We can neither confirm nor deny that the Schipperke line has a bit of demon dog in there somewhere. That smile sure makes her look like she's up to something, though. And she probably is: Schipperkes are intelligent, mischievous, intense, and bursting at the seams with canine curiosity.
Originally from Belgium, this small-sized breed can grow to between 10-16 pounds and lives an average of 12-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Non-Sporting group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Watchdog, Companion
Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Bark Factor: I love to talk!
AKC RANKING 78
FAMILY sheepdog, spitz, Northern (companion)
AREA OF ORIGIN Belgium
DATE OF ORIGIN 1600s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION barge dog, watchdog, ratter
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 11-13 Weight: 12-16
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 10-12 Weight: 10-14
OTHER NAME none
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Somewhat affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A SCHIPPERKE'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Schipperkes are perky and impudent little dogs, full of intensity and confidence. Their small size means that they'll play best with supervised children and other dogs. This breed bonds closely with her chosen people, but isn't overly effusive with strangers.
WHAT IS SCHIPPERKE BEHAVIOR LIKE?
The Schipperke is a very active little devil — no one can accuse this dog of having idle paws. And all that energy has to go somewhere. Schipperkes are natural diggers and explorers, so keep an eye on yours while she's out in the backyard. Left unattended for too long, this dog will re-landscape your hedges, dig her way under the fence, and follow the next interesting smell or furry critter to cross her path.
You might not know it to look at her, but the wee Schipperke was bred to work hard. Though most are companions these days, this breed will be happiest and healthiest with lots of time to run, explore, and play. They make willing watchdogs. Schipperkes can be vocal; be sure to discourage nuisance barking early and often.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A SCHIPPERKE?
Schipperkes are smart and amenable to training, but this breed definitely has a mind of her own. Be patient and consistent while training this furry rascal. Keep your training sessions fun and short. Reward good behaviors with play, praise, or treats. Schipperkes often participate in agility, obedience, rally, and herding events.
Their curiosity and prey drive make them poor candidates for off-leash play outside a well-fenced area. And we mean well fenced: this breed is more than determined enough to plow right through underground electronic deterrents.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO SCHIPPERKES SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Schipperkes shed moderately, and will blow their undercoats twice each year. Despite their lush locks, these dogs require only weekly brushing to keep them looking diabolically dashing. Bathe them as needed.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO SCHIPPERKES HAVE?
As a breed, Schipperkes are generally healthy. Some are susceptible to orthopedic problems, eye disease, or thyroid issues. Epilepsy also manifests in some Schipperkes. Legg-Perthes disease and mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type IIIB may also be a problem.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE SCHIPPERKES GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Schipperkes among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies. You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as small as a Schipperke!
WHAT IS A SCHIPPERKE'S BEST DAY?
Whatever you're doing, your Schipperke wants in. In spirit, this dog is sitting on your left shoulder, whispering that it's far too nice a day to spend indoors and working. Wouldn't you rather be out in a park somewhere? Maybe chasing squirrels? Your Schipperke sure would, and in her perfect day, that's what you'd do.
SHOULD I ADOPT A SCHIPPERKE?
For a dog with such a devilish expression, this fluffball has an ironically low tolerance for warm temperatures. They don't mind the cold, though. They're just as comfortable in an apartment as in a small home or large estate. Their fluffy coats require surprisingly little grooming. If you can be sure she gets enough exercise, this breed makes for a congenial housemate. All in all, the Schipperke is one hell of a good dog.
Have you decided that a Schipperke is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.