The [[breed]]:

The Little Black Devil

Known as the "Little Black Devil," the Schipperke is a small, energetic breed with a mischievous streak. Originating from Belgium, they were once used as watchdogs and ratters on barges but are now cherished for their spirited personality and loyalty. Despite their size, they are fearless and make excellent watchdogs.

Quick facts


Small - Under 20lbs

Energy Level

High - Require over 60 mins intense exercise per day, very energetic


Long - Over 12 years


Active - High energy, requires vigorous exercise

Watchdog Ability

Excellent - Very alert, tends to bark

Training Difficulty

Moderate - May be stubborn or distracted at times, needs motivation

Overall Health

Robust - Usually healthy, few issues


Cautious - May take time to warm up, but usually fine after introduction


Moderate - May be impatient with children

Climate Tolerance

Moderate - Comfortable in most climates

Apartment Friendly

Yes - Can thrive in apartments

Coat Length

Medium - Fur length between 1-3 inches

Grooming Needs

Moderate - Needs brushing several times per week

Grooming Cost

Moderate - May require occasional professional grooming, moderate expense

Shedding Level

Moderate - Average shedding

Exercise and Activity

Schipperkes require daily exercise to manage their high energy levels. Activities such as brisk walks, play sessions in a secure area, and participation in dog sports like agility and obedience are ideal. They also enjoy interactive games that challenge their intelligence, such as hide-and-seek and puzzle toys. Consistent training and socialization are essential to harness their energy positively and prevent boredom-related behaviors.

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The Schipperke, a small and spirited dog breed, has captured the hearts of many with its unique characteristics and fascinating history. Originating from Belgium, these compact canines boast a distinctive appearance, marked by their dense double coat and a distinctive ruff around the neck. Despite their relatively small size, Schipperkes are known for their robust energy levels, making them suitable for a variety of activities. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of the Schipperke breed, exploring their characteristics, history, grooming needs, training requirements, and even popular names.


Country of Origin

The Schipperke hails from Belgium, where it was initially developed as a versatile working dog in the 17th century. The breed's name is derived from the Flemish word "schip," meaning boat, reflecting its historical association with canal boats and barges.

Genealogical Tree

The genealogical tree of the Schipperke is rooted in its working-class origins. Initially employed as a ratter on canal boats, the breed's ancestors were likely small black dogs used to control vermin. Over time, selective breeding refined the breed's characteristics, leading to the development of the modern Schipperke.

Purpose of Breeding

The Schipperke's original purpose was as a companion and watchdog on Belgian canal boats. Their small size, combined with their fearlessness and agility, made them adept at hunting rats and alerting their owners to potential dangers. As the role of canal boats evolved, so did the Schipperke's purpose, transforming them into cherished household companions.


Unlike some other breeds developed for specific roles, the Schipperke is not easily classified into a single type. Originally bred for ratting and guarding on boats, they have transitioned into the category of companion dogs. Their versatility and adaptability have contributed to their continued popularity in various roles.



Schipperkes are intelligent dogs, but their independent nature can make training challenging. Consistency and positive reinforcement methods are key to successfully training a Schipperke. Early socialization is crucial to help them develop good manners and prevent behavioral issues.

Type of Training

Positive reinforcement training, utilizing treats, praise, and play, is highly effective with Schipperkes. Harsh training methods or punishment can lead to resistance and stubbornness. Patience and a firm yet gentle approach are essential for a successful training experience.


Schipperkes are adaptable dogs, capable of thriving in various living environments. Whether in a city apartment or a suburban home with a yard, they can adjust, provided their energy needs are met. Their adaptability extends to different family structures, making them suitable for singles, couples, or families with children.


Early socialization is critical for Schipperkes to ensure they grow into well-behaved and well-adjusted adults. Exposing them to various people, environments, and situations helps reduce potential anxiety or aloofness towards strangers. Positive interactions during their formative weeks contribute to a more sociable and confident adult dog.

Security Level

Schipperkes possess a natural protective instinct, making them effective watchdogs. Their alertness and vocal nature mean they will often announce the presence of strangers or unusual sounds. While they may not be large guard dogs, their presence alone can act as a deterrent.

Barking Level

Schipperkes are known for their vocal nature, and they may bark to alert their owners of perceived threats. While this makes them excellent watchdogs, it's important to provide training to manage excessive barking. Teaching them commands to cease barking on command can help strike a balance.

Mental Stimulation

Schipperkes thrive on mental stimulation. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and obedience training sessions provide both mental and physical exercise. Boredom can lead to undesirable behaviors, so engaging their sharp minds is crucial for a happy and well-behaved Schipperke.

Chance of Being a Guard Dog

While not large in size, the Schipperke's natural protective instincts and vocal nature make them effective watchdogs. Their keen awareness of their surroundings and loyalty to their family mean they will readily alert their owners to any perceived threats.


Size and Weight

The Schipperke is a small to medium-sized dog, with males typically standing between 10-13 inches at the shoulder and females slightly smaller. Their weight ranges from 10 to 16 pounds, showcasing a compact build that is both agile and sturdy. This size is advantageous for their historical role as boat companions, where they excelled at ratting and providing companionship to sailors.


Schipperkes generally have a lifespan of 12 to 16 years, which is relatively long for a smaller breed. This longevity is often attributed to their robust health and vitality, provided they receive proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups.


One of the most distinctive features of the Schipperke is its dense double coat, which consists of a soft, fluffy undercoat and a longer, harsh outer coat. The coat forms a distinctive mane or ruff around the neck, enhancing their regal appearance. This unique coat serves as protection against the elements and adds to the breed's overall charm.

Shedding Level

While Schipperkes are not considered heavy shedders, they do experience moderate shedding. Regular grooming, particularly during seasonal changes, helps to manage loose hair and maintain the health of their coat. The double coat requires special attention, and a consistent grooming routine can keep shedding in check.

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

Schipperkes are recognized by major kennel clubs worldwide, including the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). This recognition attests to the breed's adherence to established standards and its presence in the pedigreed dog community.


Schipperkes have enjoyed enduring popularity, both as working dogs and cherished companions. Their adaptability to various living environments, coupled with their playful nature, has contributed to their appeal among dog enthusiasts. Despite their relatively smaller size, Schipperkes are known for their big personalities.

Energy Level

Schipperkes are renowned for their high energy levels. Originally bred as boat dogs, they possess agility and endurance, making them well-suited for various physical activities. Prospective owners should be prepared to engage in regular exercise routines to keep these spirited dogs both physically and mentally stimulated.

Suitable Activities

To cater to their energetic disposition, Schipperkes thrive in activities that challenge them mentally and physically. Interactive games, obedience training, and agility exercises are excellent choices to channel their energy constructively. Outdoor adventures such as hiking or fetching games can also be enjoyable for both the owner and the dog.


With Kids:

Schipperkes are generally friendly with children, but like any dog, proper socialization from an early age is crucial. Their playful and alert nature can make them great companions for active families. However, it's essential to teach children how to interact respectfully with the dog and supervise their interactions to ensure a harmonious relationship.

With Strangers:

While Schipperkes are known for their loyalty to their family, they may be reserved or aloof with strangers. Early socialization is key to helping them develop good manners and a more accepting attitude towards unfamiliar faces. Proper introductions can help alleviate any apprehension they may feel.

With Other Pets:

Schipperkes can coexist with other pets, particularly if they are raised together. Their territorial instincts, however, may lead to conflicts with other animals, especially those of the same sex. Supervised introductions and consistent training can foster a peaceful relationship between a Schipperke and other household pets.


The Schipperke's temperament is characterized by a mix of independence, curiosity, and boldness. As a breed known for its intelligence, they may display a level of stubbornness, making early and consistent training essential. Their alert nature also makes them excellent watchdogs, ready to announce the presence of any intruders.


Schipperkes are naturally playful and enjoy interactive games. Their agility and quick reflexes make them adept at activities like fetch or agility courses. Incorporating playtime into their daily routine not only provides physical exercise but also strengthens the bond between the dog and its owner.

Drooling Level

One of the perks of having a Schipperke as a companion is their low drooling level. Unlike some larger breeds, Schipperkes are not prone to excessive drooling, making them a cleaner choice for those who prefer a tidier living space.

Grooming Needs and Costs

Grooming Requirements

Maintaining a Schipperke's coat involves regular brushing, ideally a few times a week. This helps remove loose hair and prevents matting. The distinctive ruff around their neck requires special attention, as it can easily become tangled. Bathing should be done as needed, and routine care such as nail trimming, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning is essential for overall hygiene.


The costs associated with grooming a Schipperke include grooming tools, such as brushes and combs suitable for their double coat. Additionally, owners may choose professional grooming services for tasks like nail trimming and specialized coat care. While these costs can vary, they are a necessary investment in the well-being and appearance of the Schipperke.

Most Popular Names

Choosing the right name for a Schipperke can be a delightful task. Some popular names for these spirited companions include Max, Bella, Luna, Oliver, Charlie, Daisy, Milo, and Sophie. Owners often select names that reflect the dog's personality, appearance, or characteristics, adding a personal touch to their furry friend's identity.


The Schipperke is a captivating breed that combines a unique appearance with a rich history and versatile characteristics. From their origins as boat dogs in Belgium to their role as cherished companions, Schipperkes have proven to be adaptable, loyal, and spirited. Understanding their size, energy levels, grooming needs, and training requirements is essential for prospective owners to provide a happy and fulfilling life for these intelligent and lively companions. With the right care, training, and affection, the Schipperke can make a wonderful addition to a variety of households, bringing joy and a touch of regality to those lucky enough to share their lives with these remarkable dogs.





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