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.
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.
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.
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.