Schipperkes is pronounced shipperky. To us in South Africa, it's a hard word to spell! Folk write shiperky, shippertjie, shippyky, and all sorts!
Schipperkes were known in Belgium in the early 16th Century, where they have been used as shepherds (sheep dogs). They were recognised as a breed in the 1880s. A breed standard was written in 1889.
Later, a few dogs were used as barge dogs. (This was not their original function) Canals were dug & waterways constructed. Barges (boats) were used to transport cargo from town to town. Often, the barge also housed the captain, his family, & his little dog. The dog was useful to chase rats off the boat, and to guard the boat.
A small dog, Schipperkes easily fit in to households where space is limited. Schipperkes have good natures & love fun.
A spitz type dog, the coat is harsh, with a mane round the neck, & long hair on hind legs.
It is said to be a forerunner of another, bigger Belgian breed, the Groenendael Belgian Shepherd.
Colour: Black. Blond is acceptable, but it's scarce.
height at shoulder: 22 - 23 cms