The Schipperke (pronounced skipper-key) is an agile, small, tailless dog with the face of a fox. They are squarely built and wear a distinctive black coat that forms a sloping silhouette from shoulder to rear end. The coat is thick, medium-short and creates a thick ruff around the neck. The chest is wide. The fox-like head is wedge-shaped with a tapering, pointed muzzle. The eyes are small, oval and dark brown. Schipperkes generally have a mischievous look in their eye. The ears are erect, sit high atop the head and are triangular.
Size and Weight
The ideal height for male Schipperkes is from 11 to 13 inches at the withers and for females, 10 to 12 inches. Though there is no specific weight requirements, they typically weigh 18 pounds or less. Square proportion and quality of the dog are more important than actual measurements.
Coat and Color
The Schipperke wears a distinctive double coat that comes in one color: black. The hair is short on the face and front of the legs, medium length on the body, and long hair behind the ears, forming a ruff. They also have a cape of long hair that extends beyond the ruff, and a jabot across the chest and running down the front of the legs. Additionally, the backs of the thighs have thick culottes which are equal in length to the hair at the ruff. These varying lengths of hair give the body a sloping effect running from the shoulders to the back end.
The Schipperke coat will need to be brushed two to three times per week to keep shedding under control and prevent mats from forming. Twice a year the dog will blow coat, meaning his entire undercoat will shed to make room for new growth. During these periods, daily brushing is a must. A warm bath can also help release the hair and make maintenance more manageable. Schipperkes do not require trimming or clipping.
Check the dog's ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and prevent gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally.