What is a Schipperke ?

This question is often asked of owners of this wonderful breed "What is a Schipperke?", or  "What breed is that?".    

So let us tell you........

Schipperkes, sometimes called Belgian Barge Dogs, are small, playful, lovable, curious, alert, very active, very smart and great companions.  They are big dogs in small packages.

Schipperkes are always prepared to protect their family and possessions from dangers.  Curiosity is part of their nature and anything considered by them as 'out of the ordinary' is suspicious and must be investigated, even a door that is normally open will be inspected when closed.  Nothing escapes examination and with their exceptionally keen hearing they will warn you of the approach of strangers.

They love children. They love riding in motor cars.  They also love to run and jump and have been likened to "energizer bunnies" of the battery ad.  They never seem to run out of energy.  Long walks never faze Schipperkes but they will exercise themselves in a small area.

Natural instinct kicks in when this very quick and agile dog is out to catch vermin.  Rats and mice very soon get to know where Schipperkes patrol and will avoid the area or they are likely to end up dead.

These small dogs are  a "wash and wear" breed.  That means that they require very little grooming.  A good brush once a week will keep the coat clean and shining.  This breed also does not have a "doggy odour".  The coat is a double one which means a harsh outer layer of guard hairs covers a shorter, softer undercoat which makes for an almost waterproof covering.  A couple of times a year the old coat will shed and a new, shiny one will quickly take its place.  It is advisable to remove the old coat as soon as possible once shedding starts.  Bathing,  brushing, blowing-drying, combing are all methods that may be used to remove the loose hair.

Usually black in colour, although other whole colours do occur, however the main colour as allowed by the standard, is black.


          Schipperke love children

Breed Standard

The breed standard is the blueprint of what a Schipperke should be.  The standard for Schipperkes may vary slightly from country to country but the following is the one which we use in Australia.


General Appearance: Small cobby active dog, with sharp foxy expression.

Characteristics: Intensely lively and alert.

Temperament: Amenable, intelligent and faithful.

Head and Skull: Skull not round, but fairly broad, flat, with little stop. Muzzle moderate in length, fine but not weak, well filled under eyes. Nose Black and small.

Eyes: Dark brown, more oval than round, not full; bright, most expressive.

Ears: Moderate length, not too broad at base, tapering to a point. Carried stiffly erect and strong enough not to be bent otherwise than lengthways.

Mouth: Jaws strong, with perfect regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Neck: Strong and full, rather short, set broad on shoulders, slightly arched.

Body: Chest broad and deep in brisket. Back short, straight and strong. Loins powerful, well drawn up from brisket.

Forequarters: Shoulders muscular and sloping. Legs perfectly straight, well under the body, bone in proportion to the body.

Hindquarters: Fine compared with forequarters; muscular and well-developed thighs; well rounded rump. Legs strong, muscular, hocks well let down.

Feet: Small, cat-like, and standing well on the toes.

Tail: Preferably docked

Gait: Movement: Short, brisk stride, moving true fore and aft.

Coat: Abundant, dense and harsh; smooth on head, ears and legs; lying close on back and side; erect and thick round neck, forming a mane and frill; with good culottes on the back of thighs.

Colour: Usually black but other whole colours permissible.

Size: Weight: about 5.5-7.5 kgs (12-16 lbs)

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Notes: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.