The Schipperke is a small, cobby dog, square-proportioned, appearing to slope from shoulders to croup.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Schipperke’s abundant double coat is straight and slightly harsh to the touch, with a soft, dense undercoat. The coat should never be silky or excessively long or short.
The Schipperke coat will need to be brushed two to three times per week to keep shedding under control and prevent mats from forming. Twice a year the dog will blow coat, meaning his entire undercoat will shed to make room for new growth. During these periods, daily brushing is a must. A warm bath can also help release the hair and make maintenance more manageable. Schipperkes do not require trimming or clipping.
Keep the ears clean and dry. Check them weekly for redness or a bad odor that might indicate infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball moistened with a mild pH-balanced cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Exercise Tips

Schipperkes are very active, energetic, and busy little dogs. A brisk daily walk or a romp in a fenced yard will provide needed exercise. They love playing and exploring, and they thrive in households that have the time and patience to properly train them and appreciate their playful personalities. Schips can also let off steam racing around the house or apartment.
With this said, Schipperke puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.

Feeding Tips

Like so many other breeds, this dog enjoys a good cut of meat, and you can get wholesome, nutritional food like vegetables into its diet by mixing this meat in with those ingredients. Because they’re so small, they can be a bit prone to weight gain, so be sure not to over-feed them. Gaining a pound as a Schipperke is not the same as gaining a pound as a St. Bernard.
If you get a Schipperke puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It’s also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog’s life by several years so it’s important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet or the dog’s breeder if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should always be available.

Health Tips

The average life expectancy of the Schipperke is 12 to 15 years. Schipperkes are generally healthy dogs, and reputable breedersscreentheir breeding stock for health concerns such as luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (hip problems), eye problems, and thyroid problems. Breeders can also test for MPS IIIB, a newly recognized and fatal disease that usually shows up by 2-4 years of age as balance problems, and avoid producing the disease by identifying carriers and breeding them appropriately. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog has a long, healthy life.


Difficult to housebreak sometimes, this dog is energetic and friendly, but shouldn’t test your patience too much in its actual training. Instead, it can be surprisingly responsive, which isn’t always the case in smaller dogs with a lot of energy. Making sure that you train this dog to be highly understanding of its role in the household is important, though they will sometimes take to this role somewhat naturally. With persistent and patient owners, they can learn almost anything and can excel in sports such as obedience and agility. Some also do quite well at herding.


The Schipperkes were developed in Belgium in the late 1600’s in order to create a small companion and watchdog. This breed is a smaller version of the sheepdog known as the Leauvenaar, and for many years they were a favorite watch and companion dog on canal boats which is where they received their ‘little captain’ name.
They were first brought to the United States in 1888, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1904. A breed club was formed in 1905 but went by the wayside during World War I. The current Schipperke club was established in 1929. The Schipperke ranks 102nd among the breeds registered by the AKC.