Are you looking for a dog with looks and charm who is also great with kids? The American Eskimo Dog may just be your perfect family pet.
American Eskimo dog. Image source: Depositphotos
Also known as the American Spitz or Eskie, the American Eskimo Dog is a small to medium size breed known for its intelligence, loyalty, and playful personality. With their striking appearance and strong work ethic, it’s no wonder that these dogs have been popular for the past 100 years or more.
From their early days as working dogs — as herders, hunters, guards, watchdogs, and even pulling carts and sleds — to being circus performers, this breed has an interesting evolution story.
The American Eskimo Dog Breed Has a Fascinating History
The American Eskimo dog breed is included in the Nordic Spitz breed (the Spitz breed also includes Pomeranians, Samoyeds, and Keeshonds.)
The breed was originally known as a German Spitz. During the 1910s and ‘20s, when anti-German sentiment was at a peak, the breed’s name was changed to the “American Eskimo Dog” in an effort to distance them from their German roots. In 1923, the United Kennel Club (UKC) officially changed its name.
Throughout the twentieth century, the breed’s reputation as a desirable, hardworking, and intelligent breed continued to grow.
In the 1930s, they were put to work for the circus, thanks to their agility and acrobatic abilities. They were known to perform tricks like jumping through hoops and walking on tightropes and other dog sports. This all made the breed even more desirable as family pets.
In 1995, the American Eskimo Dog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Today, they are a popular companion animal in the United States and are known for their loyal and loving nature.
A Dog Breed with Striking Features
Eskies are beautiful dogs with several distinctive features. Here is some basic American Eskimo dog breed information:
- Coat: They have thick, white coat (sometimes their coat has some biscuit-colored bits). Like other nordic breed dogs, they have a double-layer coat that can protect them from very cold temperatures. Their thick coat is easy to maintain, requiring nothing more than to be brushed once or twice a week, making them low maintenance. Because of their double coat, they do shed quite a bit as the seasons change.
- Mane: In addition to their overall thick coat, they have a “mane” of fur around their neck, which gives them a regal appearance.
- Head and face: Their heads are wedge-shaped and they have pointy snouts with black eyes, lips, and noses. They have perky “up ears” that make them appear especially alert.
- Tail: Their plume-shaped tails curl around jauntily over their backs in a curlicue.
- Size: Eskie dogs come in a range of sizes from 6–35 pounds, with the miniature averaging somewhere in the middle of that range. The American Kennel Club recognizes three sizes: Toy American Eskimos start as small as 9 inches tall. Miniatures range from 11–15 inches. The largest, Standard American Eskimos max out at 19 inches tall.
And a Great Temperament, too!
In addition to their stunning appearance, these dogs are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They are generally good with children and other pets, and they are known for their strong bond with their family.
These dogs are highly trainable, affectionate, and love to play. This, of course, makes them great pets, especially for families. Whether you get an American Eskimo puppy or a full grown one from a rescue, you’ll find them easy to incorporate into your family life.
How To Keep an Eskie Happy
American Eskimo dogs may be on the small side, but they still require plenty of daily exercise. Walks, hikes, playing fetch, and running through fields are great ways to keep them in shape.
Eskies also need plenty of mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They are intelligent dogs who love training and solving puzzles. Providing them with toys, working on skills, and playing games will keep them sharp.
Bred for cold weather, these dogs love a good romp in the snow. On a snowy winter day, set up to cook some soup in a pressure cooker or crockpot and head outside for some doggy playtime. In warmer climates, you can always interest them in a game of fetch or entertain them with long walks or trips to the dog park.
Because of their easy-to-please temperament, they’re fast learners and highly trainable. But beware, they have a stubborn streak so you’ll need to be very consistent and patient with your training.
Health Concerns and Dog Care
These spitz dogs are a relatively healthy breed, but like any breed, there are certain health conditions that might be more common for them.
One of these fairly common health issues is hip dysplasia, which affects many small dog breeds, including the Eskie. It’s a condition where the hip joint doesn’t form properly and can cause pain and lameness.
Eye problems, like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, can lead to vision loss for Eskies.
American Eskimo Dogs are also at risk for skin allergies, which can cause itching and discomfort.
No matter what breed of dog you have, you’ll want to practice good dog care habits. Take them to the vet regularly for check-ups to catch any potential problems early on. And of course, feed them high-quality dog food and keep them at a healthy weight to reduce health risks.
A Great Family Dog
In addition to their affectionate, trainable, and playful nature, American Eskimos are also known for their adaptability. They can thrive in a variety of environments, even apartment living, as long as they are given plenty of opportunities to exercise and interact with their families.
Overall, the American Spitz is a smart, loyal, and playful breed that makes a great companion for families and individuals who can provide them with the attention and exercise they need. With their fascinating history and striking appearance, it’s no wonder that these dogs are so beloved by their owners.
If you want to dive more deeply into dog breed information, standard breed characteristics, or find a purebred to add to your family, visit the American Eskimo Dog Club of America. Or, whether you want an American Eskimo puppy or a full-grown adult, look for rescue organizations in your area that specializes in Spitzes or other small-to-medium-size dogs so you can adopt not shop.
Robin Donovan is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, food photographer, and the creative force behind the food blog allwaysdelicious.com, where she shares easy recipes for the best dishes from around the world. Download her 5 Favorite Chinese Takeout Recipes ebook today to try at home.