Standing no more than 13 , shippercases are small dogs built for hard work. The ships were built as raters and watchdogs. Their powerful jaws, neck, and headquarters — along with a stolen, cat-like hunting style — make them the ideal rat-catching machine. The black coat is abundant around the neck, shoulders, and legs, giving the breed a silhouette that emphasizes a thick, substantial body. The fox’s face completes the unique look of a unique breed. If you can’t tell a shipperke from a normal dog, you’re just not paying attention.
The late medieval Belgium was the birthplace of Schipperke (called “Sheep-er-ker”, though many American owners call it “Skip-er-key”). The breed earned its fame as a shipboard eliminator on canals crossing low countries. The Belgian dockyard’s small black avenger was also a fearless watchdog at barges and city shops. It was one of the sailors and shopkeepers from Brussels and Antwerp that these fast, agile dogs earned the nickname “Skipperke,” Flemish, for “little captain”.
The shipperke is an agile, active watchdog and insect hunter. He is a small, fat, nomadic, black, tailless dog with a fox-like appearance. The dog is square in profile and has a distinctive coat, consisting of a stand-out ruff, cape and culprit. All these create a unique silhouette, which is visible on the slope from the shoulders to the group. Males are definitely masculine without any harshness. The bitches are definitely feminine without over-refinement. Any deviation from the norm described in the standard should be punished to the extent of the deviation. Common defects for all breeds are undesirable like any other breed in Schipperke, even though such defects may not be specifically mentioned in the standard.
The gestation period in lasts for 60-64 days The primary period of the reproductive cycle of the female is called Proestrus and goes on for around 9 days. During this time the females begin to draw in males. The subsequent part is the Estrus when the bitch is receptive to the male. It goes on for around 3 to 11 days. The third part is the Diestrus. Usually, it happens around day 14. In this period the bitch’s discharge changes for distinctive red and reaching its end. The vulva gets back to average, and she will no longer allow mating. The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time span between heat periods ordinarily keeps going around a half year. The litter size ranges between 6 to 8 puppies at a time’
Shipperke’s coats require only weekly brushing, although they undergo shedding season once or twice a year. During these periods, brushing more often will help keep the amount of hair loss under control. Like all breeds, nails should be cut regularly, as extremely long nails can cause trouble to the dog.
Due to their monitoring tendencies, shippercases can turn into barkers if not taught otherwise. Equally happy in an apartment or a house with a large yard, they should be kept on a leash and taken to obedience classes when not in a fenced area. Due to their innate desire to go for exploration, ships need to be trained to arrive as soon as possible. They have an independent nature and training them can be a challenge. With consistent and patient bosses, they can learn almost anything and excel in sports such as obedience and agility. Some also do quite well in animal husbandry.
Shippercases are very active, energetic and busy little dogs. A fast daily walk or a cuddle in a fenced yard will provide the necessary exercise. They like to play and explore, and they thrive in homes that have the time and patience to train them properly and appreciate their playful personality. Ships can also skip steam racing around the house or apartment.
Shipperke should be fed a high quality dog food suitable for the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Know which human foods are safe for dogs and which are not. Contact your vet or dog breeder if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should always be available.
Shippercases are generally healthy dogs, and reputable breeders check their breeding stock for health concerns such as luxating patellas (slipping knees), leg-calves-Parthes disease (hip problems), eye problems and Thyroid problems. Breeders may also test for MPS IIIB, a newly recognized and fatal disease that usually appears as balance problems at 2–4 years of age, and by identifying carriers and breeding them appropriately Avoid causing diseases. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help ensure that the dog has a long, healthy life.
Recommended health tests from the National Breed Club: