Group 7: Non Sporting
Weight: 5.4 – 7.3 kg

Energy Level:  Moderate to high
Original Function: Hunting, guarding
Lifespan: 13 – 15 yrs

Recommended for: Families with young children, elderly & people with small yards.


About This Breed

Schipperke is pronounced skipper-key and means little boatman in Flemish. Originating in Belgium, in 1690 a show for Schipperkes was held in Brussels – believed to be the first specialty show for any breed. Schipperkes served as watchdogs and ratters on barges.

Active, very lively and alert, Schipperkes are strongly loyal to their family and friendly to children, but are distrustful of strangers. They can co-exist with cats and other dogs. Socialising from an early age may be required to achieve this.

General Characteristics

Appearance: Schipperkes are small cobby dogs with a sharp foxy expression. Their eyes should be dark brown. Feet should be cat-like, and the tail curled over the back.

Temperament: Amenable, intelligent and faithful.

Characteristics: Intensely lively and alert.

Colour: Black (the dominant colour) but other whole colours can occur and are acceptable.

Coat: The coats should be harsh and have a frill and a mane, and good culottes on the back of the thighs.


Grooming: Schipperkes are low-maintenance dogs. They don’t need regular bathing, but may be brushed or combed occasionally. The coat is fairly short. It drops once a year (twice for intact females). Nails should be monitored for clipping. Schipperkes do not have a “doggy odour”.

Exercise: A Schipperke can be walked several kilometers a day but will be equally content spending a day in the backyard. Schipperkes are very intelligent dogs and this needs to be considered when planning their training and housing.

Health: The incidence of eye disease in this breed is not known as a health problem here in Australia but it is a problem in the U.S.A. At present, this breed is very healthy with no particular genetic disorders being a problem.