Schipperke is an ancient breed originated in Belgium. It developed around the 16th century, and there has been an informal debate about its type whether it’s a miniature sheepdog or a spitz. It is assumed that it descended from Leauvenaar, a black sheepdog. The same has been credited for the foundation of Belgian Sheepdog matured to become a herding breed and Schipperke to be a watchdog. These dogs guarded the boats that moved between Antwerp and Brussels canals.
Schipperke appeared in the specialty shows for the first time in 1690. It was not famous until Queen Marie Henriette saw them at Brussels dog show in 1885. It became popular and was imported to the USA in 1888.
They were earlier known as Spits or Spitske, but in 1888 the breed club developed and renamed the breed as Schipperke. Specialty club was created in 1905, but in 1929 the official breed club ‘Schipperke Club of America’ was established. Presently, it ranks 82 amongst the 155 breeds, and several significant clubs recognize it.
Temperament & Personality
Curiosity, mischievousness, and agility identify Schipperkes. It is always busy and active, it still shows interest in everything going around. They have boundless energy and seldom walk if they get an opportunity to run. They can quickly adapt to apartment life, only if they get free space to move.
Schipperkes have stubborn nature with huge prey drive and run after any moving object mainly it targets the small animals and rodents. It is a heavy barker and can become aggressive anytime by its moods and start a fight with other dogs. They become good playmates for family pets, particularly cats if they grow up together.
It is brilliant and smart, but too much adamant that it challenges its owner’s instructions and commands. Therefore, first-time owners should not opt for this breed. But they bond with a family member whom they choose because they are very choosy and selective while selecting a human companion or friend.
Being extremely energetic they require a heavy exercising schedule. Taking them for long walks and jogs, allowing them to move around freely or offering them playtime in an enclosed yard will be sufficient. Owners can also take them to Dogs Park where they can run about freely and meet new people and friends. However, it is essential to supervise as they can suddenly turn up against another pet. Additionally, to keep these puppies busy and mentally active offer them toys or chews.
Schipperkes’ dense double coat needs regular brushing to maintain their gloss. Brush with a firm bristle brush to make their coat tangle and dirt free. They have a cleaning nature and do not need frequent baths, but it is necessary to bath them when they are incredibly filthy. Also, during their shedding season brush them twice a day to remove their dead furs and to keep them matt free.
They can get ear infections due to water, dirt buildup and needs regular checking to prevent infections and pain. Clean their ears with Vet prescribed ear solution. Brush their teeth twice a week to avoid development tartar and oral problems. Like other breeds, they also grow nails faster which can get crackled if not appropriately trimmed and hinder regular activities like walking, running, etc. They do not drool or have tear stains, but cleaning their corner of the eyes with a damp cloth will keep it clean.
There is no particular health problem found in this breed, but due to its active and playful it develops general issues that are found in other dogs of the same size. Due to excess walking and running it suffers from hip dysplasia, sometimes their hip sockets slip. Other general problems found in them are epilepsy, hypothyroid, progressive retinal atrophy, leg calves perthes, cataracts and MPS 111B (Mucopolysaccharidosis), this disease is unveiled recently.
Start training session when the pet is in its early ages. Obedience and socialization are crucial to make them well mannered. Taking them to parks will allow them to meet new dogs and socialize them. Also, take them to busy places like bus stops, busy supermarket, these areas will make it face different situations and socialize them. Ask neighbors and friends to visit house often, so it familiarizes with new faces.
They are very stubborn and training them is a challenging task, owners can seek help from the professional trainers or enroll them in doggie kindergartens. It is advisable to be a master while walking, it will resolve the pack leader problems. They need a consistent trainer to train them, but positive reinforcement with many pats and treats will make it learn quickly. Also, offer them a variety of training classes to prevent boredom.
Schipperkes do well on highly nutritious and well-balanced diet with a high protein and calorie content. Owners can feed them dry dog food or homemade food, but they should check its food intake. It tends to eat more which can result in different health problems.
If owners choose to offer dry food, make sure to opt for the food that is made for dogs with same energy levels and size. However, 1 1/5- 1 1/8 cups of dry food every day will suffice its energy requirements. For better digestion divide meals into two halves. Owners can also opt for raw food diet.
Food intake depends upon the activity level, dog size, characteristics, and nature. Hence, it is sensible to consult a dietician or a vet for a proper diet chart.