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.

* * * * *


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


* * * * *

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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