• Overview

    Schipperkes are interesting little dogs from Belgium. Their name is Flemish for "little skipper" because that's just what they were — tiny guards for ships docked in the canals between Belgium and Antwerp. They hunted out rats and vermin with their quick, precise reflexes. They stand between 10 and 14 inches tall and don't weigh more than 15 pounds. Schipperkes, like their name, are funny little dogs. They have peculiar appearances and very particular behaviors, but they bond closely to their families and love to entertain their owners with their antics.

  • Personality

    The Schipperke is a quick-thinking dog and a fast mover. These clever little dogs have a fox-like expression and stand between 10 and 15 inches tall. Nothing escapes them — they tend to notice everything about their surroundings and they are often vocal about what they find. Schipperkes are very protective and possessive of their families. They get along well with children they know, but they might require extra socialization to be as warm and friendly with strangers as they are with their family.

    Schipperkes are smart, and they know how to throw off their owners. Training should be consistent and always firm. If it's not, Schipperkes will find creative ways to trick their owners and avoid obeying commands. They are active dogs and can be seemingly tireless, so they enjoy living somewhere with ample room to run and explore. Schipperkes are very busy. If they aren't occupied, and if they are not permitted to explore, they can be impetuous and mischievous.

  • Coat Care

    The Schipperke's black coat gives him the peculiar appearance of having been shaved on the bottom half. In reality, the hair on the Schipperke's legs, face and ears is very short in contrast to the long, stand-off coat that covers his body and the backs of his legs. This hair is harsh to the touch. The under coat is dense and short along the Schipperke's body. It is very dense around the neck and the backs of the legs, which defines the ruff and culottes. Schipperkes are often tailless, which adds to their unique silhouette.

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Schipperkes should be brushed with a medium-sized pin brush to remove any dead hair and help them maintain their shape.

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Schipperkes shed their dense under coats once or twice a year, during which time they will greatly appreciate a soothing warm bath to help remove the hair and keep them tidy.

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Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, it is simple to give your dog a haircut and save expensive trips to the groomer.

Dogs with double coats generally require regular trimming. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him.  Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, if needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

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Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

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Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Corgis, Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas and Collies have sensitive ears that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If your dog is prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

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Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.