Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SCHIPPERKES

Schipperkes are smallish black dogs with faces that look kind of like foxes.  They have prick ears and a ruff of hair around their necks. The weight of a Schipperke might be anywhere between 10 and 16 pounds.  Sometimes the puppies are born without tails, but other times they do have tails.  In the U.S., these tails are docked really short, but in most of Europe, it's illegal to do that.  Personally, I think they are cuter with tails because the tails curl over their backs, sort of like basenji tails, except hairier.  Schipperkes have a soft undercoat of hair that is covered by a harsher outer coat.  They shed a couple of times a year.



Schipperkes, circa 1897
The breed started out in the Flemish parts of Belgium.  It was bred down in size from a black sheepdog called the Leauvenaar.  Belgian sheepdogs come from this same ancestor breed.  Mostly, Schipperkes were used as watchdogs by tradesmen and on river barges.  The dogs were also good at catching rats.  Another thing they could do was nip at the tow horses' heels to keep them pulling the barge along.  The name Schipperke comes from the Flemish word schip, which means "boat."  A nickname for the Schipperke is "Little Captain" because the boat's captain was usually the one who owned the dog.




Photo:  Debbie Thompson
Nowadays, people who want a dog they can take boating often choose to get a Schipperke.  This is because Schipperkes like being on boats, and they don't get seasick.  While the boat is tied up for the night, the Schipperke will let their humans know if any bad people such as burglars are trying to get on board.










Image source: home.comcast.net/~pomerke/



The Schipperke's spitz-type ancestors are very ancient.  Other breeds that the Schipperke is related to include the Keeshund, Pomeranian, Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, Finnish Spitz, Japanese Spitz, and the American Eskimo Dog.
















Schipperkes were first recognized as a formal breed in the 1880s.  The AKC recognized the breed in
1904.  If you look at all the AKC registrations for Schipperkes, you will find the breed ranked 78 right now on the list.  It's not every day that you see somebody out walking a Schipperke, but yesterday Mom saw a person doing that, which is why she thought I should write about this breed.











By now, you are probably wondering if you would like to have a Schipperke of your very own.  These dogs have a lot of energy, so you probably need a fenced yard, or else you need to take your Schipperke out walking or running every day.  If they are bored, these dogs can get into a lot of trouble by tearing up stuff in the house.  Schipperkes are devoted and loyal.  They bond with their people, and they are good with children.  Also, they get along well with other dogs and with cats in the home.





Schipperkes are very busy little dogs, and they like to check everything out.  They can be suspicious with strangers, which is one reason they make good watch dogs.  It doesn't matter what size the intruder is or how big another dog might be.  The Schipperke will bark loudly and not back down.








You should always keep your Schipperke on a leash or in an enclosed area.  This is because if  a Schipperke  sees a squirrel or anything that looks fun to chase, he will take off running after it.  Some Schipperkes are good escape artists, and they can dig under fences or climb over them.  So even if you have a nice, fenced yard, you might want to keep an eye on your Schipperke while he is out there.









These days, people mostly use this breed for companionship and as watchdogs.  Schipperkes don't have a lot of health problems, and they usually live to be 10 to 15 years old.  Some even get to be 17 or 18.  I asked Mom if we should think about getting a Schipperke, but she said they are probably too energetic for us old dogs, and also for her, since she's pretty old, too!

16 comments:

  1. I have a Schipperke with a full, beautiful tail. I got him at an animal shelter in GA. He is the best little buddy a person could ask for! I wonder where he came from and why his tail wasn't clipped.

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    1. Schipperkes tails aren't allowed to be cut anymore. It got banned

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    2. It's banned in Europe. As far as I know, it's still legal in the U.S., but maybe I'm wrong.

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  2. I am fostering a little guy that seems to be a Schipperke. Everything you describe here fits him to a T lol He has his tail. I figure he is aprox 7-9 months old. He has blended very well with our fur babies and gets along great with them. Not afraid either and two of ours are close to 90#. He romps with them and thinks nothing of it. And yes very mischievous when bored lol. When He first came to the house he was a darter... less then a week later ...he has learned the sit with the other 4 fur babies and wait for his name to be called before going out the door ... No problem with climbing YET with him .. Then again he has the others to keep him entertained and active :)

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    1. Your foster pup sounds really fun. I'll bet you are taking very good care of him and will find him a good home.

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  3. Why would anyone want to crop an animals tail...personally I think that's so cruel!!!

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  4. I'm currently taking care of my friend's Schipperke while she's on holiday for 2 months. She likes to play with my two other dogs - A male Border Collie/German shepherd/Retriever mix and a female Labrottie. She has her full tail. I finally understand what a Schipperke's personality is like - alert, energetic, curious, mischievous and devoted. For the first week, she'll be whining for a few minutes but that stopped. She gets bored easily so thankfully there's my other two dogs to keep her accompany .Currently , she's been with me and my family for 3 weeks now and I'm starting to love this breed !!!

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  5. We have had our schipperke since she was 5 and is now 11 (via rescue), and the dog we had before was suspected to be part schip too, both fantastic dogs with great characters . I don't know why they are not more popular in the UK.
    Hilary

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    1. Your schipperke sounds like a great part of your family! They don't seem to be very popular in the US either, but I can't explain why. If someone would make a movie starring a schipperke, then I bet everyone would want one!

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    2. We have had three Ships over the past 15 or so years, all rescues. Had no idea of what the first one was, just thought it was a great dog that didn't belong in the pound. She was the only one of the three of which we had no idea of her age, merely estimated by tooth wear. The second one we did know her age, she lived to be 21 years old, believe it or not. The one we still have came with papers, we even know what day he was born on, January 8, Elvis Presleys birthday.
      The previous owner was a big Elvis fan and from Memphis, so of course he named him Teddy Bear for short but his true name is Ted E. Behr, he gets mail in that name as a joke.. We actually drove over 2,000 miles to rescue him and don't regret a moment of it.
      Schipperkes are amazingly healthy dogs, without a doubt the most healthy of any breed I have ever dealt with. They are incredibly intelligent, have an uncanny sense of hearing which is why they make such good watch dogs. They have an immense sense of courage, belying their size.
      They love kids, other critters but you cannot let them out of an area not fenced in, they are known to bolt and if they do you seriously are not possibly going to catch them. Many are escape artists, all of mine were to one extent or another.
      Are they loyal?
      I had a medical emergency two years ago, I woke up to Ted on my lap, 11 EMT's and three police officers cowering outside my door- all too scared to approach me because of the dog... hr'd never as much as growled at a person in the 10 years that we've had him but he knew something wasn't right and wasn't going to let a soul near ne. All I had to do was tell him to get down and he did and let them all do their thing, he just had to hear it from me that I was okay I guess.
      I would never be owned by any other breed of dog now after the trifecta of Schips I have had. They truly are amazing dogs.

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  6. where can i get one. mine passed away and i miss her. i like that dog. i want to adopt another one. they are perfect for me. munoz.daniel1@gmail.com

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    1. You might look on Petfinder.com to see if any schipperkes are available in shelters or from rescue groups in your area. Also try googling "schipperke rescue." If you want a puppy, try to find a responsible breeder who does health testing on his or her dogs before breeding them. DON'T buy a puppy from a pet store! Those dogs come from puppy mills and often have serious health problems.

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  7. Schipperkes are black rounded balls of boundless energy, and they are really very active and playful dogs. They can the perfect family dog. However, if you are considering one, you should understand that this dog is not all play. Read more about the dog breed information here: http://dogsaholic.com/breeds/profiles/schipperke.html

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    1. Thanks for the good information, Alice!

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