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Breed: Schipperke
Temperament: independent, one person dog
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Maintenance: medium
Recommended for: active people

The first thing everyone notices about this breed is the name: Schipperke pronounced ‘skipper-key’. It’s said to mean ‘little skipper’ or ‘little captain’ as the dogs were often kept on canal boats in its home country of Belgium.


The Schipperke is a small dog around 33cm (13") tall and weighing 5-7.5kg (12-16lb) with a firm, double coat, foxy face and prick ears.

The dogs are almost always black (rarely cream or blue) and are usually docked although there are Schipperkes being bred and sold with tails.


The Schipperke is a very active, lively dog usually great with children, wary of strangers and very inquisitive. They are not a dog of extremes, ie: not great diggers, barkers or very destructive. However, they will take off if allowed. Prospective buyers shouldn’t think it’s a lapdog as longtime owners say the dogs have a ‘big-dog’ attitude in a compact body. They are also independent and known to be a one person dog.

Health, space, and exercise

A hardy breed with no notable health problems. They will adapt to a small yard as long as there’s someone to play with, and can keep up on long walks if necessary. Some owners report they can be greedy.


The Schipperke’s coat is very much like that of a Kelpie, shiny, firm and harsh to touch. Minimal grooming is required although the coat will shed heavily twice a year as the season changes. A good daily brush at these times should remove most loose hair.

Ideal owner

Schipperkes are said to be an adaptable housedog suited to families with children or older people. Most are good watchdogs and are a good size for indoor life.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409