Sea travelers don’t need to search further for the best sea trip companion. The Schipperke is the perfect mate because it is incredibly developed to have a low center of gravity, meaning it is not prone to sea sickness. On board, this dog is game about anything because it stays agile, brave and dependable.


This small breed of dog is of Belgian origins and said to have first appeared during the early 16th century. Its body is thickset, round and compact and its face resembles that of a fox. All Schipperkes must be of color black and that other shades are considered disqualifications.

Aside from being fox-like and all black, there are also other unique features noticeable of a Schipperke. One of the most distinct features would probably be the coat that stands as a ruff, cape and culottes of the dog. The ruff is a remarkable adornment around a Schipperke’s neck as it wounds around, down to the expanse of its back.

It has small, pointed and erect ears that rest on top of its head and it has a short docked tail. Most Schipperkes are born without a tail or with a very short one. Upon a few months from birth the grown out tails are docked but in some cases like in the US or Canada, the tails are docked right after birth.

The Schipperke is a not a heavy shedder and that it has a rough-to-the-touch topcoat and a soft and luscious undercoat. The topcoat is always in shades of black while the undercoat may be in a slightly lighter color. In order to keep this dog beautiful, the coat must be trimmed regularly and be brushed weekly.

Also called the “Tasmanian Black Devil” or the “little black devil”, the Schipperke is one headstrong, independent and hardheaded little creature. It is overflowing with energy, very inquisitive and when it is hit with boredom, it destroys things it finds interesting. Sometimes, when the master gives orders, it intentionally ignores or refuses the must to obey.

The word schipperke was used by the English to mean “little sailor”. Recent studies showed, however, that this word was borrowed from the Dutch word “schapocke” or “scheperke” which means “little shepherd”. Moreover, the Belgian Sheepdog or the Groenendael holds a strict resemblance with the Schipperke.

The English regarded the Schipperke as a Dutch barge dog since it is often seen in barges in the canals usually patrolling, hunting vermin and towing horses. The US still calls this breed Belgian Barge Dog or the Belgian Ship Dog. During WWII, the Belgian Resistance used this breed as messengers against the Nazi and went undetected for years.

  • Confident, Alert, Curious
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 105 of 193
  • Height: 11-13 inches (male), 10-12 inches (female)
  • Weight: 10-16 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Non-Sporting Group

Schipperke Club of America

Club Website