By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 17th March 2023



Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 17th March 2023

The Schipperke is a breed of old Belgian dogs that are small in size. Its slightly rounded face narrowed towards its comparatively short muzzle reminds of a fox. They have small, oval eyes, erect and triangular ears. They have somewhat a square-shaped body with a wide chest.
At times, the puppies are born with no tail, or else, in many cases, the tails are docked if it is not illegal in the country the specimens hail from. There has been debate for long whether the Schipperke is a spitz or miniature sheepdog. However, in its native land, it is considered as a small shepherd dog. This obstinate breed of dogs mostly come in solid black.

Schipperke Pictures

Quick Information/Description

NicknamesSpitske, Spitzke, Spits (all names used before 1888)
CoatDouble, dense, silky, thick, long
ColorsBlack, black and tan, apricot, blue, brown, white/cream
TypeNon-sporting dog, watchdog
Lifespan13 to 15 years
Weight12-16 pounds
Height (size)Small to Medium; 11-13 inches
Litter size3-7 puppies
TemperamentAggressive, alert, energetic, friendly, independent
Good with ChildrenYes
Good with other PetsYes
Country of OriginBelgium

Schipperke Puppy Playing with Adult Shiba Inu:


The Schipperke was developed to be a small watchdog mostly for guarding the boats that used to travel between the canals of Brussels and Antwerp. This breed is believed to have been descended from a black sheepdog named Leauvenaar.

In 1885, after Queen Marie Henriette saw a Schipperke at a Brussels dog show, these dogs became a fashionable pet. The breed gained prominence and was soon imported to the USA in 1888.

These dogs were originally known as the Spitske or Spits, and got their current name ‘Schipperke’ after a club dedicatedly for this breed was formed in 1888. Although, the first US specialty club for the dog was formed in 1905. Finally, in 1929, the official breed club for this dog named the ‘Schipperke Club of America’ was founded.

Temperament and Behavior

The Schipperke is characterized by mischief, agility, and curiosity. They would express their curiosity at everything going around them in the family. This dog is constantly busy and is on the move. They are tireless, and would seldom walk if they have the scope to run. Schipperkes are good dogs for apartment life provided they have ample space to run around and exercise.

It has a headstrong disposition and has a high prey drive. It would chase at anything moving, especially targeting the rodents and small animals. These formidable barkers can at any time become aggressive by its whims and might turn up against other dogs. They would be friends with family pets, especially cats, especially if they are brought up together.

This dog is extremely smart and intelligent but stubborn. So much so that it would often try to disobey or challenge its owner’s commands or instructions. Hence, they are not really meant for the first time dog owners. However, they can make a strong bond with their family members whom they select to offer their love, since these are dogs that are selective in making friendship with human companions.



They are extremely energetic and active and needs lots of exercises. Take it out for long and brisk walking and jogging sessions. Allow them to play in a fenced-in yard or take them to a park where it has ample scope to run around. But keep an eye on its activities. Advisably, regular exercise is a must for this breed in order to keep them balanced mentally.


The dog is clean by nature and would keep cleaning itself. But to ensure the gloss and health of its dense fur, comb it regularly with a firm-bristled brush. Also, dry shampoo them whenever you feel the need.

Health Problems

There are no breed specific health problems in the Schipperke. However, because of their flippant, active nature, they tend to develop a few general diseases like other dogs of the same size and energy levels. Hip dysplasia is one of them. Also, their hip sockets tend to slip. Other general diseases that can be a problem include hypothyroid, epilepsy, leg calves perthes, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and a recently-discovered disease named MPS 111B (Mucopolysaccharidosis).


Take special care to train your dog when it is still a puppy. Socialization and obedience training are the most important for this dog. Take it to pet parks where it can meet other dogs and animals/pets. Ask your friends to visit you so that your puppy gets comfortable with strangers and new faces.

You can also seek the help from professional obedience trainers or doggie kindergartens. But be sure to take the lead when you go out for a walk/jog, which should ensure the dog-master relation and resolve probable pack-leader issues. Take a strong hand in training your dog, but be sure to follow the gentle way.


Offer your Schipperke a well-balanced, highly-nutritious diet with high-calorie level and protein. But make sure, you do not overfeed this breed. If your plan for a dry kibble diet, be sure you opt for that brand which is meant for dogs of such levels of energy and the same size.

1 1/8th to 1 7/8th cups of a high-quality dog food per day, which should be divided into two equal meals. If you want to feed your dog with foods of your choice, insist on a raw meat diet.

The levels of activities, nature, characteristics of this dog vary. You can always also consult your vet or a dietician to plan a good diet chart, depending up the nature of your own schipperke.

Interesting Facts

  • In its breed standards, the American Kennel Club only accepts the color black for this dog, which is the commonest coat color of the Schipperke.
  • These females of this breed shed as often as 3 times a year. However, the males and the spayed females shed less number of times.
  • In the dog’s native land, the word Schipperke meant the “little shepherd” or the “little captain”.

4 responses to “Schipperke”

  1. Kelley says:

    Hi, we just got our 1st full breed schipperke. He is almost 4 months old. He loves to play and seems pretty normal all around except he has my hands chewed up. He play bites so very hard and sometimes the more I try to calm him down, the more aggressive he gets. Any suggestions? I feel kind of worried.

  2. Melony says:

    I bought a puppy just like the Schipperke. Had a DNA done when we got him home. DNA says he”s 100% pomeranian..???

  3. Sheryl Tennison Cooper says:

    I just recently have gotten a dog that resembles the Schipperke in all manners but she has big droopy ears like a lab. Were they supposed to be cropped or will she grow into them or what?! She is weaned and eats dog food and somewhat potty trained. I will be taking her to the vet soon to get her checked up but don’t know what kind of dog she is. Any thoughts?!

  4. Cytherea says:

    Appollo ( my schipperke) and I have enjoyed your videos. I was wondering how I could share a video of him playing in the snow? Thanks for the information on Schipperke’s.

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