The Schipperke comes from Belgium, where he is the popular watch dog of the barges used on Flemish canals. There is a ledge one foot wide that runs about the canal boats a short distance from the top. Here the Schipperke (pronounced Skip-per-kee, the Flemish for little skipper) spends his time. He is trained to race around this ledge, acting as guard and sentinel, an office for which he is particularly well fitted, as he is the most wide awake, liveliest, and inquisitive of canines. The slightest noise attracts his attention, and he never neglects to investigate the cause.
The Schipperke is always shown tailless. To be sure he is born with a tail that curls up over his back like a Pomeranian and suggests that as his descent, but it was decreed on the canal boats many years ago that the presence of the tail prevented his owner from turning on the narrow ledge as rapidly as he could without it. Occasionally, it was said, that his tail precipitated him into the water, and as a result a systematic docking was decreed. Continued for years, docking has had its influence upon the caudal appendage, for some are now born tailless and others have only a stump. Those born with normal tails are docked. This operation should be performed by a skillful veterinarian, as the whole of the tail is removed, a much more delicate operation than the case in the docking of terriers.
The Schipperke is a very good water dog and does not mind a ducking in the least. He is also a firstclass ratter.
There is no limit to his prying liveliness. They are bright, smart, and very affectionate, so much so as to be usually intensely jealous. While they constitute themselves guardians of the household, they usually select one member of the family as their particular property, and to them devote the greater part of their attention.
The standard description and code of points adopted by the Schipperke Club (England) are as follows:
HEAD.-Foxy in type, skull should not be round, but broad, and with little stop. The muzzle should be moderate in length, fine but not weak; should be well filled out under the eyes.
NOSE.-Black and small.
EYES.-Dark brown, small, more oval than round, and not full; bright and full of expression. EARS.-Shape: of moderate length, not too broad at base, tapering to a point. Carriage: stiffly erect, and when in that position the inside edge to form as near as possible a right angle with the skull, and strong enough not to be bent otherwise than lengthways.
TEETH.-Strong and level.
NECK.-Strong and full, rather short, set broad on the shoulders, and slightly arched. SHOULDERS.-Muscular and sloping.
CHEST.-Broad and deep in brisket. BACK.-Short, straight, and strong.
LIONS.-Powerful, well drawn up from the brisket.
FORELEGS.-Perfectly straight, well under the body, with bone in proportion to the body.
HINDLEGS.-Strong, muscular; hocks well let down.
FEET.-Small, catlike, and standing well on its toes. NAILS.-Black.
HINDQUARTERS.-Fine, compared to the foreparts; muscular and well-developed thighs, tailless, rump well rounded.
COAT.-Black, abundant, dense, and harsh, smooth on the head, ears, and legs, lying close on the back and sides, but erect and thick round the neck, forming a mane and frill, and well feathered on back of thighs.
WEIGHT. -About 12 pounds.
GENERAL APPEARANCE.-A small, cobby animal, with sharp expression, intensely lively, presenting the appearance of always being on the alert. DISQUALIFYING POINTS.-Drop, or semi-erect ears.
FAULTS.-White hairs are objected to, but are not disqualifying.