Schipperke: Facts and Personality Traits

The Schipperke belongs to the FCI Group 1 of herding and cattle dogs and has its origins in Belgium, where it is also regarded today as a national breed. He most likely got his modern name ‘Schipperke’ from his work as a watchdog and pied piper on the Flemish barges, as the word ‘Schipperke’ means ‘little boatswain’ or ‘little captain’.

Factsheet Schipperke

However, other experts believe that the name derives from the word “Scheperke”, the Flemish term for a small sheepdog. An ideal or minimum size prescribed by the breed standard is not provided for the Schipperke, but the weight of the dog should be between 5.5 and 7.5 kg.

Coat colors Schipperke

It has a hard, straight coat with a delicate undercoat and a thick topcoat. In addition, the standard requires that the hair stands up and forms a mane (“ruff”) on the neck and over the chest, has a coat (“cape”) on the shoulders, has stripes on the chest (“jabot”) and trousers on the hind legs ( “culotte”) shows.

No products found. Although the FCI allows for a solid color of the coat, chocolate brown, wolf gray, or cream, the desired color is black. In the United States, only black is permitted. The coat requires very little care. In the past, the tail was usually docked, which fortunately is forbidden in Germany today.

History and Origin

A legend has been formed according to which, in 1609, a Belgian shoemaker was so annoyed by the constant thefts of a neighborhood dog that one day he caught the culprit and chopped off his tail. It was felt that the dog looked so much prettier and the tails of other dogs were removed as a result. The Schipperke is first mentioned in writing in the chronicle of the monk Wencelas from the 15th century.

Some experts believe that he is descended from an old Belgian Shepherd breed and is a miniature version of these dogs. Others believe that the Schipperke is a mix between a terrier and a spitz known in England as the “Pomeranian”.

It is very likely that the breed originated from the descendants of northern Spitz breeds that had already reached the coast of Flanders with the Vikings. This assumption is supported by the fact that the family tree of the shepherd dogs can also be traced back to the Spitz. In Holland, where you will probably find your real homeland, it has been known as a separate breed for centuries. A large number of old Flemish paintings, which preferably portrayed rural life, show Schipperke.

The Schipperke was also kept on a large number of barges, keeping the ship free of rats and mice and guarding it against unwanted intruders. During the 17th century, the Schipperke was extremely popular not only with canal boatmen but also with traders and craftsmen.

At the time, it was customary for craftsmen to walk around town every second Sunday, accompanied by their little dogs with stubby tails. In order to demonstrate their wealth to the public, the craftsmen decorated their dogs with costly wide brass collars.

In 1690, the Guild craftsmen held the first special exhibition for Schipperkes, where the most beautiful collar was awarded. What is certain is that the first show for single breeds was held with the Schipperke and also the custom of having dog shows generally take place on Sundays may be due to the Sunday dog ​​walks of the Belgian craftsmen.

The Schipperke became known to the general public in the 19th century through a shipowner named Russians. He used Schipperkes as watchdogs on all his ships that sailed the canal between Antwerp and Brussels.

Since these small dogs were very sharp guards, but at the same time, they took up little space and food, their popularity among Belgians steadily increased. When Marie Henriette, the wife of the Belgian King Leopold II, bought a Schipperke in 1885 that had just won at a show, the excellent reputation of these dogs was further consolidated and they also became more and more popular as house dogs.

At the end of the 19th century, the first specimens came to England and the USA, and the “Schipperke Club of America” was founded there in 1929. Although mostly kept as a pet today, many sailors still use the services of this extremely alert yet very friendly dog.

Character and Essence

Sometimes, however, it can happen that he becomes too attentive and immediately reacts violently to every movement and every noise. Sometimes they are also used by their owners to hunt small game, their good reputation as mice and pied catchers precedes them.

The Schipperke is a small, lively dog ​​with a friendly and loyal nature. He is curious and attentive by nature, but always very patient with small children. This, coupled with his robust health, makes him an excellent house and family dog. Although he is full of temperament, he can be kept very well in a smaller apartment.

He is also an excellent guard dog, fiercely defending and barking his territory without seriously endangering another human. Accordingly, he is very suspicious of strangers and sometimes even unfriendly. However, he is also very docile, so this bad habit can certainly be driven out of him.

His small, athletic body and his innate intelligence usually make him look very good in obedience tests. He always closes in with his respective people, and he also likes being around horses very much. You can also see when a Schipperke is upset about something because then his thick mane stands up straight.

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