History and Origins
The Schipperke was originally a barge dog - small enough to live in the tiny space inside a barge cabin but loud enough to make thieves think twice. They were also well equipped to cope with any weather and able to keep barges and their cargo free of rats and mice.
Their origins are a little unclear. Some suggest that the Schipperke is a descendent of the now extinct Belgian Shepherd type, the ‘Leuvenaar’ however unlike this breed, they have a distinctly spitz-like appearance. It is however possible their small size was achieved by crossing the Leuvenaar with the small spitz types from surrounding areas - probably the small German Spitz and Pomeranian. Regardless of their true origins, it is known that the Schipperke dates back to at least the 17th century, as they were first exhibited at the Grand Palace of Brussels in 1690, however they were not given a breed standard until the late 1800’s.