A Schipperke (pronounced skipper-key) is a small Belgian breed of dog that originated in the early 16th century. They are small in size, but big in character. There has been a long debate over whether this type of dog is a terrier, spitz or miniature sheepdog. more...
Schipperkes were first formed as a breed in the 1880s, their standard being written in 1889. Much of what is known of their origins and early history comes from Chasse et Peche (French for "Hunting and Fishing") magazine, articles of which were translated into English and published by the English magazine The Stockkeeper.
The breed name of "Schipperke", officially taken in 1888, is traditionally thought to mean "little captain". Beginning in the 1920s, however, it became popular in Belgium to believe that the name was actually a corruption of the Flemish word "Shapocke" or "Scheperke", meaning "little shepherd". It has been suggested that the idea of "little captain" was an invention of the English, who mistook the Schipperke for a Dutch barge dog.
Before the name "Schipperke" was officially taken, the breed was also known colloquially as "Spitzke". It is thought that the name change was to distinguish it from the German Spitz.
A Schipperke is an all-around dog: it has strong herding, hunting, and watching instincts. They are fearless and independent, smart and willful. They are a high-energy dog with an intense curiosity about everything and therefore require a great deal of attention and stimulation. Consistent, positive training is a must or life can become a contest of wills. Schipperkes, like many small breeds, seem not to realize that they are small dogs and behave as if they are much larger than they actually are. They also often act as though they are high in authority in whatever society they live. They also have the nickname little nurse and can be quiet bedside companions to a sick family member.
They are longer-lived than some breeds. A Schipperke generally lives from fifteen to twenty years, while most dogs live only around a dozen years.
Schipperkes are usually large in the middle and have little pointed faces with little pointy ears. This shape does not imply the dog is overweight, however.
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