The American Eskimo Dog, originally called the American Spitz and now also known as the Eskie, is a Nordic breed recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1993. It was given Non-Sporting Group status and eligibility for full AKC recognition in 1995. Eskies resemble a fluffy cotton ball; their dense double coat is always white or white with biscuit cream, and they have slightly slanted oval eyes that are distinctively rimmed in black. Their face is softly wedge-shaped, and their erect ears are triangular.
There are three distinct sizes of the American Eskimo Dog: the toy, the miniature and the standard. Toys are 9 up to and including 12 inches. Miniatures are over 12 up to and including 15 inches. Standards are over 15 up to and including 19 inches. Sizes outside of these ranges, all of which are measured at the withers, are breed disqualifications. Although weight is not part of the breed standard, toys usually weigh between 6 and 10 pounds, while miniatures average between 10 and 20 pounds. The standard Eskie can weigh between 20 and 35 pounds, depending on its height. There is no preference for size within each height division.
The coat of the American Eskimo Dog requires regular brushing and an occasional go-over with a shedding blade. They do shed year-round, and once or twice a year they “blow’” their coat. They do well in both cold and warm climates, despite their thick coat. Owners who do not have time for grooming, do not like shedding or cannot handle a high-energy dog probably should acquire an American Eskimo Dog.
American Eskimo Dog Breed Quick Facts
American Eskimo Dog - Appearance & Grooming
Many people think that American Eskimo Dogs are miniature Samoyeds. They have a similar look, but the Eskimos are a breed all their own. They are compact dogs who come in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard. All three versions have the same physical characteristic: wedge-shaped heads, erect triangular ears, fluffy white coats, and large, plumed tails that rest or curl across the dog's back. Their eyes are brown and they have stark white eyelashes, and their toenails are also white. An Eskie's coat is always white or white with cream markings.
Size and Weight
American Eskimo Dogs come in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard. The toy breed ranges in height from 9 to 12 inches at the shoulder and usually weighs in at about 10 pounds at maturity. Miniature Eskimos stand between 12 and 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 20 pounds. Standard sized Eskimos are from 15 to 19 inches at the shoulder and weigh in at about 30 pounds at maturity.
Coat and Color
The American Eskimo dog comes in two colors: white and white with biscuit cream. They have a dense undercoat and a long topcoat that combines to create an overall fluffy coat which sheds year round. The hair is stick-straight and does not curl or wave. Eskimos are fluffy all over, but they boast a pronounced ruff of fur at the neck and the fur on the tail is also very pronounced.
American Eskimo Dogs have thick double coats that sheds 365 days a year and completely blows twice a year. But despite the shedding and the white fur, their coats are very easy to maintain. Brushing is required at least twice per week in order to cut down the amount of fur left around the house and to keep the dog's coat from matting. The oils in the dog's fur act as natural dirt repellants, and brushing also helps to keep the dog clean. This breed only requires bathing a few times per year – frequent bathing can strip the natural oils from the body and cause their skin to become very dry and irritated. Eskies have sensitive skin, and if owners opt to shave their dog in the summer months, care is required to prevent sunburn. Eskimos do not require trimming or stripping of the coat.
Additionally regular ear cleanings, teeth cleanings and nail clippings are required for both health and appearance.
American Eskimo Dog - History and Health
The American Eskimo Dog undoubtedly descended from several European spitz breeds, including the white Keeshond from Holland, the white German Spitz, the white Pomeranian from Germany and the Volpino Italiano, or white Italian Spitz. During the middle part of the 19th century, small, white Nordic-type dogs were common in American communities of German immigrants. Collectively, these dogs became referred to as the American Spitz.
This spunky breed gained extreme popularity for use as trick dogs in traveling circuses across the United States. Supposedly, an American Eskimo named Stout’s Pal Pierre walked on a tightrope in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. The public loved seeing their sparkling white coats and quickness, while trainers prized them for these attributes along with their inherent intelligence, agility and trainability.
Although the reason is not clear, the American Spitz was renamed the American Eskimo in 1917. This modern title mistakenly suggests that these are miniature versions of larger sled-pulling dogs developed in the far northern parts of this continent. The change from “Spitz” to “Eskimo” may be explained by the political climate in the United States during World War I. “Spitz” is a German work that means “sharp point” and was used to describe northern dogs with pointed muzzles, erect ears, curled tails and double coats, and it has been suggested that the name change was an attempt to distance the breed in America from its German origins.
The national parent club for the breed, the American Eskimo Dog Club of America (AEDCA), was formed in 1985 and opened its studbook in 1986. The AEDCA transferred its studbook to the American Kennel Club in 1993, with more than 1,750 Eskies registered as foundation stock. The American Eskimo Dog became part of the AKC’s Non-Sporting Group and fully recognized in 1995. Eskies are competitive in obedience, agility, rally and the conformation show ring. They are used as narcotics detection dogs and even guard dogs. While popular in the United States, this breed is little-known in other countries.
The average life span of the American Eskimo Dog is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns can include diabetes; epilepsy; hip dysplasia; juvenile cataracts; Legg-Calve-Perthes disease; patellar luxation; and progressive retinal atrophy.
American Eskimo Dog - Temperament & Personality
Happy and always energetic, the American Eskimo dog loves to run, play, learn new tasks and solve problems. As the name suggests, this breed especially loves playing in the snow, so they make a perfect companion for families who live in cooler climates. They are vigilant, with a keen ear, and make excellent watchdogs.
They are patient and loving with children, and their good nature make them a fine match for first-time dog owners.
he American Eskimo Dog needs a lot of exercise and play time. They are intelligent and creative problem-solvers so if they don't get enough activity, they can find creative (and often destructive) ways to entertain themselves when the family is away.
This dog is best suited for families with fenced-in yards and plenty of room to run. Apartment-dwelling folks will find their American Eskimo will become bored, depressed and constructive.
The American Eskimo Dog is good with children, and will happily engage in playtime with them. They can be rambunctious, so parents should keep an eye on small children, so they don't get knocked over.
This breed is easily trainable, and famous for learning tricks, but if they sense they can gain a bit of control, they will take it. Confident leadership is necessary to keep the chain of command in tact with this breed. Their high intelligence can also make them manipulative, so “pushover” parents beware. Positive reinforcement is the best method to employ when training and American Eskimo Dog, and once basic obedience training is complete, they should be enrolled in advanced courses to keep their minds stimulated.
They do not need to be trained as watchdogs, as they will inherently protect their territory, but unlike other breeds, they rarely develop aggression. Even so, they should be socialized at an early age, just to be safe.
Barking is common among American Eskimo Dogs, especially when left alone. Their bark is very high pitched and can be an annoyance to neighbors. They also bark at the sight of any oncoming person or object. They can be trained to obey a stop barking command, but rarely can the desire to start barking be trained out of them.
Because they crave companionship, American Eskimo Dogs can develop separation anxiety. Ensuring he has enough exercise and activities to keep him busy while the family is away, can prevent this problem from developing.