Showsight Presents the Schipperke

SO, JUST WHAT ARE SCHIPPERKES LIKE ANYWAY? A LIGHT-HEARTED INTRODUCTION TO THIS UNIQUE BREED.

By Kristin Morrison

F or anyone who has ever owned a Schipperke before, you need not be told about this wonderfully captivat- ing little breed. For those who are inquisitive about this unique breed, here is a candid view of the Schipperke. Th ey are often referred to as a big dog in a small package, or to those of us who love them, as little black devils. You must know in advance that the reference to them being devilish, is meant with love, and to really know this breed is to love it! Th ey average anywhere between 10-18 pounds as a mature adult, and are about a foot tall, females are typically smaller. Schipperkes have a distinct pattern and texture of their coat which includes a thick double-coat (this breed does shed). Th is along with the lack of a tail, adds to the unique look of this breed. Schipperkes originated in Belgium and were used as vermin hunters on the canal boats in the provinces. Many shopkeepers also employed a Schipperke’s services as rat

hunter and watchdog. For the size of these dogs, they certainly pack a much larger bark than would be expected. Schipperkes of today are mostly com- panion dogs, for most any type of family or home environment. Many of them still hold that “ratter” instinct, and are active and suc- cessful hunters of moles and the like. Schipperkes are active dogs that very much enjoy such activities as hiking, walks, boating (with proper precautions), couch lounging, toy tossing, or simply just playing in the yard. Th ey also enjoy some light gardening (some do dig) and being messenger to alert of visitors (they do bark). Most Schipperkes do get along with oth- er dogs and often enjoy having a “playmate”. Schipperkes can make good family dogs because they are a ff ectionate, and are good with children (if raised and social- ized properly), but can tolerate more active endeavors and family outings as well. Th ey can be protective of family members, but are easily assured of a welcomed guest. You must know that Schipperkes can tend to be stubborn (but then again, who of

202 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014

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