The Energetic Schipperke

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Weight: 10 — 16 lbs
Height: 10” — 13”
AKC Rank 2008: #89
Lifespan: 13—15 yrs
Group: Non-Sporting
Origin: Belgium

Dog Breed Info - The Schipperke

Breed Overview

Origin 1600’s. Original function, Barge dog, Guard dog, ratter. Today, Companion. Comes in black only.

Comes from Belgium. The Flemish word for “boat” is “schip” and the name is thought to mean “little boatman.” The breed resembles a miniature Belgium Sheepdog, and it is possible the word "Schipperke" comes from the word for “shepherd,” or shepet. By the nineteenth century, the breed was so popular in central Belgium, it was virtually the only housedog found there and was the national dog.

In 1904 the AKC registered the breed. It has since grown to a fairly popular companion dog.

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Not always easy to train. Use clicker training and positive reinforcement and a lot of patience. This breed can be headstrong. They are smart, but stubborn.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Schipperke? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Most Schipperke puppies are fairlky easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Schipperke makes a bold companion. He can be independent. This dog loves to keep busy and is happiest when he has something to do. He loves to investigate and sniff everything. He is reserved with strangers, but is a great little watchdog. This is a friendly house dog when given plenty of exercise.

If you happen to get a dog with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Yes, gets along with most dogs, but does pick his dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Maybe. Introduce them slowly or raise the dog with the pets.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No, wary of strangers. Keeps a distance until he knows you.


Yes. Quite playful. Loves to romp, snoop and investigate.


Yes. Very affectionate, loyal family dog. Makes a great pet that will protect his family.

Good with children?

Good, does very well with kids as long as the kids behave and don’t torment the dog. The Schipperke will protect his family and children.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. As long as the senior can walk several times a day, this little dog will be his best friend and guard him from strangers. This pooch will even welcome the grandchildren.

Living environment

Apartment, farm, city OK. Indoor dog that needs exercise but that’s all. Would enjoy a small yard to roam and snoop around in but not required.

Energy level

Fairly high energy.

Exercise needs, daily

The Schipperke is an active breed that needs physical and mental exercise by a vigorous game in the yard or a good walk on the leash twice daily.


Yes, very good.

Guard dog

Yes, very good (for his size)


Yes, a lot.


Weekly brushing. Brush 4 to 5 times weekly when shedding.


Suggested Reading - The Schipperke
Click on the cover photos for more book information.

  • 2nd book from left - "101 Dog Tricks" - Great mental stimulation for the Schipperke. There are things for your dog to learn and do that I had never thought of!

  • Book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.

Schipperke Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Schipperke puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Schipperke Breeders with puppies for sale. There may be other breeders online or check your local area for private breeders.

Schipperke Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Schipperke and are looking for a Schipperke rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Dog Rescue - (Nationwide) Try to locate dog health records if adopting a rescue dog.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site that may give you some ideas. Finding a dog of this breed in dog pounds and SPCA kennels is rare. PetFinder is listing only 147 in the entire USA at this time. Breed pet rescue is your best bet.

Dog Health Issues For The Schipperke
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Schipperke by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog health and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Mucopolysaccharidosis—Genetic. A serious chemical imbalance and chemical storage problem in dogs 2 to 4 years old and is fatal. There is no cure.

  • Legg-Perthes—A disease of the hip joint in young dogs. It is a deforming of the head of the femur head where it fits into the pelvic socket and is generally noticed at around 6 to 8 months age. The disease affects small breeds such as the Schipperke and can range from mildly debilitating to totally debilitating. It’s very painful and the dog will have a lame leg at the affected hip. Pain can become severe in some dogs and the dog will go from occasional limping to continuous carrying of the leg. Severe muscle atrophy can set in with the appearance of shortening of the affected leg. Restricted joint movement is also a common sign Legg-Perthes. Surgery will usually restore a dog to a fairly normal life but prevention at the breeding stage is the right solution.

  • Epilepsy—A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up at around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age in dogs..

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness and difficulty walking for the Schipperke. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated will eventually lead to total blindness.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Distichiasis—An eye condition involving the cornea. Eyelashes, growing improperly on the inner surface of the eyelid cause corneal ulcers due to the constant rubbing and irritation. The problem is fixed by having the vet remove the lashes if the ulcers don’t heal.

  • Diabetes—The pancreas manufactures the hormone INSULIN. If the pancreas stops making, or makes less than the normal amount of insulin, or if the tissues in the body become resistant to the insulin, the result is called “diabetes.” The dog can NOT control her blood sugar without injections of insulin on a regular basis, but given the insulin, the dog can live a normal life like a human can. If the dog does not receive the insulin injections at the same time each day of her life, the dog will go into a coma and she will die. Some causes of diabetes may be chronic pancreatitis, heredity, obesity or old age, but no one is sure. Symptoms are excess drinking and urination, dehydration, weight loss, increased appetite, weight gain, and cataracts may develop suddenly. Treatment is in the form of the insulin injections daily and a strict diet low in carbohydrates and sugars. Home cooking may be suggested in some cases. Frequent trips to the vet for blood monitoring will be needed but diabetes is not a death sentence.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates. This is common to many small dogs beside the Schipperke.

Other problems could occur with your Schipperke. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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