoing and friendly, rather than reserved and difficult. This breed has a natural instinct to chase small animals, and be warned, they are very fast on their feet! For this reason, they cannot be trusted off the leash when walking. The LBD has an independent mind and can be a challenge to train, but needs to know who is boss. However, harsh methods will not work well and being that they are escape artists, they may leave home if treated wrong. They need to respect the owner – they need a strong pack leader. They make good friends for children, and love nothing more than being involved with family fun and games.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes

Schipperke Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
0.8 cups
Daily Cost
$0.8 - $1
Monthly Cost
$25 - $30

Schipperke Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 6 inches Weight: 8 lbs
Height: 6 inches Weight: 7 lbs
12 Months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 11 lbs
Height: 11 inches Weight: 10 lbs
18 Months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 14 lbs
Height: 11 inches Weight: 13 lbs

Top Schipperke Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Schipperke breeders of 2017.
Willow Schipperkes
Monterey, California
FullMoon Schipperkes
Ashford, Connecticut
Skydance Schipperkes
Anoka, Minnesota
Zephyr Schipperkes
Wakeman, Ohio
Kleingaul Schipperkes
Winlock, Washington
Minneka Schipperkes
Holt, Missouri
Kunic Ranch
San Miguel, California
Mardeck & Deloran Schipperkes
Cazenovia, New York

Schipperke Owner Experiences

Tai Wan On
12-14?
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walks
"Love fests"
More walks
VERY smart, learns easily but requires consistency and patience to achieve goals. A devoted companion, I got him accustomed to spending time in the car before traveling 2400 miles together to relocate. He was a stellar traveller and kept me company very well. He developed cherry-eyes about 7 years ago & lost most of his vision. He is amazingly adept for a blind animal and learns the layout of a new space very quickly. He is a rescue, is extremely food focused, and is a resource guarder who does best as the only dog in the household. He has never chased our cat. When he was young he was acrobatic at play with our other dog, spinning, jumping and flipping in a rapid blur of motion. HATES HATES HATES getting his nails clipped, requires restraint and often makes unearthly noises, yelling, wailing and crying like a tazmanian devil banshee alien convincing everyone in the waiting room that they are torturing him mercilessly, (our vet clinic has amazing and talented staff who are very humane, kind and gentle with him) during the process. In spite of painful arthritis, he loves going on walks still.
2 months, 2 weeks ago
Bear and Kodiak
11 Years
3 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I’ve had them all 11 yrs. they are brothers and very affectionate also jealousy is a problem. Bear is the boss and Kodiak knows this. I will never be without a Schipperke in my life. It’s the only dog for me. They have trained me well.
1 month ago
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!