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The Schipperke is an agile, active watchdog and hunter of vermin. In appearance he is a small, thickset, cobby, black, tailless dog, with a fox-like face. The dog is square in profile and possesses a distinctive coat, which includes a stand-out ruff, cape and culottes.
Black and may have a reddish cast.
The Schipperke is curious, interested in everything around him, and is an excellent and faithful little watchdog. He is reserved with strangers and ready to protect his family and property if necessary. He displays a confident and independent personality, reflecting the breed's original purpose as watchdog and hunter of vermin.
The Schipperke was bred during the 17th century as a watchdog and ratter on Belgian riverboats. Before officially taking the name of Schipperke in 1888, the breed was known casually as the Spitzke, and has also been called the Belgian barge dog. Perhaps the first breed ever to have a specialty show, the Schipperke made its debut as a show dog in 1690.