Schipperke is pronounced skipper-key and means little boatman in
Flemish. They are also known as the "Belgian Barge Dog", "Little
Captain" and "Little Black Devil". Originating in Belgium, Schipperkes
were first noted in the writings of the monk Wenceslas in the fifteenth
century. In 1690 a show for Schipperkes was held in Brussels - believed
to be the first specialty show for any breed.
In the 1800's Belgian gentlemen would craft special brass collars
for their Schipperkes and proudly walk their dogs through town.
Schipperkes also served as watchdogs and ratters on barges, keeping
an eye on the cargo and befriending the horses that towed the barges.
Exports to England in the late 1800's and two World Wars reduced
the number of Schipperkes left in Belgium. Today Schipperkes can
be found in England, the United States, South Africa, Australia
and New Zealand, as well as Continental Europe.
personality, characteristics & temperament
A Schipperke should be active, very lively and alert, and its temperament
should be amenable, intelligent and faithful. Schipperkes are strongly
loyal to their family and friendly to children, but are distrustful
Schipperkes are extremely curious dogs, inspecting every inch of
the house and yard and objecting to anything out of order, like
moved furniture. When you have got their attention their ears will
be at the alert and they will tilt their heads from side to side
with a quizzical look.
They enjoy their food and a food treat often holds their attention.
They are instinctively efficient killers of rats and other vermin.
Schipperkes are wonderful travellers, having started with the horse
and carriage and graduated to the automobile. They are great companions
on long trips and holidays
with other pets
Schipperkes can co-exist with cats and other dogs. Socialising from
an early age may be required to achieve this. It's sensible to supervise
the introduction of Schipperkes to other dogs so that their behaviour
towards each other can be observed.
In the absence of humans, Schipperkes enjoy the company of other
dogs - often other Schipperkes!
Pet rabbits, guinea pigs, and mice etc should be well fenced so
that Schipperkes cannot reach them.
Schipperkes are low-maintenance dogs. They don't need regular bathing,
but may be brushed or combed occasionally. The coat is fairly short.
It drops once a year (twice for intact females). Nails should be
monitored for clipping. Schipperkes do not have a "doggy odour".
A Schipperke can be walked several kilometers a day, but will be
equally content spending a day in the backyard. Schipperkes are
very intelligent dogs and this needs to be considered when planning
their training and housing.
The incidence of eye disease in this breed is not known as a health
problem here in Australia but it is a problem in the U.S.A. At present,
this breed is very healthy with no particular genetic disorders
being a problem. A popular Australian vet stated that Schipperkes
were "a very healthy dog - in fact, they have such a low incidence
of inherited diseases that it's not worth discussing".
For Diet and other general dog health information Health/Nutrition
Information provided by
SCHIPPERKE CLUB OF VICTORIA INCORPORATED