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Should Every Home Have A Schipperke?
 
The Schipperke, pronounced "Skip-er-key", is Flemish for "Little Captain". The breed originated in the Flemish provinces of Belgium, and served as a companion, guard dog and hunter of vermin.
 
In appearance the Schipperke is very distinctive, resembling no other breed. It has a close undercoat, which keeps it warm in the winter, sheds water or dirt and needs little attention to keep it well groomed. The dog has a short, cobby body, a foxy face, and no tail. Schipperkes are always solid black. Adult males will have a thicker coat than the females. Schipperkes are a small breed, ranging from 10"-13" high at the shoulder and weighing no more than 18 pounds.
 
Do Schipperkes have any inherited health problems?
Generally no, although epilepsy, thyroid deficiency and Legge-Perthes occasionally occur. They are one of the hardiest of small dogs. Schipperkes are usually a long-lived dog for a small breed, with dogs of 12-15 years not uncommon.
 
Do they shed?
YES, YES, YES! They "blow" their coat at least twice a year (spring and fall), and you always wonder how such a small dog can lose so much hair (1 to 2 grocery bags full). The shedding period is short (1 to 2 weeks), and regular brushing and bathing gets rid of much of the loose hair. When not shedding, Schipperkes do not lose much hair and require brushing only to keep them neat.
 
Are they good with kids?
Generally yes, as long as young children are properly instructed and supervised when playing with the dog. Schipperkes are excellent for kids interested in Junior Showmanship or 4-H. Prospective owners need to discuss Schips and kids on a case-by-case basis.
 
What is it like to live with a Schipperke?
Have you ever heard of a Black Tornado? The Schipperke is busy, curious, very active and inquisitive. They are high energy, not hyperactive. Equipment such as fences, leashes, crates and baby gates are standard requirements for the Schipperke owner. Some Schipperkes will stand on their hind legs, wave their front legs and "pattycake" when they want something. They are stubborn but smart, eager to please but independent.
 
Are they "yappy" little dogs?
No, but they are watchdogs and will bark when something out of the ordinary happens. Some of them are vocal enough to "talk" to you when they want something, but they don't bark without good reason.
 
Should they be obedience trained?
Yes. Most Schipperkes enjoy obedience training, although they tend to invent their own versions of the different exercises. They are very independent, and obedience training teaches them their household limits. REMEMBER - a loose Schipperke is a gone Schipperke!!! A good basic obedience class will teach you how to prevent this.
 
Should we spay or neuter our Schipperke?
Not all Schipperkes are of breeding quality. Spaying and neutering will eliminate major reproductive diseases as the dog gets older. Ovarian, mammary, uterine and prostate cancers are the most common to all breeds. Spaying and neutering at a young age (6 months) will eliminate behavior problems associated with the teenager stage (10 to18 months) that all dogs go through on the way to adulthood.

Dogs with major faults, e.g., bad bites or undescended testicles, should NOT be bred. Males who are used as stud dogs DO NOT make the best house pets, as they will most likely urinate all over to mark territory. Bitches do not have to have a litter of pups to "feel complete". By the time puppies are seven weeks old, the mother is ready to kick them out, never wanting to see them again.
 
What if I want a litter of puppies?
First you need to find a quality stud dog at least 6 months before she comes in season. Stud dog owners will require a brucellosis test (blood test for canine venereal disease) before they will breed your female. You will have to make arrangements to get her to the stud dog and be prepared to leave her for about 10 days.

Schipperke puppies are very tiny (3 oz) at birth, so any weight loss of 10% can cause major problems. Birthing somehow seems to always occur in the middle of the night, and Cesarean sections are not uncommon in Schips. If "mom" refuses to care for them, which can easily happen, you have 3 weeks of tube feeding and "pottying" to look forward to.
 
Tails!
Schipperke tails need to be removed at the age of 3-5 days . You need a veterinarian experienced with Schipperkes to do tail docks and dew claw removal. Most vets do not want to do this surgery.
 
 
 

Send correspondence to:
Meredith Schmidt, Secretary
Central Rockies Schipperke Club of Greater Denver
6495 Happy Canyon Rd. #92
Denver, CO 80237
Email: CRSCSecretary@Schipperke.com