Questions on the Schipperke

We asked the following questions to our friends in the Schipperke Community. Below are their responses, which are taken from the October 2019 issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe

QUESTIONS:

  1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
  2. Such an active dog seems to require an active lifestyle. How is the Schipp around the house?
  3. At #105 the Schipperke is in the top fiftieth percentile of the most popular breeds. Has his popularity fluctuated during your involvement. Why do you think this is so?
  4. What is the general public’s biggest misconception about
    the breed?
  5. We know image is important. What clothing color do you favor to complement his gorgeous black coat?
  6. How do you place your pups?
  7. At what age do you choose a show prospect?
  8. What is your favorite dog show memory?
  9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.

 

ANSWERS:

 

Dawn Bannister

Dawn Bannister, along with her husband, Craig, and her mother, Pat McClain, are Kurakuma Schipperkes. They have been involved with the breed for nearly 30 years and have produced over 40 AKC champions, including Best in Specialty winners, group winners and placers and top producers. Dawn and Craig are also the authors of the book “The Historical Schipperke”, which is a collection of seldom seen early articles it also includes pictures, announcements and other items about the Schipperke breed.

My husband and I live in Michigan. One of the things we love outside of dogs is visiting the Michigan beaches, as we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We will spend the day on various beaches looking for interesting rocks such as Lake Superior agates, Leland blues, Petoskey stones, and lightning rocks. We also enjoy hikes along the shore lines.

How is the breed around the house? Our dogs have a dog door so they can take to the yard any time they want during the day. Because we have multiple dogs, a lot of their energy is worn off by play with the other dogs. They also consume some energy by a bit of misbehaving. Other activities include sunbathing and taking naps.

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? Twenty years ago, even local specialties drew large numbers. Nationals had specials that filled the entire ring. These days, our Nationals are closer to the size that our local Specialties once were. Many of our older breeders are gone, many others are considering retirement, and our breed has only a few newer and/or younger breeders. Part of it is, I believe, simply that we do not promote involvement in the breed as we should. Breeders should feel out every puppy buyer for an interest in showing; most will not be interested, but some might just enter the sport and become lifetime breeders for our breed. Another part, for our breed, is the docking issue—many people that might consider our breed do not, either because they do not want to bother with docking, or they don’t like it altogether. That is sad, because we really need new breeders to come in and preserve as many lines in our beautiful breed that we can. While this a traditionally a docked breed, many long time breeders are choosing to show their dogs naturally, and I hope this way of having both will become our way in the future.

The general public’s biggest misconception about the breed? While the Schipperke is a silhouette breed, their silhouette should never be reduced to just an outline in the darkness.
The Schipperke’s unique silhouette is created by its defining feature: its coat pattern. From the beginning it was awarded the most points in the first Belgian standards, and it later became a major point of contention between the English and Belgian breeders. In America, the standard was changed in 1935 to more precisely define the Belgian coat pattern, it was that important! The Schipperke’s coat pattern is made up of four distinct parts: the ruff, the cape, the culottes and the jabot. These four things together create the distinct look to the breed. In fact, the jabot is so unique to our breed that it is the only word in AKC’s glossary that mentions the Schipperke by name. This is one of the reasons trimming is so looked down upon in our breed: the coat pattern, to be correct, must be natural.

What clothing color do I favor to complement his gorgeous black coat? We have to avoid black and dark clothing, which is unfortunate, because most of us would appreciate the chance to look a bit thinner in the ring! Which colors we do choose matter less than detracting from our little black dogs, so solid colors are best, and we should seek to look professional in the ring.

How do I place my pups? I have advertised through AKC and verify potential homes. I spend a good deal of time speaking with potential buyers to confirm that they are a good fit our little ones. Schipperkes become a member of the family and require a long term commitment as this is a long lived breed.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? Eight weeks has always been the “window” that we look at puppies, but I have found that continuing to watch their development up to four months is often necessary. A puppy that looks like a pet at eight weeks is unlikely to improve, but a good show prospect at eight weeks that doesn’t hold it together until about four months will often not come back into show form. However, most Schipperkes are not at their best until fully mature, closer to two or three years of age. Asking their ages in the ring can be an important piece of information.

My favorite dog show memory? We were still fairly new, and it was our first National. I took our foundation bitch into the ring, and there were 20 bitches in the class, so I just prayed for a pull—not even a placement, just a pull. The judge broke the class into two groups, brought them in together and began making his selection. Every time he pulled a bitch out my heart fell because I was sure that was the last pull he was going to make. After pulling out nine bitches, he finally pointed to us. I was so excited! He asked us to go down and back, and he looked my girl over when we returned and then said to me, “Why don’t you take her to the head of the line!” We won that huge class—we were floating on air!

A judge once asked me how I would like the Schipperke to be judged. My answer is simple. While you are looking at the dogs in order to choose your winner, ask yourself this question. If the dog I choose is the one that is used for breeding, in 20 years will the breed be better off because of my choice, or not?

 

Claudia Fowler

I have been involved in showing, breeding and training Schipperkes since 1975. I have had and still have other breeds but always need a Schipperke. I raised three girls in the show world whether that be good or bad but I really think the kids love showing. I have finished many Champions both my own and other breeders dogs. I have shown and finished other breeds but always come back to the Schips.

I live in Mineral Well, Texas now and have lived mainly in Texas since 1965. My kennel name is Lusa Chula which is Choctaw
Indian for Black Fox. I am retired now having been a probations officer, child protective officer and numerous other occupations in my life including a veterinary technician. I have also worked on getting my judging license until having problems with my health. I love flea markets and now am breeding Boer Goats.

How is the breed around the house? Schipperkes are very active and need either an active person or a well fenced yard. I have a fenced yard and doggy doors so that they have access to the yard to run as they please. They also do better if they have the ability to work, i.e. Obedience, agility, etc.

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? As far as the Schipperke being popular I think we have been happy with their popularity because they usually will find good homes while not causing breeding and rescue issues most of the time. They are not as popular now I feel because so many people do not like the idea of removing the tails and until recently there was not many breeders wiling to leave the tail on. They are also not flashy colored (per AKC and SCA) and many people find black dogs off putting. You have to get to know their personalities.

The biggest misconception is that the Schipperke is born without a tail. This is of course incorrect. They are born with varying lengths of tails and this tail has to be removed according to Schipperke Club of America standard. No other country has the requirement and although it has been attempted to change the standard to optional—it has not been successful.

What clothing color do I favor to complement his gorgeous black coat? I try to wear light colors or bright ones. I learned that you should never wear black although many exhibitors now do.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? I do my first choice of puppies at eight weeks and then it will depend on how they mature. Testicles dropping and teeth alignment are the next problems that may show up later.

My first dog show in Galveston Texas was a special memory of mine. I was new to the breed and my pup was seven months old. Sitting at ringside with Scalawag and Rilda Walton and Doug Wilson came to ringside and commented about the Schipperke on my lead. The next was finishing the same dog and my first Champion in Dallas the day after the National Specialty.

I love and hate the intelligence and personalities of the breed. They are often too smart for their own good. But when you get to know them you will never be without one. They are like Lays Potato Chips—you cannot have just one.

 

Diane Harris

Sherwood was showing in the 60s, under the GreenLakes prefix. Diane started showing in 1976 and later bred under the Ben-De prefix. They married in 1988, and Sheradin Schipperkes was created. They have bred over 75 AKC champions, including specialty winners, group winners, Best in Show, Register of Merit, and Top Producers, always owner handled. Breeder/Owners of Multi BIS, Multi BISS CH Sheradin When Spirits Talk, tied with his sire as all time top producing Schipperke stud dog. Member of SCA, approved mentor, former chair of Judges’ Education Committee, former chair Breeder Education Committee, former National Specialty Show Chair, former Board Member.

We live in Maryville, Tennessee. When Woody retired from his position with Gulfstream Aerospace, we relocated from the Savannah, Georgia area to several acres in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains. We brought our spotted Tennessee Walking horses with us and stayed busy with horses and dogs for several years. We now only have the Schips, so we spend much time keeping the property “groomed”.

I volunteer with Schipperke rescue and several all breed rescues. We foster Schips, and are an “overnight stop” for several rescue transport organizations. Day trips, dog shows and friends keep
us busy.

How is the breed around the house? Schipperkes are not a dog for everyone. They are an “in your face” breed with curiosity to spare. Since they were bred originally as watch dogs and ratters, they can be noisy, aloof and determined. Early training and socialization are a must. But they are loyal, happy, smart, willing and brave companions. They can exercise themselves in an apartment or are perfectly happy running the farm. An investment of time will result in an incomparable companion.

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? When I got my first Schip, they were in the 30-40 percent range. They have dropped significantly. I believe there are several reasons. They are a “little black dog,” not fancy in any way. The lack of a tail is an attraction until people realize they aren’t born that way, and if the detailing is done incorrectly, it’s not uncommon for them to need their rear washed quite often. At shows, Schips compete with a group of varied and very groomed breeds. They are
often overlooked.

The general public’s biggest misconception about the breed? That they are born tailless.

What clothing color do I favor to compliment the coat? I love pinks, blues and purple. But I wear all colors, including black and browns. However, regardless of clothing color, I do always wear my trademark gold shoes.

How do I place my pups? Mainly referrals, word of mouth.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? Usually my choice at eight weeks is my pick. At around 12 weeks for a show prospect going to someone else.

My favorite dog show memory? I have quite a few favorites. The one I can see over and over in my mind is of my nine month old boy, Sheradin When Spirits Talk, (Thumper) winning the breed from puppy class under Dr. Robert Berndt. Then later that day, Dr. Berndt gave him a group one, finishing his championship. This was a special win since Thumper had survived parvo as a 4 1/2 month old pup. It became even more memorable when, three days later, he was bitten by a copperhead snake in our yard. He survived that also and went on to a long show career.

Four years ago we stopped docking tails. USA is now the only country that requires the Schip be docked for showing. We are still showing AKC, but have had to develop a thick, tough skin. Quite a few breeders no longer dock and some have gone to other venues, giving up on our standard ever allowing natural tails. Majors are hard to find in the breed and many shows no longer have Schips entered at all. We are hopeful that our parent club and AKC will, one day soon, realize the preservation of the breed itself is
most important.

 

BEVERLY HENRY

I started out showing and breeding Doberman pinschers in 1962. Was instrumental in the formation of the Atlanta Doberman Pinscher Club and was its first President. Became an AKC licensed handler in the 70s and an AKC approved judge for Schipperkes, Dalmatians and Junior Showmanship (all breeds) in the early 80s. Retired from judging after my husband passed away as it was no longer fun without him. Have been a member of the Lone Star Schipperke Club since 1976 and the Schipperke Club of America since 1975. Am still very active in both clubs holding office as Treasurer of LSSC and Recording Secretary of SCA. I am also Membership chair and Newsletter Editor for SCA. And I am Vice President of The Schipperke Club of America Rescue and Health Foundation.

I live about 40 miles north of Dallas, Texas. Dogs are pretty much my life but I also read a lot, many times having two books going at the same time.

How is the breed around the house? Schipperkes are active, however they make great house dogs but if you want a dog that lies in front of the fireplace or on the couch all the time, it might not be the dog for you. They are very alert to everything going on around them and also have to know where you are. When you own a Schipperke, you will never go to the bathroom alone again!

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? I have owned Schipperkes since 1975. Popularity has fluctuated some over the years but this year I believe we made the “low entry” breed status. I attribute it to the animal rights movement to spay/neuter all dogs, the almost impossible licensing requirements placed on breeders is many areas and the aging of many of the
long-time breeders.

The general public’s biggest misconception about the breed? I think the biggest problem is the breed is relatively unknown. And, then being a black dog, many people do not want an all-black dog.

What clothing color do I favor to complement the coat? I have always tried to wear light colored slacks or suit in the ring.

How do I place my pups? Almost 100% by word of mouth. All were sold with a health guarantee and promise to take back for any reason if buyer can no longer keep what I have sold them. I never sold on a co-ownership as I refuse to co-own with anyone other than my daughter or husband when he was alive.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? Well, when I was breeding Doberman Pinschers I had about a 99% accuracy record at eight to ten weeks. With Schips I was never even close to being that accurate if I went by the same rules. With Schips I would go with the puppy that caught my eye from birth to about four months. After that, my line went into the uglies until they were three to four years old and would go from ugly duckling to ready for the show ring almost overnight.

My favorite dog show memory? When my eight year old daughter showed her Schipperke, CH Land’s Havoc of Harvalu, CD, to Best of Breed at the Lone Star Schipperke Club specialty show under Dorothy Nickles.

Schipperkes are a fun breed, however, they are not for everyone. Do your research and meet with breeders before buying one.

They are very in-tune with your mood and it is hard to be in a bad mood around one because they will do something to make you laugh. They do great in obedience, rally, barn hunt, agility, some even love herding. You must have a fenced yard and teach them not to bolt out the front door because if one gets loose, it is gone. They are so curious they take off exploring and go so far so fast they don’t know how to get home.

 

Diane Johnson

My husband Terry and I obtained our first Schipperke in 1987, and little did we know how involved we would become in the breed over the next 32 years. We have been very involved in showing in conformation, finishing more than 40 champions—always owner handled.
Some of our dogs sold to other people have excelled in Agility, Fast Cat and Rally.

We live on the Central Coast of California. I work full time as a legal assistant for a civil litigation law firm. However, the majority of my free time is spent with my Schipperkes.

How is the breed around the house? We have a number of Schipperkes who actively engage in play in the yard and keep themselves exercised and amused. I don’t find them to need a large amount of exercise.

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? I think Schipperkes are even more popular now than in recent years, however their availability is limited due to the limited number of breeders. This is unfortunate because I often receive requests from people who have lost their Schipperke and want to find another one but I usually don’t have any available myself and don’t know of any reputable breeders with puppies or adults available to refer them to. There are many Schipperke enthusiasts posting on Facebook about their long, frustrating search for a new Schipperke—often having searched unsuccessfully for more than a year to find one.

The general public’s biggest misconception about the breed? Often people don’t realize the intelligence of the Schipperke and the need for socialization and training to make them a well-rounded member of the family. Just because Schipperkes are small in size, they need just as much training as a large breed dog.

What clothing color do I favor to complement the breed’s coat? If you are showing a Schipperke in conformation, it is best to wear light colored clothing. Red also compliments their shiny black coats.

How do I place my pups? Having been in the breed since 1987, I get a lot of referrals from other breeders and people who have owned our dogs. I also maintain a website that people locate when searching for a Schipperke, and are included on the Schipperke Club of America’s breeder listing.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? I usually make my decision on my show prospects at about three or four months of age.

My favorite dog show memory? Specialty shows always stand out in my memory for the fun times with fellow exhibitors and larger than normal entries. Our regional specialty Best in Specialty wins are especially memorable.

Schipperkes are a devoted companion and love to go everywhere with their owners. They do not usually do well left at home outside for long days or they tend to get bored and bark. They are excellent watchdogs and are protective of anything of “theirs.” They are not always accepting of strangers and can take time to warm up to strangers. They typically are not good off leash.

 

Virginia Larioza

Virginia has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs for 50 years. Her father brought home a Shetland Sheepdog from the top breeder and she began in obedience competition. Later 4H junior showmanship and obedience with her uncle’s OES. In addition to Schipperke’s she has bred Siberian Huskies, and been owned by a Bichon and Akita. Schipperke’s captures her heart and have been her primary breed for 35 years. She has served the parent club in numerous positions including AKC Gazette columnist, BOD, judges education, show chairman, and bulletin editor. She has been the recipient of the AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship award in 2015. Along with other ROM and ROMX producers she is the co breeder/co-owner of the stud dog tied for top all time producer BISS Ch Raffinee Spirit of Chatelet. ROMX Her bitch GrCh Raffinee Nikolena was the number one NOH Schipperke in 2015. Over 50 champions have finished under the Raffinee kennel name

I am part owner of one of the largest dojos in the state of Michigan. I teach karate and self defense specializing in autism spectrum disorder. I am also the program coordinator and head coach for Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s Disease.

How is the breed around the house? Schips are not content to sit and “watch the world go by” they are up in your business most of the time! They will cuddle, are loyal companions and passionate protectors of anything they perceive as theirs. As a small but sturdy breed they do well in therapy work and we use them often in this capacity with both adults and children. Schips do best with a job.

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? They are not particularly “fancy” and are often overlooked in favor of other small breeds. Additionally I think the discovery of a fatal disease about 15 years ago (MPSIIIb—which can be tested for) gave a lot of active breeders pause and initially set back some programs. With fewer dogs bred and puppies available potential homes turned elsewhere. Our breeders/exhibitors are primarily composed of an aging demographic, as breeders retire they are not being replaced. Litters are typically small—there are simply not a lot of them available. We have a small gene pool as evidenced clearly by current genetic testing returning very high coefficients. The need to exchange breeding stock with the rest of the world is paramount.

The general public’s biggest misconception about the breed? That they are a diminutive Belgian Shepherd and they are born without a tail.

What clothing color do I favor to complement the coat? Honestly I wear almost all colors to show. Black goes with everything!

How do I place my pups? We have been breeding so long most of ours go to a waiting list of return families or referrals from others who have our dogs.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? I’m pretty confident by the time they are three years old. But seriously I can usually narrow down to my top prospects by eight to ten weeks and prefer to grow them out until four to six months if possible.

My favorite dog show memory? The National wins and Best in Shows and Best in Specialties are each treasured. However my favorite memory is watching my daughter, who was painfully shy, grow into a confident, young woman who would go on to compete at Westminster and become the Top Non-Sporting junior handler in 2002.

I would add that I no longer dock my Schipperkes. It was a family decision. It has cost us some lifelong friendships. Desiring to continue exhibiting our dogs after having developed a line for over 30 years has lead us to expand in to UKC and Canada where we have been accepted with natural tails. We spend our time and money where we are welcomed. It has been a great experience and brought many new friendships. We have only recently returned to the AKC venue—so we shall see. We want to thank our friends who have supported our decision and we are truly grateful for the many folks in other breeds who have been especially encouraging.

 

Cathy Thistle

Cathy is a pet groomer and lives with eight Schipperkes in Selbyville, Delaware. They are active in conformation, rally, obedience and FastCat. She is a third generation show dog breeder/fancier. Her grand parents bred and showed Griffons and Papillons in Belgium in the 1920s. Her parents bred and showed Springers and Bouviers. Cathy has bred AKC champions under the Foxnoir prefix in Dachshunds, Lowchen, Bassets and Schipperkes. She is an active in member of the Salisbury Maryland Kennel Club and the Colonial Schipperke Club.

Most all of my activities are dog related in one way or another. I am fortunate enough to live close to a wonderful all-breed club in Salisbury, Maryland that is involved in many different doggy activities. Occasionally I will teach a class for my club or assist another trainer. I have served my local schipperke club as president for the past three years. Most recently I do hope to be volunteering time with a small group that works with veterans and their dogs.

How is the the breed around the house? Most Schipperkes are adaptable to apartment, country or even living on a boat. They are curious and active by nature. Like any other breed they do need proper exercise and tend to gain weight after spay and neutering.

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? Yes, the popularity of the breed has come up quite a bit in the past few decades. I feel the popularity has jumped mainly because schipperkes are so sellable in the pet stores. All schipperke puppies look like little miniature teddy bears until they go thought the puppy gang-lies at about four to six months of age. And this is also the reason we get so many dogs in our rescue groups. The increase in AKC registrations has certainly not come about from responsible show breeders. In most parts of the country we have problems getting enough dogs together to create points. This is not a new problem.

The public’s biggest misconception about Schipperkes, as well as most judges misconception, is that they are born tailless. They are not. Most all Schipperkes are born with tails like most other breeds are born with tails. Docking a Schipperke is strictly a cosmetic surgical procedure to make the dog conform to the written AKC standard.

What clothing color do I favor to complement the breed’s gorgeous black coat? I find that a red and white outfit sets a black dog off nicely. Or a light blue/gray background compliments just about any color. All a matter of the handler’s choice and taste.

How do I place my pups? My dogs are placed by word of mouth. And I match each puppy with the new owners. If the prospective new puppy owner is looking for a performance dog I will let them pick out their own if there is a choice to be had. Most Schipperke litters are not that big and leaves the breeder and new puppy owner with little choice to pick from. It has been my practice to never take a deposit or promise anyone a dog until the puppies are well on the ground at about a month of age.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? That is a hard question and has no definite answer. Most litters one can tell by at about eight to 16 weeks which puppies you want to keep and grow out for a while. The biggest problems I have run across to render a puppy a pet is that the bite will go off or a male puppy will retain a testicle. These things usually to not make themselves apparent until the puppy is about six to ten months of age. At six to ten months of age you usually have a good idea of coat, bone, temperament and structure. I have and never will guarantee a show puppy to anyone. Too many things can happen both physically and environmentally to go from show quality to pet in a short amount of time. Most of which the breeder has no control over.

One of my favorite dog show moments was watching then handler Frank Sebella showing a spectacular black Standard Poodle at the Garden. The spot light followed the team moving across a darken group ring. It was just breathtaking. Another was when my 89 year old grandmother finished her CDX on her Papillon. Being asked to judge sweeps and futurity at the Schipperke Nationals is right up there too. It is always an honor to be asked to judge at your own national. Showing dogs has given me so many great memories since childhood.

There is something that I would like to share about the breed. Schipperkes are a natural breed in that not much should be done as far as upkeep and maintenance of the coat. The Schipperke coat pattern is the essence of its breed type.This should be reflected in the show ring but it is not so much any more. Dogs that are over scissored and dyed are being rewarded in the show ring by the judges who put them up. I understand that this is not a unique problem to just Schipperkes. Most coated breeds whose standard use the word “natural” to describe the dog have fallen victim to this kind of over grooming. Its really too bad and it needs to stop it just hurts future generations. The average breeder who wants to use a top winning dog at stud is not at all sure that “what they think they are seeing is what they are going to get”.

A few years ago after being in the breed 40+ years I decided to break tradition. I began to show a very nice undocked Schipperke of my own breeding. He and I went out and completed his AKC championship making him the first (and only to date) to finish with a full natural tail. We made a lot of new friends a long the way as well as losing a few old ones. It has been my experience that showing any breed that is traditionally docked should be well thought out as one needs to be prepared with thick skin. Not an easy choice to make to show a totally natural Schipperke. It is a bit unsettling walking into the ring not knowing if you will be welcomed, ignored or excused by the judge.

 

Lisa Vizcarra

I live in Lodi California, northern California. I have six Schipperkes. Three of them are show dogs, the other two are pets. My dogs are not “outside” dogs. They live in the house and sleep in my bed room. They are family members.

How is the breed around the house? Most of the time they sleep. I do take them out for walks and we play a lot of fetch in the house or in the yard. I keep their minds active with cat toys—fishing polls with something fuzzy on the end for chasing.

Has the breed’s popularity fluctuated during my involvement? When were they ever popular, and let’s keep it that way. Popularity tends to create self-serving interesting in breeding and not bettering the breed. It’s important the dogs we breed are genetically diverse and tested for known genetic health problems, i.e. MPS 3b. Dogs that test positive are “fixed” to prevent the spread of this genetically linked disorder.

The general public’s biggest misconception about the breed? Most of the public thinks I’m walking a pig, not a dog. When asked they think it’s a Pomeranian. The other misconception is that they are guard dogs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, they bark, and can be aggressive but they are not guard dogs. They have a herding behavior.

What clothing color do I favor to complement the coat? I like to wear a contrasting color in the ring. Black and white works, red can be too over-powering, unless it sparkly! Although showing is about the dog, what the handler wears important. Sometimes it’s the attitude of the dog that helps decide the color. Bold dog, bold contrast. “I’m going to win” colors. And little bling goes a long way-stand out in the crowed.

How do I place my pups? I place my puppies only with people who are familiar with the breed. Schipperkes can nip and bark so knowledge of the breed in important. For first time Schipperke owners, I recommend websites, in particular the AKC site. Many Schipps are not good around children.

At what age do I choose a show prospect? I select show prospects around eight to ten weeks. I look at the whole package not focusing on one aspect—i.e. the head.

My favorite dog show memory? Diane Johnson, a well-known Schipperke breeder, sold me a dog that she didn’t think would win BOB, but I’d have fun showing. Low and behold, my first show (Ventura) that dog and I get three majors. The look on her face was priceless—mine too! I had no clue what happened. I finished that dog within a few months.

What I enjoy most about this breed are the breeders. I’m a novice in the dog show world and they excepted me, trained me and now I’m breeding. They have been so supportive, and even thought we compete, we still are more family than competitors. Don’t get me wrong, we are all out to win, but Schipperke people are always willing to help, always willing to give a hand. If more people experienced this kind of camaraderie, we would have more people showing. 

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