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Schipperke

Personality:Alert, curious, confident; intense, but with a dash of mischief and impudence

Coat & Grooming:The abundant double coat is usually a moderate shedder, but Schips will drop their full undercoat twice a year

Energy Level:Very Active; Energetic, busy little dogs, Schips love walking, playing, and exploring

Originally: Belgium

Nicknames: Schip; Schippie; The Little Captain

Size: Small

Meet the Schipperke

​Standing no higher than 13 inches, Schipperkes are small dogs built for hard work. Schips were created as ratters and watchdogs. Their powerful jaws, necks, and forequarters—coupled with a stealthy, catlike hunting style—make them ideal rat-catching machines. The black coat is profuse around the neck, shoulders, and legs, giving the breed a silhouette that accentuates a thick, substantial body. The foxy face completes the unique look of a unique breed. If you can’t tell a Schipperke from an ordinary dog, you simply haven’t been paying attention.

What's Their Story?

​Late medieval Belgium was the birthplace of the Schipperke (correctly pronounced “SHEEP-er-ker,” though many American owners say “SKIP-er-kee”). The breed earned its fame as shipboard exterminators on the canals that crisscrossed the Low Countries. The little black avenger of the Belgian dockyards was also a fearless watchdog on barges and in city shops. It was among the sailors and shopkeepers of Brussels and Antwerp that these quick, agile dogs earned the nickname “schipperke,” Flemish for “little captain.”

What are they Like?

​Today’s companion-bred Schipperkes are a bit mellower than their European forbears, but they still exhibit the age-old alertness, confidence, and cleverness. Schips also retain the ratting skills and sharp watchdog instincts prized by frugal Belgians looking for a great two-in-one dog. As a watchdog, they’re naturally wary around strangers. This is not to say that Schips are all work and no play: Their mischievousness and independent spirit make them endearing comedians. Schipperkes are robustly healthy, long-lived pets for whom there’s never a dull moment.

See more Schipperke photos here

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