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The Schipperke








The Schipperke may fitly be described as the Paul Pry of canine
society. His insatiate inquisitiveness induces him to poke his nose
into everything; every strange object excites his curiosity, and he
will, if possible, look behind it; the slightest noise arouses his
attention, and he wants to investigate its cause. There is no end
to his liveliness, but he moves about with almost catlike agility
without upsetting any objects in a room, and when he hops he has a
curious way of catching up his hind legs. The Schipperke's disposition
is most affectionate, tinged with a good deal of jealousy, and even
when made one of the household he generally attaches himself more
particularly to one person, whom he owns, and whose protection he
deems his special duty.

These qualities endear the Schipperke as a canine companion, with
a quaint and lovable character; and he is also a capital vermin dog.
When properly entered he cannot be surpassed as a ratter.

Schipperkes have always been kept as watch-dogs on the Flemish canal
barges, and that, no doubt, is the origin of the name, which is the
Flemish for Little Skipper, the syllable ke forming the diminutive
of schipper.

The respectable antiquity of this dog is proved by the result of the
researches Mr. Van der Snickt and Mr. Van Buggenhoudt made in the
archives of Flemish towns, which contain records of the breed going
back in pure type over a hundred years.

The first Schipperke which appeared at a show in this country was
Mr. Berrie's Flo. This was, however, such a mediocre specimen that
it did not appeal to the taste of the English dog-loving public. In
1888 Dr. Seelig brought over Skip, Drieske, and Mia. The first-named
was purchased by Mr. E. B. Joachim, and the two others by Mr. G. R.
Krehl. Later on Mr. Joachim became the owner of Mr. Green's Shtoots,
and bought Fritz of Spa in Belgium, and these dogs formed the nucleus

of the two kennels which laid the foundation of the breed in England.

It was probably the introduction of the Schipperke to England that
induced Belgian owners to pay greater attention to careful breeding,
and a club was started in 1888 in Brussels, whose members, after long
and earnest consideration, settled a description and standard of
points for the breed.

Not long afterwards the Schipperke Club (England) was inaugurated,
and drew up the following standard of points, which was adopted in
December, 1890, and differed only very slightly from the one
acknowledged by the Belgian society and later by the St. Hubert
Schipperke Club.

* * * * *

STANDARD OF POINTS OF THE SCHIPPERKE CLUB, ENGLAND: HEAD--Foxy in
type; skull should not be round, but broad, and with little stop.
The muzzle should be moderate in length, fine but not weak, should
be well filled out under the eyes. NOSE--Black and small.
EYES--Dark brown, small, more oval than round, and not full; bright,
and full of expression. EARS--Shape: Of moderate length, not too
broad at the base, tapering to a point. Carriage: Stiffly erect,
and when in that position the inside edge to form as near as possible
a right angle with the skull and strong enough not to be bent
otherwise than lengthways. TEETH--Strong and level. NECK--Strong and
full, rather short, set broad on the shoulders and slightly arched.
SHOULDERS--Muscular and sloping. CHEST--Broad and deep in brisket.
BACK--Short, straight, and strong. LOINS--Powerful, well drawn up
from the brisket. FORE-LEGS--Perfectly straight, well under the body,
with bone in proportion to the body. HIND-LEGS--Strong, muscular,
hocks well let down. FEET--Small, catlike, and standing well on the
toes. NAILS--Black. HIND-QUARTERS--Fine compared to the fore-parts,
muscular and well-developed thighs, tailless, rump well rounded.
COAT--Black, abundant, dense, and harsh, smooth on the head, ears
and legs, lying close on the back and sides, but erect and thick round
the neck, forming a mane and frill, and well feathered on back of
thighs. WEIGHT--About twelve pounds. GENERAL APPEARANCE--A small cobby
animal with sharp expression, intensely lively, presenting the
appearance of being always on the alert. DISQUALIFYING POINTS--Drop,
or semi-erect ears. FAULTS--White hairs are objected to, but are not
disqualifying.

* * * * *

The back of the Schipperke is described as straight, but it
should round off at the rump, which should be rotund and full,
guinea-pig-like. The continued straight line of a terrier's back
is not desirable, but it will frequently be found in specimens that
have been docked. The Belgian standard requires the legs to be fine,
and not have much bone. The bone of a terrier is only met with in
coarse Schipperkes. As to size, it need only be noted that the maximum
of the small size, viz., 12 lbs., is that generally preferred in
England, as well as in Belgium. Further, it is only necessary to
remark that the Schipperke is a dog of quality, of distinct
characteristics, cobby in appearance, not long in the back, nor high
on the leg; the muzzle must not be weak and thin, nor short and blunt;
and, finally, he is not a prick-eared, black wire-haired terrier.

The Schipperke's tail, or rather its absence, has been the cause of
much discussion, and at one time gave rise to considerable acrimonious
feeling amongst fanciers. On the introduction of this dog into Great
Britain it arrived from abroad with the reputation of being a tailless
breed, but whether Belgian owners accidentally conveyed that
impression or did it purposely to give the breed an additional
distinction is difficult to say. Anyhow the Schipperke is no more
tailless than the old English Sheepdog. That is to say a larger
number of individuals are born without any caudal appendage or only
a stump of a tail than in any other variety of dogs. It is said that
a docked dog can be told from one that has been born tailless in this
way; when the docked animal is pleased, a slight movement at the end
of the spine where the tail was cut off is discernible, but the
naturally tailless dog sways the whole of its hind-quarters.





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Previous: The Poodle



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