The Schipperke, Belgium’s “little captain,” is the Low Countries’ traditional barge dog. This small black dog is a sturdy, long-lived companion with a curious, active, and intense but mischievous personality. Schipperkes are little canines that stand no taller than 13 inches and are built for hard work. Schips were designed to be ratters and watchdogs. Their strong jaws, necks, and forequarters, along with a stealthy, catlike hunting behavior, make them superb rat catchers. The black coat is thick across the neck, shoulders, and legs, creating a silhouette that emphasizes the breed’s strong, hefty frame. The foxy face completes the one-of-a-kind appearance of a one-of-a-kind breed. You just haven’t been paying attention if you can’t recognize a Schipperke from a regular dog.