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CHAPTER XVII.
T H E SC HIPPER K E.

HERE is a quaint Dutch little dog which since its introduction into this country, about four years ago, has become one of ourselves, and I fancy will now stay with us and develop into one of our British dogs as the Italian greyhound and the German boarhound have done. Pronounced “Skipperkee,” when at home, he is found in the Dutch canal boats, where with the captain he rules the crew, hence his name. He there acts as a careful watch and guard, will kill rats when required so to do, and generally proves himself to be an engaging little companion. That he is undoubtedly the latter there can be no doubt whatever; none of our native breeds are livelier or perkier than he few so lively; and ever on the alert, it is no doubt on this account that he has taken the fancy of such a dog loving nation as ourselves. The Schipperke ought to be born without a tail, or at any rate with a merely rudimentary stump, but when he is produced with the caudal appendage intact it is of course cut off, and as the operation is performed skilfully, not even an expert can tell whether he is naturally or but artificially tailless. In Holland there is a dark fawn-coloured variety of the breed, but here nothing but black is acknowledged, though I consider those fawn in hue are by no means displeasing to the eye, and possess quite as much character as the blacks. The latter breed true to colour, and it is very unusual for one of any other hue to be produced from black parents, still this does occur at times, but such as are “off” colour and have much white about them should be at once destroyed, as they are in most instances. A friend of mine who keeps several Schipperkes in conjunction with his deerhounds, gives the former a very high character. He says they make “excellent house dogs, being capital guards, ever on the alert and always busy, the latter being one of their prevailing characteristics. As companions they are affectionate and docile, will take the water freely, are good swimmers, and can kill rats and hunt rabbits almost as well as some of our terriers. When properly kept and attended to, they are absolutely free from any offensive odour. In constitution they are hardy and healthy, and altogether most desirable as house dogs.”

This is a good character, but I do not know that it is more than they deserve. Their size—about 12lb. —makes them particularly adaptable as house dogs, and so does their colour, especially in towns, where a white dog requires repeatedly tubbing if it be desired to keep his jacket clean and in good order. Of late there has been a tendency to increase the size of the Schipperke, and on more than one occasion prizes have gone to animals considerably over the stipulated standard. In Belgium two sizes appear to be recognised, the smaller varying from about 91b. to 12lb., the larger from 12lb. to 20lb. I do not like the big ones at all, and I hope such will never obtain the support of the Schipperke Club in this country. Twelve pounds is quite big enough, and it is such a weight as can be continued and established without losing constitutional strength, bone, and general symmetry. Still, the specialist club in Belgium, which was established in 1888, encourages the two sizes, and at the exhibitions in that country each has a separate classification. The English club to look after the interests of the variety was established in 1890, and the Kennel Club granted an entry in the “Stud Book” three years later.

The following are the points and description of the Schipperke as adopted by the English club

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