The Schipperke

The Schipperke

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The tailless Schipperke hails from the Flemish regions of Belgium and is recognized as having a particularly mischievous expression. His bloodlines are tied to the Leauvenaar and black sheepdog, but he was made smaller over time. He often accompanied tradesmen or worked on riverboats to exterminate vermin. It was the latter activity that led to his name; “Schip” is a Flemish word meaning boat. Schipperkes are also known as “Little Captains.”

  • Weight: 10 to 16 lbs.
  • Height: 10 to 13 inches
  • Coat: Double, with a harsh top coat and a dense, soft undercoat
  • Color: Black
  • Life expectancy: 13 to 15 years

What’s the Schipperke like?
The Schipperke is curious, active, and independent. Don’t be surprised to find him sniffing around for the next cool thing he can do (especially if it means causing trouble). He can be adventurous. The same energy that drives him to always be moving, gives him the instincts he needs to be a great watchdog. He loves his family and will want to be involved in everything.

Schips need vigorous exercise, fortunately they will provide much for themselves. Still, they would love a game of fetch or a nice walk.

The Schipperke can be extremely headstrong and likes to march to a beat of his own drum, which is why early training and socialization is so important. You’ll need to be firm and consistent but also use positive reinforcements. Food rewards are another great motivator.

Grooming your Schip is fairly easy with a good brushing about once a week, and maybe a little more often during shedding seasons.

The Schipperke has several health concerns to watch for:

Hip dysplasia

  • One of the most common diseases seen in dogs, with larger breeds being the most affected. It is ultimately a malfunction of the hip joints.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

  • A bone disorder and the result of decomposition of the hip joint


  • A condition that clouds the lens of the eye and in some cases can lead to blindness

Progressive retinal atrophy

  • An eye condition that essentially worsens over time and could lead to loss of vision


  • A disease caused by a decrease in metabolism due to an under-active thyroid hormone.

Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IIIb

  • An inherited disease that occurs when an enzyme is missing due to mutations in the gene

Takeaway points

  • The Schipperke makes an excellent watchdog.
  • The Schipperke can adapt to many different living situations.
  • The Schipperke needs to be well trained at a young age.
  • The Schipperke would be a great family dog.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Reviewed on:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


The Belgian “shepherd” dog is a small companion that has proved its worth over time in military and civilian fields. Formerly referred to as Spitzke, the Schipperke exudes so much energy and as such, is known for its agility. Discover more about our Schipperke puppies for sale below!

The Schipperke (originally pronounced “sheep-er-ker” but commonly pronounced “skip-er-kee” in America) was probably used during hunts and fishing expeditions as most of the early information surrounding the breed were from articles on hunting and fishing. After years of its existence and being called different names, it was finally accepted as a breed in the early 1880s. It was not until 1889 that its defining characteristics were compiled and published.

Some articles relate the Schipperke to the Spitz but they are two different breeds. It is a descendant of the Leauvenaar which was also a shepherd dog exclusive to a province in Belgium.

Although the Schipperke exhibits a high level of submission to its master, it is a difficult and mischievous dog, always seeking avenues to cause trouble. Little wonder it is also called “the little black devil”.

Nonetheless, their troublesome traits can be managed with consistent training and supervision after which they would become reliable but only to an extent because on some other days, they may reconsider their allegiance. Their ability to do this is also seen in the way they investigate whatever tickles their fancy. They would employ all their skills in satisfying their curiosity which is sometimes to their detriment.

When the Schipperkes are around other dogs, they lose all the training they ever had. Their small size doesn’t limit them from trying to intimidate other dogs by barking and making aggressive moves. For a dog lover planning to buy a Schipperke, it would a bad idea to have other dogs around and unless one possesses some experience in dog training and grooming, buying a Schipperke could be a wrong move.

Due to their high energy levels, the Schipperkes are not to be caged. They need an environment with adequate space to allow them to run around and satisfy their hunger for trouble but this should also be properly fenced to prevent them from taking the trouble outside.

They can be kept as household pets as they do not pose to be as aggressive with humans as they are with other animals but this should not be done without training. If kept as household pets, they should be looked after closely and taken out of the yard once in a while.

With all the details provided already, it is apparent that the Schipperke loves to “work out” hence, their owners should be lovers of workouts too. The space in the yard should allow them to do some exercise but it is also essential that they are taken out at least once a week.

Activities that involve thinking and sourcing are also good ideas for exercise because of how independent and curious the Schipperkes are. If allowed to explore, they should be kept under close watch as they may wander far off just to get answers to the questions they may have.

For a furry dog, Schipperkes are relatively cheap to maintain. Their grooming process requires little to no specialty in dog grooming. The basics are a brush to keep the fur looking healthy and a nail clipper to trim the length of the thick nails on their paws.

The only major concern arises when they begin to shed their undercoat which only happens twice or thrice a year and maybe more in females. When this happens, warm baths should be taken to help remove the coat faster instead of letting it litter the whole yard. Regular brushing at this time would also help in getting out the blown coat.

Our Schipperke puppies for sale come from either USDA licensed commercial breeders or hobby breeders with no more than 5 breeding mothers. USDA licensed commercial breeders account for less than 20% of all breeders in the country.

The unregulated breeders who are selling outside of the USDA regulations and without a license are what we consider to be “Puppy Mills.” We are committed to offering Schipperke puppies who will grow up to become important members of your family. We only purchase puppies from the very best sources, and we stand behind every puppy we sell.

Contact us today to learn more about the availability of our Schipperke puppies for sale. We look forward to helping you find your next family member. Our pet counselors can answer any questions you have about our Schipperke puppies.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Schipperke

Do Schipperke shed a lot?

Not a lot. They made shed twice, thrice or a couple more times but not as much as other shepherd dogs. Besides, most of their fur is around their neck.

Are Schipperke always docked?

Almost always. This is why most of the Schipperkes seen online do not have tails but in countries where docking is not allowed, they have the privilege of showing off their bobtails.

Do Schipperke eat a lot?

Yes, they do which puts them at risk of becoming overweight.

How many puppies can Schipperke give birth to?

A Schipperke can give birth to as many as seven puppies in one litter.

How tall can Schipperke get?

The most a Schipperke can grow to is 13 inches. The females top somewhere around 12 inches.

Are all Schipperkes black?

Most Schipperkes are covered with black fur but they could also come in blonde, chocolate, blue or apricot colors.

What is the Schipperke life expectancy?

A healthy Schipperke is expected to live as long as thirteen to fifteen years.

Are Schipperkes hypoallergenic?

Are Schipperkes smart?

Yes, they are. They exhibit a high level of intelligence and inquisitiveness.

What are Schipperkes used for?

Owing to their agility, Schipperkes are often used as watchdogs and guards at home.

The Schipperke…

The Schipperke dog breed was first introduced to our family by one of my brothers. He purchased a puppy with the families understanding that it was his dog. Being in the service at the time, he asked our mom to care for her. His true intentions were he wanted her to have a companion pet and this Schipperke puppy turned into a wonderful family member.

That was 20 years ago. My oldest brother developed such a strong bond to the family Schipperke, he insisted that the next puppy must be a Schipperke. The pictures and video below are of his new female Schipperke puppy. A wonderful, loving gift from one brother to another…


The Schipperke is a small Belgian breed that originated in the early 16th century. They are considered a small shepherd in their home country of Belgium. The Schipperke is sometimes referred to as the “little black fox”, the “Tasmanian black devil”, or the “little black devil”. They are also thought to be the foundation breed for the larger Black Belgian Shepherd.


The AKC remarks that as a watchdog, they’re naturally wary around strangers. They love to tell you when someones at the door. The Schipperke has a mischievousness and independent spirit that makes them endearing comedians. The Schipperke is robustly healthy, long-lived pets for whom there’s never a dull moment.

I remember my families Schipperke puppy being quite active. She loved to run laps in the house while using the sofa as a spring-board! She also loved long walks, sitting by you when watching TV and alerting you of the mailman. She would lay by the front door when it was time for someone to come home. Always there to greet you with a toy in her mouth!

They often have a high prey drive, focusing on rodents and small animals, and can excel at obedience and agility competitions.

The Schipperke requires training and a secure, fenced-in space to run. They are avid barkers and can be aggressive with other dogs. This breed is very smart and independent, and can be stubborn when it comes to listening.

The Schipperke double coat is solid black and they can weigh between 7–20 lbs. Puppies are born with tails in varying lengths, but in Canada and the United States, the tail is docked the day after birth.

The Schipperke does not need excessive grooming, they are considered a moderate shedder. Still, they do shed their under-coat twice a year and daily brushing will be needed. Daily brushing, all year long, is a great opportunity to bond with your pet and teach them to love grooming.

The AKC breed description:

  • Small Size
  • Medium Energy (?)
  • Alert
  • Curious
  • Confident
  • Intense, but with a dash of mischief and impudence


I wish my family much love, joy and companionship with their new addition!


Watch a playful Schipperke puppy

Anastasio, A., “What Was the Schipperke Bred to Do?,” American Kennel Club, 2017.

Stanchina, J., “Breed History,” Schipperke Club of America, 2019.

Thistle, C., et al, “FAQs About Schipperkes,” Colonial Schipperke Club, 2019.

Eschner, K., “The Evolution of Petface,” Smithsonian Science, 2018.

Fern-King, C., “Hydrocephalus,” American Maltese Association, 2013.


I have a Schipperke-Bull Terrier mix and she has the Schipperke personality – little captain or “devil dog” come to mind – super loyal, wary of strangers, but loving and intelligent. Great size for apartment living but she needs her exercise. I adore her.

I had a Schipperke for over 18 wonderful years. She was a definitely joy to be around. The breeder I bought her from is no longer breeding them. I would love to find out about a reputable breeder of the Schipperke mixes. I would love to get one. I looked online, but I’m so afraid it may be a “puppy mill”.

You told about all the mixed Schip but it would have been nice to see what each mix looked like. So you can be informed of what mix you would want Thank you.

Meeting, too. New to this research

I had a Schipperke-Chihuahau blend, she was a joy to raise and just be around her. Everyone we met took to her as quickly and I.
I only had her for 9 years, I had to have her put down because her Kidneys shut down for no know reason.
I want another Schipperke blend pup to raise. Please can you help me find another?

Enjoyed reading your article about the many types of mixes. We had a purebred Schipperke for 17 years and she was precious. I am looking for a Schipperke(mix) to adopt or rescue, the only problem is that I live in Hawaii and can’t find other Schipperke owners. Would you happen to know any Schipperke breeders or rescue groups in Hawaii? I am considering rescue groups on the mainland. Hope you can help advise. Thank you.

You left out the “Sheltie/Schipperke” mix – I just had to put mine down after having her for just short of 16 years. She was a ‘once in a lifetime companion’… although I’m curious if there are others out there as far as breeders using both the sheltie and the schip – ?

The Bolognese and the Schipperke might be a little bit spunky. They can be an inquisitive little fella so keep on the lookout for that behavior! All dogs need attention and don't want to be left alone. That's why you have a pet, right? Plan on putting forth effort to socialize her as this will reap dividends in the long run. Please use always use positive reinforcement even though they can have a mind of their own. Enjoy being with your new mixed breed and love the relationship you will have with them.

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems as all breeds are susceptible to some things more than others. However, the one positive thing about getting a puppy is that you can avoid this as much as possible. A breeder should absolutely offer a health guarantee on puppies. If they won’t do this, then look no more and don’t consider that breeder at all. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur. We obviously recommend that you look for a reputable animal rescue in your area to find your new mixed breed. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.

The Bolognese mixed with the Schipperke might be prone to joint dysplasia, luxating patellas, among others.

Note that these are just common problems in both breeds.

Watch the video: Itzik the Schipperke in back yard