The Schipperke is a breed of dog originating in Belgium, known in that country as the "small shepherd" and noted for its distinctive dense black coat and a short tail that curls over its back.

General details

The weight of the breed ranges between 3 and 9 kilograms and its height at the withers varies between 25 and 33 centimeters. According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), this breed belongs to Group 1, which includes shepherd dogs and cattle dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs). It is estimated that Schipperkes usually live between 12 and 16 years.

Breed history in brief

The Schipperke is a breed of dog originating from Belgium, specifically from the Flanders region. Its history dates back to the 17th century, where it was known as a companion dog and guardian of ships and farms. Its name derives from "schipper", which means "captain" in Dutch, due to its close relationship with sailors and navigators. During the 19th century, it became popular among the aristocracy and the working class, and was exhibited at dog shows. In today's society, the Schipperke is mostly used as a companion dog.

Breed characteristics

The Schipperke has a short but broad and compact body. The head is wedge-shaped and the small eyes are almond-shaped, dark brown in color and intense in expression. The ears are small, pointed and triangular, and the tail can be carried drooping in repose and raised in action. However, some specimens are born without a tail or with an incomplete tail. Their coat is dense, double and weather resistant. The undercoat is soft and dense, while the outer coat is harsh and rough. The hair on the neck and shoulders forms a sort of characteristic "collar". The most common color is solid black, although color variations such as chocolate and blond are also found. Some Schipperkes have a small white spot on the chest. The Schipperke is an alert and energetic watchdog, aloof with strangers, but affectionate with children. It is curious, active and always busy, showing a distinctive voice and a protective attitude. His ability as a hunter also highlights his temperament.

Common health problems

The Schipperke, with optimal care and attention, can enjoy a long healthy life, although it is predisposed to certain health problems. Among the most common diseases or disorders are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy and Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome.

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