American Eskimo Dog (Standard)

During the early 1900’s, when the American Eskimo could be found high up on wire, tight roping for the circus during the early 1900’s. Now, the fluffy, bright white breed struts with their nose up high as a dignified house dog.

Don’t let their size fool you, the Eskie can be quite loud and a great watchdog.

Hard working, entertaining, and elegant, it’s easy to see why this breed captivated the imaginations of many Americans in the early 20th century. 

What makes this beautiful dog such a wonderful addition to a family?

Here is what you need to know about the American Eskimo.

History

Believe it or not, the American Eskimo isn’t a true American breed. Actually, the Eskie is a breed from the Spitz or Nordic dog family that hails out of Germany. Many believe the Eskie descends from the white German Spitz, a white Keeshond, white Pomeranian and white Italian Spitz.

During their tenure in Germany, the Spitz was in charge of guarding property and assisting their masters with farming duties. The American Eskimo was a natural capturing and gathering sheep and leading through the pastures at the farm.

The Spitz also thrived catching vermin, watching over sheep while they grazed, keeping an eye out on the farmer’s children.

The American Eskimo always had a knack for using their intelligence, and it was the Gypsies in the 1800’s that channeled those characteristics.

The Gypsies would teach the Spitz tricks and would invite the local media and people to watch their dogs perform them. This caught on rather quick with the locals and the breed gained in popularity.

When Germans emigrated to the United States, they weren’t leaving their talented dogs behind. Once the dogs arrived in the U.S. they found an immediate role as a working dog. Settling along New England, the Midwest, and Texas, the German Spitz gained in popularity.

In the early 1900’s, the dog was found to be quite resourceful in entertainment. It was said that the dogs learned how to tightrope and were able to weave their way in and out of a moving wagon wheel and dance to an arousing ovation.

The breed was still unrecognized by many kennel clubs during the first two decades of the 20th century. It was the United Kennel Club that gave the breed official recognition in 1913. In 1923, the United Kennel Club decided they didn’t like Spitz name due to the Anti-German sentiment and renamed the breed the American Eskimo.

Their numbers began to dwindle in popularity and it would take decades until the American Kennel Club would officially register the breed. In 1995, the breed was recognized by the AKC. Nearly a decade later, the Canadian Kennel Club did the same.

While they aren’t that popular around the world, and are listed only as the 122nd most popular breed by the American Kennel Club’s standards, they have done well in conformation shows, agility and obedience contests, and are a devoted, loyal companion to own.

Size

According to the American Kennel Club, the standard should reach a height between 15 to 19 inches.

The applaudable weight for the standard is 25 to 35 pounds.

Personality/Temperament

It shouldn’t be of anyone’s surprise that the American Eskimo is playful and eager to please. They thrive on getting your attention and will earn it. A talented breed, that is capable of tricks you may not have believed possible. 

In essence, the Eskie’s playful nature translates into an active dog that relishes a regular exercise regimen. Daily walks, trips to the park, runs or jogs, adventurous drives or hikes, fetch, obedience, you name it, the American Eskimo wants to do it.

Great with children and fine with certain dogs under supervision. The reason this dog thrived on the farm during the breed’s historic German run is due to the Eskies effective watchdog ability.

They may not physically impose or command the kind of respect that a Doberman Pinscher would, yet when the American Eskimo means business it means business. Their courage and effective bark makes them more than suitable to watch over your home.

This breed is highly intelligent, which is another trait the Eskie isn’t afraid to showcase. Conformation and other mental stimulation activities are essential from keeping this breed from becoming bored.

As mentioned above with tricks, this is a working dog. While many use the American Eskimo in the capacity of companionship, it would behoove you to put this dog to work on the ranch or farm.

They also adjust to their settings fairly well. If you live in a smaller space like an apartment, albeit not idea for an active breed like the Eskie, they can still be a quality and happily effective dog.

As important work, an active curricular and mental stimulation is to a breed of this magnitude, you will do yourself a favor by training and introducing this breed to others as a puppy. Socialization is key to a friendly and sociable dog.

Health

One of the most impressive features about this intelligent dog, that in time will catch on to the rest of the canine community is the American Eskimo’s health.

The American Eskimo can live from 12 to 14 years on average. Generally speaking, the Eskie is a healthy breed.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your Eskie won’t suffer some medical issue or is free and clear from health complication. Buying from a reputable breeder, who can give you the proper clearances and documentation needed, as well as routine visits with the veterinarian will ensure a healthier product in the long run.

That said, there are a few areas of concerns with the American Eskimo. This is more representative to the master than the dog itself, although those perky and kind eyes probably don’t help, obesity seems to be an issue with this breed. Obesity is mostly an issue that can be avoided with proper diet balances. If you allow your dog to freely eat, you are inviting a slew of health issues to this dog. Obesity can lead to digestive issues, metabolic problems and complications with the joints. It also leads to heart disease.

Patellar Luxation, although not a major concern for this breed, can have an impact on the Eskie. When the femur and knee cap don’t properly align, it can create discomfort, pain and lameness.

Hip Dysplasia seems to be possible in nearly all breeds.

An eye disease that gradually deteriorates the retina, that early on can lead to night blindness and eventually complete blindness is known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Other complications like infections and diabetes are something to keep a watch on. Otherwise, this is a list that is mostly cautious than a declaration.

Care

This isn’t exactly the lowest maintenance of breeds, although a majority of grooming belies with their coat.

Trimming the nails once a month or when needed to avoid cracks, splits, and overgrowth. Check their ears for infections, since the Eskie loves being active outdoors. 

Regular exercise or an hour a day walking the American Eskimo is crucial. This is a dog that requires some physical commitment. You can work them, or you can play fetch, or simply walk them to the bark to integrate with other dogs. As long as they get their exercise, you will have a healthy and happy dog.

This isn’t a breed that is designated to particular climates, although the American Eskimo makes a much better companion in the snow or in colder weather.

Not a dog that likes to be left alone for long period of times, and they will let you know and your neighbors know. Either a fellow companion like a cat or dog will do. 

Feeding

Feeding your American Eskimo a proper diet is crucial. A breed that seems to suffer from obesity easier than others, as well as a dog that is active and physical needs proper nutrition.

The suggested amount of dry food for your Eskie is between a 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups per day. Feeding them once in the morning, then again during the evening seems to work for many dog owners.

You should stay away from fillers and avoid wheat, soy, sugar, corn, or anything that could cause your American Eskimo allergies, diabetes and obesity.

This breed needs high quality protein source with beef, lamb, chicken or fish as its first ingredient. Veggies, omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants will encourage all around health. 18 to 22 percent of protein per day, and 5 to 8 percent  fat should do the trick.

As always, you should provide your American Eskimo with fresh drinking water.

Coat

When people first see the American Eskimo, they believe they are meeting a Samoyed. The American Eskimo has a fluffy, bright white double coat. The white stands out even more with the pops of black point on the nose and eyes. The top coat is long, and the undercoat is dense. The American Eskimo has projecting rings of fur around their neck and tail.

The two coat colors accepted with this breed’s standard is white, white and biscuit. There are no accepted markings.

The American Eskimo will blow coat twice a year. Although, there coat isn’t hard to groom or maintain, it does tend to gather and fester. In order to reduce hair all over your clothing, furniture and around the homestead, you will want to regularly brush your American Eskimo, so that you can collect the dead hair and promote a healthier and shinier coat.

Fun American Eskimo Facts

  • The American Eskimo will have about five puppies per litter.
  • The first club for this breed formed in 1985, the American Eskimo Dog Club of America.
  • In 1978, marked the first time an American Eskimo won the UKC Grand Show Championship. Then again, when an Eskie named PR Tank Iglu Sweet Love won both the UKC Grand Show and top award for obedience in 1981.
  • The name of the tight rope walking Eskie was Stout’s Pal Pierre.
  • Did you know that there are three varieties of the American Eskimo? That’s right, there is the “Miniature,” “Toy,” and “Standard.”

Closing Words

When you look at the American Eskimo you see a thing of beauty. A very well decorated and put together canine breed.

Just  the same can be said about their vibrant and perky personality. Their ability to please and an eagerness to serve their master regardless of the assignment.

An American Eskimo has all of the credentials of other fellow breeds, and it’s only a matter of time until they reclaim their status as one of the most popular dogs in America.