The abundant double coat is usually a moderate shedder, but Schips will drop their full undercoat twice a year.
The Schipperke is extremely active and loves to be involved in what is going on around him, but due to their watchdog tendencies, they can turn into barkers if not taught otherwise. Equally happy in an apartment or a home with a large yard, they should be kept on leash when not in a fenced area and be taken to obedience classes. The breed's coat needs only weekly brushing and an occasional bath, although they do shed several times a year.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds. The Schipperke is a small breed and has a lifespan of 14 to 16 years.
What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep them clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Due to their watchdog tendencies, they can turn into barkers if not taught otherwise. Equally happy in an apartment or a home with a large yard, they should be kept on leash when not in a fenced area and be taken to obedience classes. Energetic, busy little dogs, Schips love walking, playing, and exploring. Schips absolutely need to be trained to come as early as possible due to their tendency to go exploring. Due to their independent nature, Schipperkes can be a challenge to train. With persistent and patient owners, they can learn almost anything and can excel in both obedience and agility. Some also do quite well at herding and others have a well-developed prey drive.
But like all breeds there may be some health issues. MPS IIIB is a newly recognized fatal disease that usually shows up by 2-4 years of age as balance problems. All breeders should have their breeding stock tested to identify carriers and help them make appropriate breeding decisions in order to eliminate the disease. Other problems that occasionally occur in Schipperkes include luxating patellas (slipping knee caps), Legg-Calve-Perthes (hip problems), eye problems, including hereditary cataracts, and thyroid problems, which often lead to skin and allergy problems.
There are screening tests available for all of these conditions and breeders should be testing their breeding stock. Epilepsy is another health concern found in Schipperkes. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Schipperkes are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Schipperke can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.