The schipperke is a lithe, small utility dog with a face resembling a fox. This breed has a cobby body, which means short and square, standing 25–33 centimetres and weighing 11–18 pounds. The schipperke has a broad, flat skull and a moderately long and pointed muzzle. The ears are triangular and sit atop the head.
In the US and Canada, most schipperkes, if not all, are without tails since these are traditionally docked at birth. However, in the UK, tail docking has been banned except for certified working dog breeds.
The schipperke has a thick double coat that is rough, moderately short, and forms a thick ruff around the neck. In addition, it sports thick culottes or long and thick hair at the back of the dog's thighs. Since schipperke was bred to be a river dog, its coat is dense and water-resistant. In other words, the breed is low-maintenance with respect to dog grooming. It will only require weekly brushing, except when it starts shedding its undercoat.
During shedding season, which is two or three times a year, grooming can be labour-intensive and time-consuming. With that said, most owners will hire a professional groomer. However, the rest of the dog grooming routine is manageable (e.g., nail trimming, dental care, and ear cleaning).