Schipperke illustration
Utility

Schipperke

The Flemish barge dog whose name means ‘Little Skipper’

Breed characteristics

Size
Small
Exercise
Up to 1 hour per day
Size of home
Flat/ Apartment
Grooming
More than once a week
Coat length
Medium
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 12 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
No garden

About this breed

The breed was developed to keep down vermin on Belgian barges, and he was also adept as a watchdog. The word 'Schipperke' translates as 'little skipper' or 'little boatman' which credits his importance on the barges. In the 17th Century the Flemish held Sunday beauty contests for dogs and the Schipperkes competed in these wearing ornamental brass collars. Traditionally a working man's dog, the breed soared in popularity in 1885 after Queen Marie Henriette had a Schipperke as a pet and soon the breed became the most popular in Belgium.

The first Schipperkes arrived in England in 1887 and the first breed club formed in 1890.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Utility breed group

This group consists of miscellaneous breeds of dog mainly of a non-sporting origin, including the Bulldog, Dalmatian, Akita and Poodle. The name ‘Utility’ essentially means fitness for a purpose and this group consists of an extremely mixed and varied bunch, most breeds having been selectively bred to perform a specific function not included in the sporting and working categories. Some of the breeds listed in the group are the oldest documented breeds of dog in the world.

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Black
  • Cream
  • Gold

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Schipperke.

Breed watch

Category 1

Currently no points of concern specific to this breed have been identified for special attention by judges, other than those covered routinely by The Kennel Club breed standard.

Read more about Breed Watch

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

In October 2008, our Board agreed to record puppies that are born with naturally bobbed tails on registration certificates. The decision was made in order to help breeders identify which dogs or lines carry the tailless gene. The word bobtail is the only description of the tail which is accepted. The description of any other tail length or tails which are not naturally bobbed, such as full tail or legally docked will not be recorded. Confirmation of the tail status of puppies must be accompanied by veterinary certification (on practice headed paper) and sent with the litter registration form. As veterinary certification is required to record the status, this service is not available online.

More information

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