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Country/Date of Origin: Belgium/1500s

Bred as watchdogs and ratters in their native Belgium, the Schipperkes found plenty of work on the barges. When people saw these little tailless tikes strutting on the decks with a vast show of self importance, they said they looked like Schipperkes, or little captains. The Schipperke really was important on the barges. These four footed first mates stood watch, guarded both boat and cargo, killed rats and hustled the tow horses. The breed has an unusual affinity for horses to this day. The first of the breed brought to America landed in the 1880's but it was not until 1929 that they were popular enough to gain admittance to the American Kennel Club.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Little Captain

AKC Group: Non-Sporting

Breed Club: Schipperke Club of America

Rescue Club: Colonial Schipperke Club's Lifeboat Committee

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Body Type:

  • Small, spitz-like in appearance
  • Height: 10-13 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 12-16 pounds
  • The tail is docked to 1 inch if the dog is not born tailless
  • The small, prick ears are not altered


  • Lively and alert
  • Excellent watchdog
  • Nothing gets by a Schipperke on guard
  • Likes children but does not particularly like rough handling
  • Not at all mean, rather mischievous


  • The abundant double coat consists of a short, dense undercoat and a slightly harsh outer coat. It stands well off the body
  • Solid black is the only permissible color in the US. Red is allowed in FCI competition
  • Minimal grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Exceptionally long-lived with very few ailments
  • Possible eye problems
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Pronounce it skeep-er-kee as the Belgians do
  • Will exercise itself around the house
  • Makes an ideal city or apartment dweller

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