Breed History
Schipperke socializing

Schipperke is a small and straight ear dog with big round eyes. Strong energy serves this working dog well and they use that energy to help their owners over the years when given a job to do.

They come from Belgium and resemble a black sheep dog ancestor from the region. Although they came from a sheep dog, they were bred to do a different job.

Their name Schipperke comes from the nickname “little captain” in their native land. They also went by Spitz and that is another name that is a description that means little dog with straight ears.

Ratters are one of the jobs this dog was excellent at accomplishing. Many rats wouldn’t make it due to the drive, passion, and determination of this dog to get every rat possible.

Watchdogs by nature who are aggressive for a small dog when protecting their territory. Being a smart and active dog, they will be able to work any job you give them.

19th century popularity saw an explosion because of the Queen Henriette. She was the wife of King Leopold II and they had a Schipperke making everyone favor this breed.


In 1904, this was the year that the Schipperke received their recognition from the American Kennel Club. They have been in the country since the 1800’s as an import from their homeland.

Rank close to the top 100 most popular dogs in the country. They are still trailing behind some of the most popular dogs but are in the top 50 percentile.

Non-Sporting Dog, or Sheep Dog, are the categories that they place this breed.

Here are the major Kennel Clubs and breed standards from each of them.


Male Height: 11-13 inches

Female Height: 10-12 inches

Male Weight: 10-16 pounds

Female Weight: 10-16 pounds

One of the smaller breeds where you see most of the males and females are the same size.

Litter Size

Average litter size is 5 puppies and there are no known birth issues that the mother will have. Breeders should be aware and prepared to take on these many puppies for eight to twelve weeks until sold.


  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Fawn
  • Red
  • White
  • Markings – White

Any outer coat color other than black is not acceptable. Undercoat colors varies at the same time. Only solid colors are acceptable as well.


$1,000-$3,000 is the price of this dog and the prices vary depending on a variety of factors. Location, supply, demand, and bloodlines can all cause the prices to change at any moment.

Papers will ensure a higher quality puppy with the bloodline of the dog having documentation showing different Kennel clubs and countries up until your purchase.

Without papers there will be no process to ensure both the mother and father are a part of a serious bloodline from a Kennel Club. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for one of these dogs without papers.


This dog has a double coat and like all dogs with a double coat you have worry about shedding seasons that happens twice per year. Other times the shedding is moderate and not overbearing all year.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing the dog should happen once a week at a minimum. Buying the correct brush will help you with getting pass the outer coat so that you can brush the undercoat.

Combing is something you should consider doing at least once per week along with brushing. These two activities will be the most time-consuming, but most important for a healthy coat.

Bathe the dog in one or two ways as you see fit. One way is to do it on a schedule and the other is to do it when you think the dog is dirty and needs one. Either way is fine.

Ears should get attention once a month to remove any dirt build up. Preventing costly vet bills for something as preventable as not cleaning the ears should be something to consider.

Nails can be trimmed by exercising the dog daily. When the paws hit the pavement, they will naturally shorten in length. When the dog doesn’t receive daily exercise, which we don’t recommend, you will need to cut them with clippers.

Professional help is a recommendation for the average dog owners. You should bring them at least quarterly to see a professional while maintaining them on your own the other times.

Life Span

12-14 years is the average lifespan for a Schipperke. They live a long time for a time and owners should be aware of the life of the dog. Adopters will find this dog more attractive as an older dog because of the long time they live.

Health Issues

Patella Luxation – Kneecaps are an issue for small dogs and the Schipperke has the same issues. Getting an evaluation at 24 months will help in discovery any issues that haven’t come up. Once the dog starts limping during normal exercise you will need to take them to the vet immediately to get x-rays.

Thyroid – there are some dogs that have an issue with the Thyroid. You will need to get tests done after two years and every year after until the dog is seven according to their health statement from their Kennel Club. Massive hair loss, increase in appetite, and increasing weight are clear signs that the dog is having a Thyroid problem.

Eye Examination – many eye problems can arise over the life of the dog. A specialist should do this exam to make sure their qualifications will give you the best chance to find any eye problems. Although some eye issues aren’t serious others will lead to partial blindness. Complete blindness is always on the table with some of the problems.  

Breed Group

Proud members of the Non-Sporting Group. The dogs in this breed group are thrown together and it is truly a miscellaneous list of dogs. No common indicators connect one dog to another. These dogs are different in jobs done, hunting ability, physical attributes, etc.

Here are some of the dogs in this group

Exercise Needs

Schipperke are active dogs and need daily exercise. Many people have no idea how to find out how much exercise the Schipperke needs. Let me explain how easy it is to figure out. Remember, knowing how much is easy, but giving the exercise is harder to accomplish.

Behavior is a perfect indicator into how much boredom your dog is attempting to save himself from. When a dog is behaving in an undesirable manner that is a clear indication that you need to increase exercise.

Excessively barking, jumping, over excitement, digging, chewing up shoes, nipping, biting and many more behaviors you wish they would stop. Begin to increase the exercise when these problems start to become visible.

Once you get a strong handle on them needing one or two hours a day of exercise you need to look at the behavior again. You will notice at this point that the bad behavior has gone away and the good behavior increases.

Here is a basic recommendation for an exercise program.

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 minutes (run, walk or treadmill)

Younger dogs need a lot of exercise and need to run more often than at any point in their lives. Needing to get some intense exercise sessions three to four times a week will result in the best behavior. Walking will have a better effect later in the dog’s life.

Adult dogs need a solid mix of walks and runs to compensate for the lower energy levels they have at the maturing stage in their life.

Lastly, senior dogs need close to no runs and almost all walks and that will be all the exercise they need. Walking around the block should have them sleeping all day long.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Exercising should be the first and last thing you think about when it comes to the most time-consuming activity you will do with your dog. Building a strong bond and establishing leadership while having your dog listen to you for 2 hours per day. Additionally, behavior problems will melt away quickly and stay away. Nothing gives you more bang for your buck than a strong exercise program. Walking and running the dog should be daily and will create a solid foundation. Doing this alone and you will have the best dog in the neighborhood.

Commands are popular because they are easy to teach and easy for the dog to learn. People mistake commands for the dog behaving in the proper fashion. Teaching a Schipperke commands will be easy because they are eager to learn and full of energy. Repetition of the same commands will be all this breed needs.

Socialize the dog at the park, dog park, and other high population areas around the city that allows dogs. The more time around dogs the better the dog is going to be. Combine this with exercise and you will have a calm dog mentally and physically that is ready to sniff and meet others.

Correcting the dog cannot happen without the dog owner understanding the timing. When you figure out that a corrections timing really feels like prevention, or before something happens, the better you will correct with less force. Only time you need to physically touch the dog is when they are zoned out.

Are Schipperke Good Family Dogs?

Family, kids, and other dogs is a great spot for this dog. The only thing this dog needs is a great owner. Sadly, many owners will cut corners and not exercise this dog and bad behavior will be bad around the family.

Following the advice in this article about exercise and training will make the dog settle into the family perfectly. Many people must figure out to the best way to exercise and train the dog into the family.

Additional Resources