All About the Breed Schipperke

Have you recently fallen for the Schipperke or do you simply love rare breeds? Learn all about the breed here, including: Breed History, Personality Traits, Train-ability, Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed, and Common Health Concerns.

Pronounced sheep-er-ker, the Schipperke is an intelligent and protective breed.

But how do you know whether you are ready to purchase a pet and if this breed is right for you?

This information is absolutely necessary in making the decision to purchase a pet.


The origin of the Schipperke can be traced back to 17th century Belgium. While the breed's appearance may lead some to believe the Schipperke to have descended from the Pomeranian or Spitz breeds, these dogs are actually related to the black Sheepdog, Leauvenaar.

Throughout its history, the Schipperke has been most commonly used for hunting and killing small vermin such as rats, and as a watch and guard dog, proving its superior abilities to work while providing companionship.

The Schipperke made its United States debut in 1888. The Schipperke Club of America was established in 1924, and the breed was soon recognized by the American Kennel Club, categorized into the Non-Sporting Group.

Today, while the Schipperke has attained an underground history as a working and companion dog, the breed remains rather rare outside of Belgium.

Personality Traits

Best known for its protective and dominant nature, the Schipperke is an extremely territorial breed, willing to do whatever is necessary to protect its owner and property. These dogs are very intelligent, yet stubborn, independent, and overly confident, creating difficulty in training. As a pet, the Schipperke is loyal, loving, and affectionate. This breed is energetic and enjoys spending time outdoors and playing games such as fetch.


Due to its stubborn, independent, and overly confident attitude, the Schipperke can prove difficult to train. These dogs grow bored and even annoyed with repetitive tasks, and are notoriously hard to housebreak.

Establishing immediate dominance, trust, and respect is key to successfully training the Schipperke. This breed responds best to a stern approach by an experienced, confident, and strong handler.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed

There are many benefits to owning a Schipperke. These dogs are very active and often quite entertaining to watch while at play. When properly socialized from a young age, the Schipperke gets along well with children and other pets, known for its sweet and gentle approach to small children.

This breed is very territorial, making an amazing guard and watch dog, willing to do whatever is necessary to protect its owner and property, and announcing the arrival of guests and unwanted visitors. The Schipperke is loyal, loving, and affectionate, making an excellent family pet and companion alike.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to owning a Schipperke. These energetic and athletic dogs require large amounts of daily exercise and room to run and play. Anyone wishing to purchase this Schipperke lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so. A Schipperke not receiving the proper amount of exercise and space will often act out by destroying property, chewing, barking, whining, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.

Proper obedience training and socialization is absolutely required with this breed. While the Schipperke generally responds well to ongoing and intensive training, professional intervention is sometimes necessary.

The Schipperke's thick and beautiful coat requires almost constant attention, brushing, bathing, and grooming to prevent matting and maintain its attractive appearance.

As previously mentioned, the Schipperke remains rather rare outside of Belgium and can prove difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.

Common Health Concerns

While the Schipperke is typically known as a healthy and hearty breed, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease - degeneration of the hop joint, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, obesity, and bloat.

Now that you know all about the breed, do you think you are ready to own a Schipperke?

Remember, purchasing a pet is a big decision and should be discussed thoroughly and seriously with your entire family.