schip·​per·​ke ˈski-pər-kē How to pronounce schipperke (audio)
: any of a Belgian breed of small stocky black tailless dogs with foxy head and heavy coat

Illustration of schipperke

Illustration of schipperke

Examples of schipperke in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And a bit of drama from last year's show was resolved when Colton the schipperke took his turn. CBS News, 11 Feb. 2020 And a bit of drama from last year’s show was resolved when Colton the schipperke took his turn. Jake Seiner, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Feb. 2020 Also advancing were Bono the Havanese in the toy group, Colton the schipperke in the nonsporting and Baby Lars the bouviers des Flandres in the herding — those breeds haven’t won here, either. Ben Walker, The Seattle Times, 12 Feb. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'schipperke.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from regional Dutch, of uncertain origin

Note: The word schipperke is conventionally taken as a diminutive of Dutch schipper "bargeman, boatman" (see skipper entry 2), allegedly alluding to the use of such dogs on canal boats as watchdogs or rodent catchers. It is claimed, however—as, for example, on the website of the Belgian kennel club, the Société royale Saint-Hubert—that the original word in the regional Dutch around Brussels and Leuven in Brabant, where the dog is said to have originated, was scheperke, a diminutive of scheper "shepherd." According to the Belgian veterinarian Adolphe Reul, the dog was exhibited under the name schipperke in a breed show held in Brussels on July 21, 1880, in connection with celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Belgian kingdom. The description of the breed read: "terriers à poil ras, zain, à oreilles droites, sans queue, à race flamande: schipperke" ("short-haired terrier, of a single color, with straight ears, tailless, Flemish breed: schipperke") ("Les chiens," Annales de médecin vétérinaire, 42. année, septembre et octobre 1893, p. 505). A documented history of schipperke as the name for a dog breed prior to 1880 does not appear to exist.

First Known Use

1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of schipperke was in 1887

Dictionary Entries Near schipperke

Cite this Entry

“Schipperke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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