History and Origin: Good ratting dogs were essential in Europe after the Bubonic plague killed millions of people. In Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, champion ratters were the predecessor of the Schipperke which was bred in Belgium and descended from the now extinct Leauvenaar, also the forerunner of the Belgian Shepherd.( Groenendael) The herding types were larger and the breed was bred down in size so that it could be owned by the peasant population. Used initially as a farm dog to herd sheep and cattle, it eventually found its way onto boats and barges where rats were numerous and the breed excelled at reducing the rat numbers. The word Schipperke in Flemish means ‘Little Captain’. In its early history, the tail was removed from a scavenging dog and the trend continued.
General Appearance: Small, square, compact dog, tail docked or natural. Back is level but heavy furnishings around neck give appearance of shoulders being higher than rump. Prick ears, foxy face. Size: 12-18 pounds
Coat and Colour: Double coated. Outer coat is rather harsh and shiny and under coat is dense and thick, more so around the neck. Body coat is short, but decidedly thicker and longer around neck and over shoulders which makes the ruff stand up giving the sloping body appearance. Coat is longer between front legs and on rear. Always black. Coat is easy care with a regular brushing. They do shed.
Feeding: any good quality kibble fed once or twice daily.
Training and Obedience: The schipperke requires early teaching to maintain boundaries. Naturally curious and alert so may be challenging to establish training focus. Independent and enthusiastic and will do well in many dog sports including obedience, rally, agility, barn hunt and scent detection provided he is trained patiently and persistently. Equally comfortable in apartment or large home.
Activity: The schipperke is a busy little dog, always on the move and always ready to play. Agile and sturdy. He will require daily walks and always on leash. He has plenty of energy to engage with kids and other pets. The Breed is a natural watchdog and may have a tendency to compulsive barking.
Temperament: A joyous playful breed that is loyal and loving. Affectionate and good with kids and other pets. May be wary of strangers. Great family companion.