Choosing an American Eskimo

Choosing an American Eskimo

Selecting an American Eskimo DogSelecting an American Eskimo Dog
Selecting an American Eskimo DogSelecting an American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo dog is a small to medium Nordic-type dog. A loving family member and companion, the Eskie is a beautiful white dog that, in spite of the name, was bred for the indoors and not as a sled dog.

History and Origin

The true history of the American Eskimo dog is not known. By the 19th century small Spitz type dogs were commonly found in communities of German immigrants in the United States, often working as trick-dog acts in traveling circuses. These dogs were considered a member of the Spitz family of dogs, descending from the European spitz, white keeshond, white Pomeranian and the Volpine Italiano (white Italian spitz). After World War II, some feel that the Japanese spitz was added to the list of dogs used to produce the Eskie. Contrary to popular belief this breed is not a descendent from the working sled dog.

No one can agree upon the reason behind the name American Eskimo. Native Americans had developed a spitz-type working dog that looked like a larger version of the Eskie. The name may have come from the similarity to these dogs.

In 1993, the American Kennel Club recognized the American Eskimo dog and he was added to the Miscellaneous group. In 1995, the breed gained full recognition and is now a member of the Non-sporting group.

Appearance and Size

The American Eskimo dog has a Nordic-type face and is often mistaken with the small Samoyed. The breed has erect, triangular-shaped ears and prominent eyes set far apart. The eye color ranges from dark to medium brown with white eyelashes. The American Eskimo dog has distinctive black points on the lips, nose and eye rims. The white or white biscuit cream double coat consists of a short dense undercoat, with a layer of guard hair growing through it forming the outer coat. The outer coat is straight without a curl or wave. The coat is thicker and longer around the neck and chest forming a lion-like ruff. The plumed tail is carried loosely over the back with courage and pride.

The American Eskimo comes in three separate sizes. The toys are from 9 to 12 inches, miniatures from 13 to 15 inches, and the standards are from 16 to 19 inches from the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the foot. They can weigh from 25 to 30 pounds.

Personality Traits

The American Eskimo is a strong and agile dog as well as a loving companion. The breed learns new tasks with ease and is always eager to please his owner.

Home and Family Relations

The American Eskimo dog is an excellent watchdog, sounding a warning bark at the approach of strangers to protect their home and family. If not socialized and handled correctly at a young age, the Eskie can be shy and potentially aggressive.


The American Eskimo dog needs to be brushed and combed three to four times a week. The coat can get matted and tangled, particularly when shedding. Brush before a bath or tangles are impossible to get out of the coat.


The American Eskimo dog is an intelligent and alert breed. This results in a dog that is easily trained with standard obedience commands. The Eskie can be trained to perform a variety of tricks and has been known to excel in agility, herding and even hearing dog programs.


Special Care

The American Eskimo dog needs to be watched if he spends time in hot and humid weather, due to the thickness of their coat. Some Eskies may become overly attached to their owners if not properly socialized, resulting in behavior problems.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the American Eskimo is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to blindness.
  • Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops between the ages of 2 and 5 years.
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.The American Eskimo dog is also prone to kidney failure.

    Life Span

    The life span of the American Eskimo dog is approximately 13 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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