"Little Captain"

Photo of Schipperke


According to show judges in Belgium, the Schipperke, a solid black little shepherd dog, and the Belgian Shepherd share a common ancestor, theLeuvenaar, an extinct Belgian breed whose name means "inhabitant of Louvain." The earliest documentation of the Schipperke's origins dates to 1690, when the first “specialty” dog show was organized exclusively for a single breed and held in a Brussels marketplace. The Schipperke originated in the Flemish provinces of Belgium. However, it is occasionally and erroneously considered a Dutch dog owing to the brief periods of history when Belgium and Holland were united as one country. The AKC Standard states that the Schipperke is not derived from the spitz or the Pomeranian, as some used to believe, but is really a diminutive of the Leauvenaar, an extinct sheepdog. In 1885 the Queen of Belgium, Marie Henriette, wife of King Leopold II, became enamored of the breed, popularizing it almost overnight as a house pet. In the Flemish dialect, Schipperke means "little shepherd dog." Before they became fashionable in the home, Schipperkes were employed as guard dogs on canal boats and barges in Brussels and Antwerp. Shortly after the Queen acquired one, an American named Walter J. Comstock imported the first Schipperke to the United States, where the breed languished until after World War I. In 1929 several fanciers of the breed formed the Schipperke Club of America and thus began the long road to American popularity.


This is a small dog with a big-dog mentality. He can swim, catch vermin, guard property, and wake the family if there's trouble. The Schipperke is highly territorial, bold, active, and quite hardy for a small dog. He has a curious personality that sometimes gets him in trouble because he doesn't seem to fear those things or places that can be dangerous, such as heights, auto traffic, and dark hiding places. Although he is cautious with strangers, he loves his family and responds to them quite well, including the children. He's also good with other animals.


This is a dog with a somewhat harsh, abundant coat. He is completely black with the exception of its eyes, which are dark brown. A small dog, he weighs at his maximum 18 pounds. Resembling a Pomeranian, only larger, the dog stands 13 inches from the top of his shoulders, which makes him completely portable and adaptive to just about any lifestyle.


Because of a stubborn streak, the Schipperke can be a bit of a challenge during obedience training. However, he responds well to training when it is conducted on a regular schedule with consistent handling. Training must not involve harsh methods such as raised voices or constant jerks of the leash. If you continue to keep his attention and make training sessions enjoyable, he will respond very well. Territoriality makes the training more difficult, and housebreaking can be problematic.

Grooming & Care

A shedder, the Schipperke must be brushed at least twice a week for fifteen minutes. During shedding season, which is usually in the spring and late fall, short brushing sessions should be undertaken every day. An occasional warm-water bathing with dog shampoo removes most of the dead hair before it has a chance to attach to the floor and furniture.

Health Concerns

Various dermatological disorders, epilepsy, and cataracts are all possible inherited conditions.

Famous Schipperke

Queen Marie-Henriette took on several of the breed making them highly fashionable.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 5
Home 44
Children 49
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 13
Exercise 60
Challenges Can bark a lot.
Height 10 to 13 inches
Weight 16 to 18 pounds
Life 12 to 15 years
Home Alone 83
With Kids 114
With Strangers 113
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

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