Schipperke by Getty Images
The Schipperke's name means "little captain" in Flemish, and that well describes the personality of this peppy, confident dog. The Schipperke (SKIP-er-kee) needs to make sure everything is shipshape. He wants to know where people are and what they're up to.
The Schip has a can-do attitude. He is quick-thinking and quick-moving. He is unaware of his small size, and eagerly enters into play with dogs of any kind or size.
The Schip shares a common ancestry with the Groenendael, the large black Belgian Sheepdog. In the seventeenth century, the Schip was bred to be small because he lived in small shoe shops and on canal barges. He was used as a guard dog and ratter.
Schips are always black. Their double coat has a stand-up ruff, a "cape," and full-coated trousers. Their appearance is foxy: pointed noses and upright ears, and "cobby," meaning short-bodied. Their coat needs only a once-a-week brushing. Their tails are traditionally docked.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: An agile, active watchdog and hunter of vermin, thickset and cobby, with a fox-like face.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--males, 11 to 13 inches at withers; females, 10 to 12 inches.
One beautiful Schipperke can be seen in Beatrix Potter's book The Pie and the Patty Pan. This Schip, Duchess, entertains her hostess by performing tricks for her and has other adventures.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.