by Ellen Black

The Schipperke: Escape Artist Extraordinaire

I fell in love with the Schipperke's (pronounced "skip-er-key") foxlike face and rounded rump a long time ago, and I'm now addicted to these tailless, cobby dogs. Being a Schip parent is like having a 2-year-old child who's constantly looking for trouble -- for 16 continuous years. Schips want to be directly involved with everything in their universe, responding to noises, visitors, squirrels and similar distractions by running, jumping up and down, and barking.

These beautiful but boisterous little dogs give a whole new meaning to the phrase "being nosey."

They demand to be engaged with their surroundings and are extraordinarily curious about everything. If all this appeals to you, then the Schipperke may be your perfect pet!

Good Fences Make Good Pets

Don't let the Schipperke's fluffy black fur and small size deceive you into thinking this is a low-energy lapdog. Schips are one of the most inquisitive and impulsive of all dog breeds, with a keen nose that wants to investigate any new odor. So the first requirement for bringing a Schip into your family is a commitment to training and to installing a secure fence. They're known for being clever escape artists, so a good physical barrier is the best way for you to thwart any attempt to dig, to jump or to chase whatever your Schip thinks are vermin or intruders. No fence is high enough for some of them! We had one rescue, cute little Teena, who could climb up a fence or an exercise pen paw-over-paw like a monkey. Like any breed with a strong prey instinct, supervision and training are important.

A Good Dog Fence Is:

Physically strong to withstand pushing and bouncing

Tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over the top

Climb-proof to foil paw-over-paw climbers

Flush with the ground to prevent your dog from slipping underneath

Extended below ground level if your dog is a digger

Locked with secure closures that dogs can't chew off or bump open

Any dog -- even a well-trained Schip -- should be walked on a leash in urban areas because you wouldn't want to risk them wandering into the road and getting hit by a passing car. In rural areas, wild animals and other dangers await any loose dog, so it's wise to keep your Schipperke on a leash there too, or at least until you totally trust his response to verbal commands.

Schipperkes have an activity level and a curiosity that distinguish them from other breeds that are less engaged with their surroundings. But if you're a dog owner of any breed, it's important to overlook your puppy's cuteness and train him from the beginning to be an obedient pet. It's also essential to protect all pets with an escape-proof fence and a properly fitted collar and leash.

If you want to learn more about the lively Schipperke, visit

Exceptional Canine expert Ellen Black is a Schipperke enthusiast, owner and trainer. For more than 30 years, she has enjoyed the challenges and rewards of competing with many Schips in conformation, obedience and agility. She also provides rescued Schipperkes with emotional rehabilitation, socialization and basic obedience training








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Pets | Dogs: The Schipperke: Escape Artist Extraordinaire