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This small, black dog was bred down from a type of sheepdog in Belgium. The Schipperke did do some herding, but he also served as a watchdog and vermin hunter on river barges. It was this occupation for which he was named – Schipperke translates to “little boatman.”
The Schipperke is a small, solid dog with a pointed, fox-like face. His diminutive appearance hides an extremely mischievous demeanor, and the Schipperke possesses a natural curiosity about everything in his surroundings.
Given his riverboat guarding history, he is quick to alert his owner to any perceived threats and is wary with strangers. He can easily become a “barker” unless this behavior is corrected early in life. He is quite an intelligent and independent breed, so thorough obedience training is highly recommended. Coat maintenance is easy with him – his double coat needs only an occasional bath and brush to keep it looking good.
In addition to their adorable faces, Schipperkes are also known for being predisposed to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – as well as your family’s finances. Some of the conditions and illnesses Schipperkes are prone to include eye conditions such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy; chronic diseases like diabetes; and skin conditions such as black hair follicular dysplasia and pemphigus foliaceus.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Schipperke inherits anything more than an independent streak, your pocketbook will be protected.