Though they were developed as working dogs, the jobs the Schipperke was bred for, such as ratting and working on barges, have largely fallen by the wayside. Nowadays, dogs mostly work as companion animals but these positions are often left to breeds such as the Lab or Golden Retriever. Even so, this does not mean the Schipperke cannot be useful in a number of areas. In fact, the Schipperke is the one breed of dog that can naturally handle specialized tasks trained dogs cannot. It is the jobs that call for an independent streak and a good dose of daring that are right up the Schipperke's alley.
The Schipperke does best at jobs it was originally bred for. Though few people need ratters, the breed is a perfect choice for those who live or work around boats. In this type of setting, all their natural traits can be put to good use. Though small, they are a sturdy animal that works as well on choppy water as they do on dry land. While other breeds are known to experience seasickness when out on the water, the Schipperke does not. Many who live on boats or work in marinas also enjoy the benefit of the breed's inherent ability as a watchdog.
While the tradition of keeping animals such as sheep and cattle is a common practice, not everyone wants or needs the commitment of keeping a large herd. Nowadays, many individuals keep it simple with four to five livestock on a patch of land. While a larger herding dog might be too overbearing in these situations, the Schipperke can be a perfect alternative. The breed may be small but it has always had an impressive knack for moving small herds as well, if not better than, larger herding dogs. They rarely cause harm to sheep and cattle and are able to move swiftly and effectively to get the job done. In every situation, the dog will use its small size, bark and a breathtaking swiftness to its advantage.
Those hoping to use the autonomous Schipperke in other areas should begin training their dog as a pup. The daring and bold breed has proven very successful in a number of areas; however, if they are not properly socialized from the beginning there can be a chance for problems. This is especially true if the Schipperke will be working around children or other dogs. The breed is highly intelligent, making them very self aware. When they know they have had enough, no amount of coercing will make it otherwise. The responsible Schipperke owner works extensively with their dog and respects the dog's boundaries at all times. This makes for a wonderful working relationship that can last for years.