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schipperke (skĭpˈərkē) [key], a breed of small nonsporting dog developed in Belgium several hundred years ago. It stands about 13 in. (33 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 14 to 18 lb (6.4–8.2 kg). Its weather-resistant double coat consists of a short, dense underlayer and a relatively short, abundant, slightly harsh topcoat that is longer around the neck and on the chest and hindquarters. It is solid black in color and is born tailless or with a very short tail. The probable ancestor of the schipperke was the Leauvenaar, a black sheepdog native to the Flemish provinces. The schipperke was popular as a watchdog and pet, as it is today, and was frequently kept as a companion on Belgian barges. It was from this latter role that the breed acquired its name, schipperke, being the Flemish word for "little captain." See dog.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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