The Schipperke is a small, thickset, tailless black dog with a thick, medium-short double coat and a standout ruff around his neck. The body is short and compact, looking square when viewed from the side. In silhouette, the topline appears to slope gently down from the withers. The chest is wide and should reach to the elbows. The head is fox-like: a wedge with a pointed muzzle and full underjaw. The small oval eyes are dark brown with a mischievous, questioning, and alert expression. The small, erect ears are triangular in shape. The tail is docked. The nose is always black. The teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. Dewclaws may be removed from the front legs and must be removed from the hind legs if you wish to show the dog.
The Schipperke (pronounced skipper-key) originated in Belgium, and became a favorite choice to guard canal barges there, hence the name, which in Flemish means "little captain." This breed was also used as a ratter and watchdog in homes and shops in town, and around the barn on farms. The Schipperke became very popular in Belgian households and among shopkeepers—in fact, in 1690, tradesmen organized a Schipperke show, which might have been the first specialty show for any breed. The Schipperke was elevated to royal status when Queen Marie Henriette purchased one in 1885. Today the Schipperke serves primarily as a companion dog.
Loyal with the family and good with children, but wary of strangers. Protective and an excellent watchdog. Very energetic, curious, and agile. A big dog in a little dog's body. Highly intelligent, but might be quite willful. Easy to train with positive methods, but becomes bored with too much repetition. Be careful to keep small pets such as rodents and birds safely out of reach. Friendly with other dogs if properly socialized.