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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Schipperke Facts

  • Group
  • Non Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 10" - 13"
  • Weight
  • 8-14 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Black
    • Cream
    • Fawn
    • Brown
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Can be trained for defense
    • Good with children
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Spits, spitske.


The Schipperke originated in Belgium.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed in the early 1500's.


The Schipperke is from the Flemish provinces of Belgium. It was bred down from the Leauvenaar, a large, black sheep dog and is traced as far back as 1690. It was originally called spits or spitske but in 1888 the name was changed to schipperke, which means little boatman, in honor of the canal boat line owner who championed the breed. The breed was often seen on canal barges during this time, but was also popular as a shop guard, home companion, and even as a hunter.


The schipperke is a medium size dog with a short, thick body that is heavier in front than back. Its wide head narrows at the eyes, giving it a foxy look. The muzzle is tapered and equal in length to the skull. The nose is small and black and the eyes are small and dark brown. It has small, triangular, erect ears and a docked tail. It has a heave, harsh double coat that is long on the neck and rump but shorter on the body. In the U.S., it is always black; in Europe it can be fawn, cream, sable or chocolate.


The schipperke is a watchful, curious and courageous dog. It is wary with strangers and makes an excellent watchdog. It's an adaptable dog that does well with most people as long as it is well socialized.


At one time this breed was a boatman's and shoemaker's dog and was trained to swim, to guard and to hunt. Today it is a companion dog, apparently indifferent but really bound to its master. Among its best qualities are the ability to defend its home against intruders with tenacity and of being an excellent friend to children.

Health Concerns

Hypothyroidism, Legg-Perthes disease.

Additional Information

This dog will require twice weekly brushing to keep shedding in check.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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