The Schipperke is a very old Belgian dog breed that is often nicknamed the LBD (little black devil). They were also mistakenly called the Dutch dog, but this breed has no affiliation with the Netherlands. This breed most likely came to life as a result of planned breeding and downsizing an old Belgian sheepdog. The new breed that came to life was best known for their ratting ability and was mostly kept by Belgian tradesmen for that exact reason.
The modern-day Schipperke is a feisty, energetic, and alert companion dog that is always on the lookout for anything that might potentially hurt their family. They are great watchdogs that will alert you about anything suspicious that might be going on. They like having a patroling role in the family, especially if the household has a yard. They will protect that yard with their life from unsuspicious rats, mice, or even squirrels that might end up in their territory.
This small breed has a big dog personality and Schipperke owners describe them as being affectionate and loving with their family. They love children and have plenty of energy to play with them without getting tired. These dogs are naturally distrustful towards strangers. They are also known to mature fairly late and they keep their puppy-like behavior until they are 4 or 5.
10-13 in (25-33 cm)
10–16 lb (4,5–7 kg)
Belgium is a native land of Schipperke dogs. They earned their fame as shipboard exterminators. These dogs were also great and fearless watchdogs in city shops. First Schipperke was imported in the US in 1888 and the first club was formed in 1905.
Dog Breed Characteristics
- Group 1 Sheep and cattle dog (except Swiss cattle dogs). Section 1 Sheepdog. Without working trial.
- Weight: 10–16 lb (4,5–7 kg)
Coat and care
One of their best features is their rich, luscious, completely black coat. Their coat gives an impression it has been specially designed and many who encounter this breed for the first time think that owners are trimming their coat that way. The Schipperke coat is longer at their shoulders and gets shorter as it goes towards their hind legs. Their rich, double coat sheds heavily twice a year during the shedding season and at that time daily brushing is recommended. Brushing their teeth at least three times a week is recommended and trimming their nails when they grow too much.
This is a high-energy dog that requires daily activity to spend his energy. Schipperke will enjoy all the fun activities such as long walks, hiking, canine sports, or just playing with his owner. To make this dog happy, you will have to devote your time to playing sessions if you don't want him to develop behavior problems. In fact, they will become bored and destructive if they don't spend all their energy outside.
These dogs are fairly intelligent but can be pretty stubborn and some might find them difficult to train. They have a will to please their owners but they also like things to be done their way and sometimes their temperament gets the better of them. It is highly recommended to start training as soon as possible and to be consistent. In the beginning, you need to teach them that nothing will be done their way and you are the one who sets rules. The best results are achieved by using positive reinforcement methods as well as many dog treats, praises, and food. Harsh training methods may result in shyness or even aggressive and scared behavior. All lessons and training should be repeated throughout their life. The same goes for socialization, start as early as possible and expose your dog to different sights, sounds, situations, and people so your Schipperke will learn to adapt to any situation and react in a good and proper manner.
Schipperke are excellent family dogs that will get along with every family member including children. Take note that kids need to be taught how to properly play and interact with a dog so Schipperke can enjoy their company. If they are raised together from an early age they will be their playing parting and they will enjoy spending time together.
Schipperke does well in the household with other pets if they are raised together from the start. They are very territorial dogs and you might have problems if you decide to bring another animal later in your house.
Like any other dog breed, the Schipperke can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are:
- Epilepsy - Brain problem causing mild to severe seizures.
- Patellar luxation
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Legg-calve- Perthes disease
The Schipperke is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 12-14 years.
If this breed is a good fit for you and/or your family, make sure that you find a registered and reputable Schipperke breeder that can provide you with a great dog that will be physically and mentally healthy. Ask the breeder to show you the health certificates of his breeding dogs and if you can try and see what the puppy’s parents look like.
When you bring your new puppy home start with the training and socialization immediately. By doing so, you will end up with a well-behaved dog whom you can trust. Provide him with enough daily exercise for him to be happy. If you devote your time and energy to this dog, you can be sure that you will end up with a companion for life.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
World Dog Finder team