The wonderful little Schipperke is unmatched for their size and usefulness combination. They have a long and established history, plus they own a variety of sought-after working traits.
There are many Schipperke kennel clubs and other organizations dedicated to this long-standing breed. The little all black dogs have some amazing characteristics and are often the preferred dog for certain jobs. Let us look together at a few shining examples of the facts surrounding these magnificent creatures:
They have been around for an exceedingly long time
We can trace the heritage of the Schipperke back into the 14th century and possibly earlier. The working class at the time bred them to be small because of limitations placed them by the aristocracy of the time in and near Belgium.
They used these cute little all black dogs for a variety of jobs related to the life of a working man. This means they have made wonderful companions to working folks for centuries now.
These dogs were one of the first to have an official dog show
Schipperke was even one of the very first dogs to have their very own dog show. This took place in 1690 in Brussels, at a place known as the Grand Palace.
It was mainly a show for the working class to show off their line of the breed. There was a sizeable crowd of owners, who all went there to find breeding pairs that would produce sought after traits for different professions.
Everyone from farmers to sailors owned the breed and showed up to one of the first-ever dog shows with their Schipperkes in tow.
A man bred them specifically to perform work, mostly on ships
The breed was created by a boat captain named Renssens, who ran a canal barge. He started with a Belgium Sheepdog who was small for his breed, about 40lbs, and kept breeding them seeking smaller sized specimens. Many ship captains used dogs of this breed to work as vermin control on their boats.
These dogs dig exceptionally well at hunting rats down and keeping them out of ships stockpiles of supplies and cargo. This made the breed an invaluable asset and assured the lineage would continue for centuries.
Even their name has the Flemish word for boat in it, which is the word schip. This was how the name we know this breed by today, Schipperke, was born. This is also where their nickname of ‘Little Captains’ originated, also about their working lives.
These dogs have some amazing character traits
The Schipperke is an extremely intelligent breed. They excel and thrive on having a job to do and doing it well. Although, that job can be something as simple as guarding a small apartment in today’s world.
They were originally boat dwellers, and that was one reason for their compact size. This is also a reason they can tolerate apartment life so well.
Not to mention that the breed is loyal to a fault and will protect their human at all costs. They are exceptionally feisty and will not back down from a fight, no matter their chances of winning.
You can easily recognize the intelligence level present in these dogs just by a glance into their mischievous eyes.
They are so smart that they need to have some kind of stimulation regularly to keep them from becoming destructive. Along with mental stimulation, they require regular strenuous physical exercise. A lengthy walk or a jog every single day is necessary for these dogs to behave their owner properly.
Also, because of their loyalty and the close bond they create with their master, they need near-constant contact and can be prone to separation anxiety.
Schipperke are only recognized by many associations as having one color of fur
They are supposed to be all black dogs with a furry mane ringing their neck. They do occasionally come in a black chocolate brown. Often this is so dark that you can only see the difference of chocolate from a black color when they are in direct sunlight.
Any other color and they are not officially a Schipperke recognized by a majority of associations centered on the breed.
Also, considering their fur, it tends to shed a lot. Then, two to three times a year, they have what is known as a blowout. This is when they shed all their undercoat in a noticeably brief period. In less than two weeks, they will lose their entire undercoat, and this can create a mess around the house.
They need to either have a warm bath regularly during this time or a forced air blow to clear away the itchy hairs. Some owners say that the breed sheds an entire grocery bag full of hair during this time.
Owners have collected this bag worth of hair during a single brushing during a blow out time. These regular brushings are necessary to clear away all the detached hairs.
The first club dedicated to the breed was established over 230 years ago
Back in 1888, they had created the very first club appointed to preserve and maintain the Schipperke breed in Belgium. This association was known as the Royal Schipperke Club of Belgium.
The breeders who joined all agreed on a specific list of traits that would designate the breed and set them apart from other spitz breeds of the time.
This list included a size limitation of about 25lbs, and their color is black only. They cataloged that the breed often had a thick mane around their necks and covering their hind legs. These traits are not to be confused with a similar spitz breed called Pomeranians, who have a similar mane.
So, as you are now aware, this special breed is one of a kind. Their boat dwelling beginnings helped shaped the breed’s size and shape that has lasted centuries.
The extensive history of the Schipperke, which goes back over 600 years, makes them one of the oldest remaining breeds in existence. While these traits set these wonderful little dogs apart from other breeds, they share all the regular traits of small dogs.
These traits include sometimes excessive barking, small dog syndrome, where they think they are the master, and also hyperactivity. However, if these intelligent creatures receive stimulation daily, both mentally and physically, then it usually keeps all these negative qualities at bay.
So, if you are looking for a smart and energetic dog to protect you and your house or apartment, then you have found what you are looking for.
The Schipperke is the perfect breed for an active person or family who can bring the dog with them along on all their adventures. These dogs make the best companions and will remain loyal to their owners until their very end.