Schipperke – the little boatman!

Narrated from: Dog Breeds

Have you heard the exotic name Schipperke? Sounds a little wild, like a Dingo or something. Don’t be fooled though – Schipperkes are in fact very beautiful, elegant dogs from good old Belgium!

The breed is relatively new, at least as far as dog ancestry goes – official recognition came in the 1880s. However, the bloodline of the Schipperke is a rather ancient one, and they are close relatives with the Spitz, Samoyed, American Inuit dogs, and other notable dog breeds.


Schipperke dogs are rather small, and a pair of pointed ears and a sharp muzzle give them a fox-like appearance. Schipperkes boast of a double coat that is almost always in a stylish black color. Another distinctive feature is the long ruff around the neck, much like a Japanese Spitz’s.


Schipperkes are hard to manage, because they are very active, inquisitive dogs. If you buy a Schipperke, you are buying a perpetuum mobile moved entirely by curiosity! However, properly trained Schipperkes are very good with the family (including other pets), and their initial distrust towards strangers makes them excellent watchdogs.

The dog’s prey drive may be a problem if you keep small pets in the house. Schipperkes find it hard to resist chasing small animals – and what Schipperkes chase, Schipperkes catch!

What’s with the name?

Schipperkes are descendants of the black Belgian sheep dog – it is presumed that the name is a form of the word Scheperke, meaning “little shepherd”. However, for English-speakers it is much easier to see the connection of Schipperkes with boats – it is presumed that the name means “little boatman”. Schipperkes were often used as barge guard dogs in Belgium – hence the name!

Needless to say, Schipperkes are able sailors, and one of the dog breeds that are best suited to keep you company while boating.

Verdict: do they make good pets?

Any dog makes a good pet if chosen wisely and handled correctly.

The main drawback of Schipperkes is that they are hard to manage – these dogs require a lot of grooming, and vigorous exercise. A bored Schipperke is bound to cause trouble, and they are also famous escape artists, so you will need to secure the yard.

Schipperkes can also be a little noisy, because they are quick to bark at strangers – this is rather a nuisance in an apartment!

However, Schipperkes are loving, loyal companions. They are very good family dogs, and pose no threat to children, or other pets. A Schipperke can cheer up the entire household with its high-spirited, inquisitive character – and the sleek black coat turns these dogs into perfect photo models!

All to all, if they suit your character and lifestyle, Schipperkes are one of the best pets in the world!



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