The Schipperke has roots tracing back to Flanders, Belgium. While there is a lot of disagreement about what kind of sheepdog the Schipperke is, one thing is sure. Its ancestor was a Belgian sheepdog.
This breed of dog looks a lot like the American Eskimo dog. Its face is like a fox. Its double coat is thick and has a characteristic ruff. Looking at its figure from the side, you will notice that it is almost square due to the thickness of the coat. The Schipperke has triangle-shaped ears and a black nose.
Normally, a Schipperke doesn’t have a tail and is colored black. A Schipperke puppy, though, has a tail but you should have this taken out within the first two to three days. In this way, the puppy will not feel too much pain. At this young age, the wound will heal faster. The dog’s front vestigial nails should also be removed. These procedures should be done only by a qualified veterinarian.
The Schipperke has a really thick mid-length double coat. You will observe that its hair feels softer around the face than on the rest of the body. The coat of the Schipperke undergoes a “blow” up to thrice a year. When this happens, the dog’s undercoat is completely shed. A bitch shed more hair compared to a male dog. This process gets completed in approximately 10 days and leaves the Schipperke without hair for 2 to 3 months. This should not be a cause for worry because your dog will get a brand new coat in time.
The name Schipperke is a Flemish word translated in English to mean “Little Captain”. The original Schipperke was taken care of by a boat captain. Later on, a smaller breed was produced for the purpose of making it efficient in hunting and watching the boats. These dogs kept the captains of the boats company, and this is how they got their name. Later on, they were kept and cared for in the homes in Belgium. During the 1800s, they were brought to America and England. To this day, many boat enthusiasts still prefer this dog’s companionship while sailing.
The Schipperke is cautious around strangers and that is why it initially appears distant and unfriendly. But when it gets used to you, you will find that it is actually pleasant and sociable. Once trust is established, it remains loyal to you. Its being cautious around strangers makes it a good watchdog. The Schipperke is always on the lookout for anything that seems out of the ordinary. When it senses that something is wrong, it will immediately call your attention.
The Schipperke exudes a great amount of confidence. If you are looking for a dog that will protect you, the Schipperke is a really good choice. This kind of dog also suits families but only those with older kids. If a Schipperke is not trained properly, it may not have the patience to be around toddlers. Interestingly, this dog takes well to other animals kept at home. Owing to its hunting instincts, there may be times when you will catch this dog outside the house in pursuit of preys.
This breed is generally healthy, except for some common health problems like epilepsy, hypothyroidism, eye problems, and progressive retinal degeneration. It is also prone to Sanfilippo syndrome type IIIB, a recently discovered disease that can be detected through a gene checkup. Statistics shows that this disease is found in 15 out of every 100 dogs of this breed. If you’re planning to get a Schipperke, make sure that it has already been tested for Sanfilippo syndrome.
Because of its tendency to develop hip problems such as canine hip dysplasia, it is important to keep this dog from being overweight. Carrying extra weight will increase the likelihood of hip abnormalities. The good news is that a grown Schipperke will need only one nutritious meal daily.
You can keep the Schipperke’s coat clean with regular shampooing and brushing. There is no need for you to trim the coat. When the dog undergoes a “blow” of the coat, you should give it a bath. The dog’s hair should be brushed two or three times especially after bathing. After the “blow” period is over, your dog won’t need as much grooming. As the dog gets older, you will notice that the occurrences of a “blow” become less frequent.
The Schipperke is naturally playful. It always seems to be full of energy. Just allow it some time to run outside each day. This way, it will get to exercise and play at the same time. It’s better to let your Schipperke run outside your residence anyway, or else you will find it doing the needed exercise inside your house.
The Schipperke, being a sharp dog, is very trainable. It likes to learn new things. However, it has a tendency to do what it wants, so you should be persistent in training it. Don’t accommodate its stubbornness especially when it comes to housebreaking. It’s best to keep it locked in until it is properly house trained. Don’t give it freedom of movement in your abode just yet.
Your Schipperke’s barking and howling can disturb your neighbors, so you should work on breaking this early on. It also has a knack for escaping and can devise creative ways of doing so. It can get past fences either by jumping over it or digging under it, so you should closely watch where it goes. Make sure that the boundaries around your property can keep this dog in.
It is important for your Schipperke to be exposed to other dogs and other people. If you don’t do this, it may not learn to adjust to and welcome the presence of others. You should also teach your dog to recognize your authority.