Schipperke Dog Breed
Aliases: Spitzkes, Spitskes, Spits
|Life Span:||About 15 years, though if kept active, many live to be 18 years old.|
|Litter Size:||2-3 puppies|
|Group:||Northern, non-sporting group in the American Kennel Club\'s categorization.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||The only acceptable color for Schipperkes is all black.|
|Male Height:||11-13 inches high at the highest point of the withers|
|Male Weight:||12-18 lbs|
|Female Height:||10-12 inches high at the highest point of the withers|
|Female Weight:||12-18 lbs|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||Because of their size, Schipperkes are good dogs for apartments. Because of their origins, they also love boats and being on the water, making them the perfect companion for boat dwellers! Many fishermen choose these dogs as companions because the dogs love the water as much as their owners.|
The Schipperke is a breed that is largely unfamiliar to the average American. But this is a great breed for those who want a watchdog or hunter that\'s not too big. The Schipperke is a dog of Belgian origin. There has been much debate over the years as to whether Schipperke\'s are categorized as a terrier, spitz, or miniature sheepdog, though it is fairly certain that they descended from a breed of sheepdog. Many years ago, Schipperkes were also referred to as Spitzkes, Spitskes or Spits. In appearance, they strongly resemble the American Eskimo Spitz breed.
The Schipperke is short and thick. All purebred Schipperkes are black and all are tailless. Most puppies are born with a tail, but they should be de-tailed, rather than docked. Front dewclaws are removed from this breed, as are back dewclaws if the dog is to be showed. Removal of the tails and dewclaws is best performed between 48-72 hours of age, to avoid shock and minimize the discomfort. Removal at this age also ensures a short healing time. Removal of the dewclaws and tails should be performed only by qualified veterinarians.
Schipperke faces resemble that of a fox, and their short thick body makes them have a bit of a square shape, particularly when viewed from the side. Their double coat is very thick, with a ruff that stands out. Because of the way their coat stands out at the shoulders, the Schipperke appears to slope in shape from his shoulders to his croup.
The breed will have a very thick appearance, even when of an appropriate weight. They typically have a very alert and questioning expression, and are some of the most curious dogs you\'ll ever find. They have small oval eyes that are almost always dark brown. Their ears are small and triangular and are placed very high on the head. Any drop of the ear will be a fault in a Schipperke from a showing perspective. Their noses are small and black.
Medium in length, with a very thick double coat. The hair is soft around the face, but coarser on the body. The ruff stands out, with the body coat being shorter. Schipperke coats go through what is known as a "blow" as often as three times a year for females. When the coat blows, the entire undercoat is shed in about ten days.
The Schipperke was originally raised in Flanders, Belgium by a canal boat captain named Renssens. They are thought to have descended from the black Belgian sheepdog. Over time, as they were bred to be smaller than the Belgian sheepdog, they became their own breed. They were bred to be small in order to be good watchdogs and hunters for the boats, as well as being good companions for the captains, who spent many months each year at sea. In fact, Schipperke even means "little captain" in Flemish.
By the late 1800\'s they had become very popular house dogs for the Belgians, and it was around this time that they were introduced to the US and Great Britain. Today, they are mostly used as companion dogs, and still are often favored by those who spend a lot of time on boats. In 1929, The Schipperke Club of America, Inc. was founded. At the first meeting, the club applied for, and was accepted for membership in the American Kennel Club.
While Schipperkes are not a popular family dog in the US, they make great companion animals. They are very good watchdogs are very devoted to their masters. At first meeting, you may find the Schipperke to seem a little aloof. However, this is because he is a bit wary of strangers. This trait is what makes him such a good watchdog. He will alert his owner to anything unusual by barking. He will defend his territory and his master faithfully. However, once he gets to know you, he is friendly and loving.
Schipperkes are confident and independent dogs, as a result of having been bred to be small watchdogs and vermin hunters. Their size, accompanied with their temperament makes them an excellent breed for the apartment dweller who wants a protective dog.
Schipperkes are good family dogs, particularly if your children are a little older. Young, untrained Schipperkes might not be very tolerant of toddlers. They typically will happily accept other pets in the home, except the occasional additional same gender dog. They usually do very well with cats. They are very intelligent dogs, but they can be a bit stubborn. Because of their natural tendency to hunt, you may find them chasing small animals outdoors and they may have a tendency to run from you when let off leash.
Thyroid Disease - Medium Risk
The Shipperke ranks #34 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. While this is not a high risk breed, there is still a good chance of disease transmission through breeding. Therefore, all dogs intended for breeding should be tested first.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Due to the tendency for hip problems, it is important not to let your Schipperke become overweight, as carrying around excess weight only aggravates the problem. However, because this breed is so energetic, and loves to run, if you give them the appropriate opportunity to exercise, they're unlikely to become overweight. Once past the puppy stage, one good meal each day of a nutritionally sound dog food will be all he needs. Avoiding table scraps will reduce the likelihood that he'll become overweight.