Dog Articles - Schipperke


Today, for my Wednesday Breed Bio I’m writing about the schipperke. One of my best friends is a schipperke named William Blake (we call him Blake). If there’s a breed you would like to read about, feel free to contact me in our forums and let me know!

Schipperkes are small dog in the non-sporting group. They have the face of a fox with the same pointy ears and narrow, “beaklike” snout. Males stand between 11-13 inches at the shoulders, and females between 10-to 12 inches.

Coat and Grooming
They have thick black coats consisting of a soft and fluffy undercoat and a stiffer, harsher and somewhat sharp outer coat. This breed, especially the males, has a bushier ruff around the neck that extends part-way down the back. They also have bushier fur on the back of the back legs called culottes. They blow their coat once or twice a year, which amounts to massive shedding and “schipperke tumbleweeds” around the house. They should be brushed regularly. Also, schipperkes have a water-resistant coat; the oils that cause this quality have a distinct smell and thus schips should be bathed regularly.

Schipperkes tend to be in excellent health and are known to live to the old age of 17 or 18. The longest-living schipperke lived 28 years. They are believed by many to be the breed with the longest lifespan. There is one fatal and debilitating genetic disease which schipperke breeders are attempting to eliminate from the population called MPS IIIB. At the very most, this genetic mutation occurs in 15% of the schipperke population. Schipperkes are predisposed to obesity, so their food intake should be monitored carefully and they should not be free-fed.

Schipperkes make excellent watchdogs and are reserved and often protective when around strangers. This breed tends to chose one person in the family to whom they will grow particularly attached. They are tenacious hunters and were originally used as ratters on barges; thus they make excellent boating companions and live aboard well. Schipperkes are extremely curious, leading to the oft-heard expression, “having a schipperke is less like having a pet and more like having a nosey roommate.” Schips are often described as “catlike” in their disposition. They are very clean and are often seen grooming themselves. Like cats, a schipperke will tell you when he wants attention, and will snub you when he isn’t in the mood. Schips are highly intelligent and are excellent problem-solvers.

Exercise Needs
Schipperkes make excellent apartment dogs as they are small enough to get plenty of exercise indoors. They do, however, greatly enjoy the chance to run free, and are extremely fast, as any schip owner will find the first time their schipperke slips past them at the front door. A long, brisk, daily walk provides sufficient exercise for this breed. Mental stimulation is extremely important and schips should be provided various interactive toys to prevent their going in search of mischief.

Fun Facts
-The schipperke originated in the 16th century
-Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were fans of the schipperke and owned several of the breed.
-The schipperke is featured in Beatrix Potter’s book The Pie and the Patty Pan.
-“Schipperke” comes from the Flemish word meaning “little captain.”
- Schipperkes are tenacious hunters and were originally used as ratters on barges; thus they make excellent boating companions and live aboard well.
-Though many schipperkes’ tails are docked shortly after birth, many are born without tails as well.

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