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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

Schipperke

The Schipperke is a Belgian breed which originated during the 16th century and officially became a breed during the 1800s. The origins of the breed are often debated; the dog is either a member of the terrier, spitz, or miniature sheepdog family. The breed was once a working breed which provided security and vermin-control on Belgian barges. The breed is still an excellent boat dog. During World War II the breed was used for running messages between resistance hideouts and cells.

The Schipperke generally has a black coat, but colors such as cream, gray, and white may be accepted. It weighs 7 to 20 pounds and has a double coat. The Schipperke has a long ruff which surrounds its neck, small pointed ears, and typically has a docked tail.

The Schipperke is an excellent companion if properly socialized. It also is fearless and independent and has strong hunting, herding, and watch-dog instincts. The breed requires a good deal of attention and stimulation and is happiest with another canine companion. The Schipperke is a quick learner and should be trained from an early age. When properly trained it is said to be able to understand new commands with only a few repetitions due to its obedient nature.

The breed can typically live 17 to 18 years. The breed may suffer from a genetic mutation called MPS IIIB which affects 15% of Shipperkes.

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Schipperke