Illustration by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
The schipperke got his name from being so frequently seen on the canal barges of Belgium, where he makes a good "watch" and keeps down the rats. The word is pronounced "skippcrkce" and is the Flemish for "little skipper."
Doubtless an offshoot of the "wolfspitz," of Central Europe, this Belgian pet dog has attained a marked individuality, and really resembles no other dog at all closely.
He is a glossy, shining black all over, has a fox-like head, with rather small but very bright and intelligent eyes, a small, sharp nose, and erect, prick ears. The whole neck and-breast are covered with an erect frill of longer hair, as are the back margins of the thighs. The shoulders and chest are deep and strong, and the well-tucked-up little body is firm and springy. The legs are light, but strong, and the feet small and dainty. The tail is a mere stump, or button, more than an inch being a disqualification. They are said to be born tailless, and probably some are. But it is easy to meet this requirement, and it is certain that not any grow up with a tail, however they started in.
The "little skipper" finds his congenial home on the canal-boats of Belgium and Holland, but has discovered a satisfactory substitute in the pampered homes of the rich in other countries. Like all spitz offshoots, he is bright, active, and affectionate, but just a little snobbish, and apt to be very jealous of any other pets in his household. He is a small dog, weighing about 12 pounds.
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