American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog descended from European Spitz breeds. Bred for both beauty and agility, he originally made a fine circus performer. The name is misleading because the Eskie was not bred by northern Native Americans, but rather by German immigrants. Called the American Spitz until the turn of the 20th Century, the Eskie was renamed the American Eskimo Dog — perhaps as a nod to the large Nordic spitz heritage.

Today the brilliant white Eskie is more likely to entertain people in agility events than by performing circus tricks, but the breed retains a clever personality and sprightly nimbleness. An Eskie is friendly, but often a bit suspicious with strangers, making for a good (and often a tad too vocal) watchdog.

Training an Eskie involves finding equilibrium between his innate intelligence and his independent streak. Never underestimate the intelligence beneath the beautiful exterior; this dog will infinitely test an owner’s patience and creativity. He’s a busy breed, requiring activity for body and brain — but he can live in an apartment if exercised sufficiently. Commonly friendly to other dogs, and affectionate and highly playful with children, the Eskie fits into active families, but he can’t be expected to live with a houseful of small critters; the Eskie’s prey drive is rather strong.

The American Eskimo Dog:

Bright white

Should I get an American Eskimo Dog?

Terrific for a person who:

Ranks beauty high on the list of dog traits (Eskies are called “the dog beautiful”)
Enjoys the wolfish look and spitz independence, in miniature form.
Expects a quick student to learn “shake,” “roll over,” and other tricks.

Think twice if you’re a person who:

Hearing the word “Eskimo,” plans to buy a sled for a sturdy arctic dog.
Figures this is the strong, silent type of dog breed, but in a pretty white package.
Values beauty, but less-so if the beauty comes frosted (in white) with spunk.

Care and maintenance of the American Eskimo Dog:

The Eskie keeps himself relatively clean and odor free, but the fluffy double coat needs frequent brushing. Grooming an American Eskimo Dog »

The Standard Look:

The Dog Beautiful is an appropriate nickname for this breed, which has a thick, snow-white coat, erect ears and a plumed tail, as well as the square build and wedge-shaped head that mark it as a member of the spitz family. The breed comes in three sizes: Toy, Miniature, and Standard and ranges from 10-30 pounds.

Possible health concerns:

Diabetes, epilepsy, hip dysplasia

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Breed Details

Country of Origin:
Small Dog Breed
White or or white with biscuit cream.

Soft, thick, short undercoat with longer outercoat.


Brush twice weekly, daily during shedding cycle.

Life Expectancy:
15 to 16 years
AKC Group:
Non-Sporting Group
UKC Group:
Northern Breed
Toy 9 to 12 inches, Miniature 12 to 15 inches, Standard 15 to 19 inches at the shoulder
Weight in proportion to height (1 to 2 pounds per inch of height).
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