Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Schipperkes: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Schipperke temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Schipperke dog breed

Schipperke Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2016

The AKC Standard describes the Schipperke as "questioning, mischievous, impudent... interested in everything around him."

Indeed, this is one of the most inquisitive and impulsive of all breeds. The Schipperke is busy, busy, busy and seldom walks when he can trot or scamper.

The Schipperke should always be kept on-leash (for he is an extremely fast, agile, independent chaser of anything that moves) or in a secure yard, preferably supervised, because his ingenuity and climbing/digging skills may send him over or under the fence.

Possessed of extraordinary senses and an inherent suspicion of strangers, the Schipperke sleeps lightly and makes a keen, vigilant watchdog. He is convinced that he is a big dog and may physically challenge an intruder foolish enough to ignore his sharp, penetrating bark.

With dogs and cats in his own family, he is usually fine. With strange pets who invade his domain, he can be scrappy. He has a high prey drive and is likely to harass small caged pets, and with his quick reflexes and light-footed agility, creatures that run won't get far.

This little rascal does best with owners who are firm, confident, and consistent. He has a marked stubborn streak, strong likes and dislikes, a mischievous sense of humor, and will take clever advantage if indulged.

Schipperkes are proud and sensitive and do not react kindly to being harshly handled or teased. Some can be hard to housebreak, and their barking must be kept under control.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is unusual-looking: a little black spitz-like dog with a foxy face, thick coat, rounded rump, and docked tail
  • Is one of the most dynamic, intense, and curious of all breeds
  • Is quick-moving and agile and thrives on athletic activites and interactive games
  • Makes an extremely keen watchdog
  • Is usually hardy and long-lived

A Schipperke may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Very high activity level
  • Destructiveness when bored or left alone too much
  • Suspiciousness toward strangers
  • Potential aggression toward other animals -- strong chasing instincts
  • Escape attempts and running away
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Lots of barking
  • Shedding
  • Slowness to housebreak

A Schipperke may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Schipperke

If I was considering a Schipperke, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Schipperkes are active go-getters. They MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. I strongly recommend that you get your Schipperke involved in obedience classes at the intermediate or advanced level, in agility (an obstacle course for dogs), or in tracking.

  2. Suspiciousness toward strangers. Standoffish by nature, Schipperkes need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become extreme suspiciousness, which is difficult to live with and could even lead to biting.

  3. Animal aggression. Many Schipperkes are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!

    Schipperkes cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.

  4. Fence security. Many Schipperkes are clever escape artists who will go over or under fences in search of adventure. To keep your Schipperke in, you may need higher fences than you might imagine for their small size. You may also need to sink wire into the ground along the fence line to thwart digging. Gates should have the highest quality locks.

  5. The strong temperament. Schipperkes have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and many are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Schipperke to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Schipperke Training Page discusses the program you need.

  6. Barking. Schipperkes are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. If you work all day and have close neighbors, Schipperkes are not a good choice for you. For the same reason, Schipperkes should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised. To make matters worse, many Schipperkes have intense, high-pitched barks that can set your teeth on edge.

  7. Heavy shedding. Schipperkes shed a goodly amount, mostly during the spring and fall, but in our climate-controlled houses, some hair comes out all through the year.

  8. Housebreaking. Expect four to six months of consistent crate training before you see results.

book cover To learn more about training Schipperkes to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Schipperke the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Schipperke. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Schipperke might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Schipperke home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Schipperke...

When you're acquiring a Schipperke PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Schipperkes who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter