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Schipperke

The little boatman, as this breed is nicknamed, is bright, active and curious, all qualities that made it an ideal barge dog, ratter and carriage dog. Known for centuries in Flanders, the Schipperke's origin is uncertain, but royal patronage brought attention to the breed in Belgium in the late 1880s when Queen Marie Henrietta acquired one. Three years later, a specialty club was formed to promote the little dog's interests, and it was officially christened the Schipperke (Flemish for little boatman, or shepherd). It weighs from 12 to 18 pounds and, except for its absence of tail, resembles the Belgian Sheepdog in miniature. The double coat is shiny and slightly harsh with a dense undercoat, and on the North American continent, the only acceptable color is black. It needs weekly brushing but no special grooming. This long-lived dog is an excellent choice of pet for children, with its high activity level and playful, loyal, devoted temperament. Well suited to any accommodations, the Schip makes a good watchdog and enjoys moderate outdoor exercise.