11-15 lbs

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 Purpose
barge dog, watchdog,
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry

Schipperke Health

Sketch of Schipperke
Average Size
Male Schipperke size stats
Height: 11-13 inches Weight: 12-16 lbs
Female Schipperke size stats
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 Schipperke eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Schipperke nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Schipperke coat
cream Schipperke coat
brown Schipperke coat
blue Schipperke coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Schipperke straight 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
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Schipperke requires weekly brushing
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 activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes
activity minutes

Schipperke Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
0.8 cups
Daily Cost
$0.80 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$25.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Schipperke Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Schipperke at six months
Male Schipperke size stats at six months
Height: 6.5 inches Weight: 8.0 lbs
Female Schipperke size stats at six months
Height: 6.0 inches Weight: 7.5 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Schipperke at 12 months
Male Schipperke size stats at 12 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 11.0 lbs
Female Schipperke size stats at 12 months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 10.5 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Schipperke at 18 months
Male Schipperke size stats at 18 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 14.0 lbs
Female Schipperke size stats at 18 months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 13.0 lbs

Top Schipperke Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Schipperke breeders of 2023.
Top Schipperke breeder Willow Schipperkes
Willow Schipperkes
Monterey, California
Top Schipperke breeder FullMoon Schipperkes
FullMoon Schipperkes
Ashford, Connecticut
Top Schipperke breeder Skydance Schipperkes
Skydance Schipperkes
Anoka, Minnesota
Top Schipperke breeder Zephyr Schipperkes
Zephyr Schipperkes
Wakeman, Ohio
Top Schipperke breeder Mardeck & Deloran Schipperkes
Mardeck & Deloran Schipperkes
Cazenovia, New York
Top Schipperke breeder Kleingaul Schipperkes
Kleingaul Schipperkes
Winlock, Washington
Top Schipperke breeder Minneka Schipperkes
Minneka Schipperkes
Holt, Missouri
Top Schipperke breeder Kunic Ranch
Kunic Ranch
San Miguel, California

Schipperke Owner Experiences

Tai Wan On
2 People
"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.
6 years, 2 months ago
Bear and Kodiak
11 Years
3 People
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.
6 years, 1 month ago
4 Years
3 People
House & Yard
chewing on pigs ear
weve had good exepirences like long car trips together
5 years, 7 months ago
16 Years
6 People
Playing in the snow
A little aggressive towards other dogs and strangers, but very loving to her family.
3 years, 6 months ago
1 Year
4 People
Agility training
She is very loving to her own family, but she is a different personality when we have guests over. She is very barky, so we are still training on that.
3 years ago
5 Years
5 People
House & Yard
He is very protective. He get along very well with cars. He loves children. Super friendly.
2 years, 7 months ago
4 Years
2 People
House & Yard
I’d agree they’re a very adaptable breed. I’m not always mobile but she seems to know when I’m struggling and she’s very calm. Your assessment of the breed is very accurate with a few traits I don’t see with Bear. She’s never been destructive and I’m surprised by how little she barks, she’s a verified pure breed. She’s much heavier than what you say she should be, she’s always been around 35-38lbs as an adult. Her chest does look a little fatty, she’s been eating more like 2 cups a day, I’ll see if I can get her down to what you recommend. I’ve owned several breeds of dogs, I love the Schipperke. She’s very protective at the appropriate time, seems very intuitive and intelligent. My kids are young adults but when she’s around younger kids, she’s playful with them. Unfortunately I can’t walk her every day but her energy is tempered and adaptable, another example of her intuitiveness and intelligence. She kind of listens to commands, if she knows she’ll be rewarded. Bear likes to make her own decisions or she has to think something was her idea. She’s very independent, kennel trained easily and trained with dog door in like an hour, very intelligent.
2 years, 6 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd