Pet Advisor Blog

Schipperke – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Medium
Weight: 12 to 18 pounds
Height: 10 to 13 inches
Longevity: 15
Bark Tendency: Low
Aggression: Low
Compatibility to other pets: High

Adopt a Schipperke, Dog Breed Guide


Schipperkes are dogs that have docked tails. Legend has it that this Belgian dog breed lost its tail because of an argument between two neighbors. One neighbor became very furious of the other’s Schipperke dog that repeatedly “visited” his house, often making a mess or bothering his daily routine. Out of anger, the neighbor cut of the dog’s tail. It is said that when fans of this breed saw the tail-less dog, they loved it so much that it was included in the Schipperke’s official breed standard!


Official Name



Date – Sometime during the 1690’s
Country – Belgium
Family / Group – Companion, Non-sporting, Northern

Recognized By:
Continental Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
American Kennel Club
United Kennel Club
Kennel Club of Great Britain
Canadian Kennel Club
Australian National Kennel Club
National Kennel Club
New Zealand Kennel Club
Schipperke Club of Puget Sound
American Pet Registry, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
North American Purebred Registry, Inc.


The Schipperke dog breed originated in Belgium’s Flemish provinces and was first developed during the 1690’s. This Belgian breed was bred-down from the large black sheepdog called the Leauvenaar. For several centuries these dogs were called spits or spitske, it was only officially called the Schipperke in the year 1888. Schipperke translates to “little boatman” in English. This is to honor the canal boat-line owner who championed the Shipperke breed in its native Belgium. They are dogs who are popular as canal barge dogs but were also used as shop guards, hunters and companion pets.


Schipperke dogs are naturally gifted with a personality that makes them the excellent watchdog. They are watchful and will show their courageous nature and curious instinct when at work. These dogs will be wary towards strangers. In general, this Belgian breed is a very adaptable dog that can live in any condition and will be well-behaved with most people.

Bred For

The Shipperke is Belgium’s barge dog that is famous for guarding barges and boats. They were also bred to guard shops, as hunters as well as companion pets.


Schipperkes will be good apartment dogs. They are indoor dogs that will be very active and incredibly quick inside the house. They are dogs that were created specifically for boat life and are ideal to have living on boats.

The Schipperke dog is incredible hygienic and is adamant to keep themselves clean. They are dogs that will take care of their own grooming.

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Schipperkes are naturally very clever but training would not be easy. Gentle but firm training methods and a lot of patience on the trainer’s part should help these dogs learn commands. It is important to have short training sessions to keep these dogs motivated.

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There are various medical conditions that commonly plague the Schipperke dog breed. Eye problems such as PRA or progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts are common to these dogs. Schipperkes are very prone to slipped hip sockets, hip dysplasia and Legg Calves Perthes. Hypothyroidism and epilepsy are also known to occur. These dogs are also at high risks to have the fatal MPD 111B disease or Canine Mucopolysaccharidosis, a hereditary and very severe enzyme deficiency syndrome that can lead to sickness, diseases and death.

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Schipperkes are just born to be active and will be tireless on and off the job. They should be taken on long walks and jogging every day. This will help them to be mentally stable.