Showsight Presents the Schipperke

PROPOSAL TO REVISE THE SCHIPPERKE FCI STANDARD

Dog Genome Wheel created at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health.

3. Further changes required (back to the pre-2009 stan- dards) concern the shape and look of the Schipperke. Let us just mention three examples: a.) The shape of the head, which is more fox- than wolf- like. The Standard from 1888 to 1988 correctly stated that the head “approaches in type that of the fox,” whereas the 2009 revision uses the term “lupoid.” b.) The croup should be no “Guinea pig rump,” as the 2009 Standard claims. c.) The tail is normally “high and proud” (an article in Chasse et Péche , June 10, 1894), curled over the back rath- er than “preferably hanging down,” as the 2009 Standard wrongly suggests. With such changes, the FCI Standard would again con- form with both the scientific facts and the unique history of the Schipperke. Thanks to Per Jensen, Professor of Ethology at Linköping Uni- versity, for providing the genetic information; and to Dawn Ban- nister, author of The Historical Schipperke , for priceless feedback and encouragement. Chasse et Péche articles can be found in the book, The His- torical Schipperke , by Craig and Dawn Bannister, Copyright 2017. Historical Schipperke pictures used with permission.

1. The etymological roots of the name should be changed to “little boatman” or left open, as “small skipper” or “small boat captain” are well in line with historical evidence, and hence, are more plausible than “little shepherd.” There can be no doubt from the earliest articles on the breed that the name was chosen to mean “little boat dog.” With its deep genetic roots, the Schipperke cannot be described as originating from sheep dogs, and the idea of the Leuvenaar as a shared ancestor is highly contested and must be deleted from the Standard. It may well be worth mentioning that the breed has deep genetic roots, possibly even back to the 15th century, and that it was exhibited not just in Spa in 1882, but also existed as a distinct breed in Brussels by 1880. 2. Concerning the basic identity of the Schipperke, it should not be stated that it is “a sheepdog” with “sheepdog characteristics and tem- perament” and related to Belgian Shepherds, as all such formulations blatantly contradict genomic findings. Instead, its historical connec- tions to boat life and urban workshops should be mentioned and not concealed. The original 1888 Standard correctly described this little dog as “a faithful guard, whom we meet with so often on our canal boats,” whereas the 2009 version repeatedly defines it as a sheepdog without even once mentioning the historically crucial role as boat guard. The character of the breed was defined many times in the origi- nal Chasse et Péche articles, and this is the temperament and character that breeders should still strive for.

2019-11-22 Johan Fornäs, PhD at Göteborg University, Professor Emeritus at Södertörn University; Schipperke owner, Sweden; johan.fornas@sh.se; +46-(0)703402242; johanfornas.se Agneta Johansson, BA and Teacher Diploma at Göteborg University, BA at Skövde University; Schipperke breeder since 1968 at Kennel Corinna in Skövde, Sweden; corinnas0500@hotmail.com; +46-(0)707528201;corinnas.se

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2021 | 245

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