Curious and clever, the Schipperke dog breed is often nicknamed LBD, for little black devil. He’s fearless and devoted, always on guard to protect his family from harm. His small size and easy-care coat are attractive qualities, but his intelligence and curiosity can lead him into trouble.
he Schipperke was bred in Flanders by a canal boat captain named Renssens. It was descended from a 40-pound (18 kg) black sheepdog, known as the Leauvenaar, which is the same sheep-herding stock that the black Belgian Sheepdog descended from. The Schipperke was bred smaller and smaller and eventually became a different breed entirely. The dogs became a favorite choice to guard canal barges in Belgium. The breed was used for herding livestock, hunting game or simply guarding his domain.
In Flemish the word “schip” means boat, hence where they got their name “Schipperke.” They earned the nickname “Little Captain” and “Little Skipper” because the dogs were the “ratters,” a very important function on a canal barge, and also usually the captain’s dog. The breed became very popular in Belgian households by the late 1800s. It first appeared at a dog show in 1880. From that point on it was exported throughout the world. Schipperkes do very well on boats and people often get this breed to come along with them on boating and fishing trips. It makes a great guard dog when the boat anchors for the night, alerting of anything out of the ordinary and the dog thoroughly enjoys its trip.
Their small, pointed ears are erect atop the head. Schipperkes are double coated with a soft, fluffy undercoat that is covered by a harsher-feeling and longer outer coat. One of the breed characteristics is a long ruff that surrounds the neck and then a strip trails down towards the rear of the dog. They also have longer fur on their hind legs called culottes. The breed is black, or blonde (some blondes have a silkier coat), and the coat is shiny. Dogs of this breed usually weigh 3–9 kg (7–20 lbs).
Known for a stubborn, mischievous, and headstrong temperament, it also chases small animals. The Schipperke is sometimes referred to as the “little black fox”, the “Tasmanian black devil”, or the “little black devil”. They are naturally curious and high-energy dogs and require ample exercise and supervision. Schipperkes are very smart and independent; and sometimes debate listening to owners, instead choosing to do whatever benefits them the most, and are not necessarily the proper dog for a first-time dog owner. Schipperkes require training and a secure, fenced-in space to run. They are formidable barkers and can be aggressive with other dogs. Otherwise they are overall good dogs, and their personality is a matter of how they are raised, and who they are around. They often have a high prey drive, focusing on rodents and small animals, and can excel at obedience and agility competitions.
While he’s incredibly cute, smart, and funny, the Schipperke can be a handful for a first-time dog owner. If you have patience, time, and a great sense of humor, however, you may find that he’s the only dog for you. There’s no doubt that with this little breed as a companion, your life will never be dull.