When I was a little girl, I didn’t know I would grow up to make a career out of working with dogs. All I knew was that I loved dogs and cats and animals in general. All shapes, sizes, personalities, and species – animals were my thing.
I also didn’t pay much attention to the fact that different dog breeds were, well, so different from one another in more ways than just appearance.
It was around the age of 12 when I met the girl who would later become my very best and longest friend, and when I was subsequently introduced to her American Eskimo dog, Rocky.
The moment I met Rocky is the moment I suddenly realized how very different certain dog breeds can be from one another.
My friend’s American Eskimo dog was not just the family dog. He was a part of the family. He was like my friend’s little brother, with his clever mind, outgoing spirit, and almost human-like ability to empathize.
Back then, I thought Rocky was just special. And don’t get me wrong, he was special. But what I didn’t realize was that the American Eskimo breed in general is special too. The breed as a whole, in fact, is unique and almost majestic, to the way they look to the way they behave and even to the way they learn. That’s why, as an adult, I have become so fascinated with the breed.
What is it about the American Eskimo, I wondered, that has rallied such a devoted fan base over the years? What makes them such diligent work dogs, such incredible performers, and such family-friendly favorites?
Well, that’s what we are here to find out! Let’s take a look at the American Eskimo and learn more about what it is that makes this breed so extra special.
Who Is The American Eskimo?
Despite his name, the American Eskimo has no connection to the Eskimo culture at all.
The American Eskimo is a purebred Spitz type dog who has a long and fascinating history but was not accepted by most major breed clubs in the United States until 1995.
This is relatively recent by breed club standards, and it’s especially surprising when you consider that the American Eskimo dog has actually been around since the early 1800’s.
There is a lot to love about the American Eskimo, with his stunning look, his fluffy coat, his keen intelligence, and even his super cool name.
And while we do love his name, the American Eskimo, or Eskie, as he is sometimes called, actually has no connection to the Eskimo culture whatsoever.
Then why on earth is this dog known as an American Eskimo? And furthermore, what was the American Eskimo originally bred for? Does he make a good family dog, and would he make the right companion for you?
So many questions! Let’s get some answers.
Where Does The American Eskmo Come From And What Was The American Eskimo Initially Bred For?
We actually have the Germans to thank for American Eskimos.
It was during the early 1800’s when the ancestors of the modern day American Eskimo first made their way to the United States. They came alongside German immigrants, earning their keep as humble working farm dogs.
These athletic, Spitz-type dogs were bred for function over fashion, and their intelligence and eagerness to please made them ideal working dogs. They performed a number of tasks on the farm for their people, and they made devoted companions and partners both in the field and beside the hearth after a long days’ work.
Known once upon a time simply as the German Spitz, these gorgeous white dogs soon found a new, more glamorous lifestyle in show business.
Like their Poodle counterparts, German Spitz dogs were found to be incredibly intelligent, athletic, eager to please, and quick to entertain!
The German Spitz found stardom as a circus performer and starred in Wild West shows, wowing audiences young and old with his ability to perform incredible tricks. Perhaps most famous is a German Spitz by the name of Pierre, who was the first dog to walk a tightrope in the Barnum & Bailey Circus!
It wasn’t until 1917, during the terrors of World War 1, when the German Spitz was forced to undergo a name change due to the prejudices of the times.
Luckily, an Ohio kennel known for breeding Spitz dogs had coined the term “American Eskimo” and the moniker stuck, even though the American Eskimo has absolutely no ties to the Eskimo culture in the slightest.
Still, it was another several decades before the patrioticly renamed Eskie would find himself actually accepted by the American Kennel Club as his own breed. But alas, the moment finally came in 1995, when the first American Eskimo found himself officially registered.
Today, American Eskimo dogs rank in at number 122 of 191 on the American Kennel Club’s list of America’s Most Popular dog breeds.
But don’t let the fact that the Eskie is low on the list of popular dog breeds deter you from learning more about him. Remember, he is a relatively “new” dog on the registry, which may be to blame for his rating.
The truth is, American Eskimos are some of the best and most trainable dog breeds in the world. Don’t believe us?
Keep reading and see for yourself!
What Is The American Eskmimo Dog Temperamental Traits Like?
American Eskmios get along with both children and other household pets.
The American Eskmio dog is perhaps most famous for his gorgeous appearance, but what lies underneath that fluffy coat is just as delightful.
Eskies are charming, clever, and confident companion dogs who require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy. They get along well with children and other household pets, although they can take their time when making new friends.
The great news is that once you are on an American Eskmo’s good side you’ll have a friend for life! These guys make incredibly devoted and loving companion dogs and, according to the American Kennel Club, Eskies have given the term “eager to please” a whole new and fantastic meaning.
This means that, when properly and consistently trained, the American Eskimo will make an excellent family pet for the right family.
With all that in mind, it’s no wonder this humble working dog found his way into show business! Of course, he has substantial beauty to go along with all that personality.
Let’s learn more about this super star dog and his super star appearance that continues to turn heads today.
What Does The American Eskimo Look Like?
American Eskimos are famous for their fluffy white coats.
American Eskimo Height: (Toy) 9-12 Inches. (Miniature) 12-15 Inches. (Standard) 15-19 Inches.
American Eskimo Weight: (Toy) 6-10 Pounds. (Miniature) 10-20 Pounds. (Standard) 25-35 Pounds.
American Eskimo Coat Color: White or Cream
Coat Type: Dense, double-coated, shedding
A Brief Overview Of The American Eskimo’s Physical Appearance
The American Eskimo is a stunning dog, there is no doubt about it. His perky disposition matches his perky looks, with his bright, white coat, pointed ears, and grinning expression.
The Eskie’s coat is double-layered with a dense, woolly undercoat and a fluffy, “lion’s mane” like outer coat.
He has round, black eyes and an expressive face, but most impressively is the fact that this dog, who comes in three size varieties, has a coat that naturally cleans itself!
That’s right! The american Eskimo’s coat is weather resistant, which means it really only takes a mere shake or two to get rid of most dirt, water, and debris.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that your American Eskimo won’t need a considerable amount of grooming and the occasional bath.
But just how much time does it take to groom an American Eskimo dog? We are about to find out!
How Do You Groom The American Eskimo?
The American Eskimo is a heavy shedder and needs consistent brushing.
When it comes to dogs, a thick, fluffy coat usually means there will be some shedding, and the American Eskimo is no exception.
Brushing your American Eskimo’s coat not only helps to keep his skin and fur healthy, but it will also help to remove dirt and debris caught in the undercoat which could lead to infections and hair loss.
Properly grooming your American Eskimo will also help to keep all that loose fur from your furniture and clothing.
And while we do know that grooming a dog can be daunting, the good news is that the American Eskimo’s white coat is shockingly easy to keep white.
The most problematic thing for American Eskimos is perhaps the occurrence of tear stains, which is common in white or lighter colored dogs.
But don’t worry. Investing in a quality tear stain remover that is safe and healthy for your dog’s eyes and coat will help to keep his face as sparkly white as the rest of him.
We should also note that American Eskimos are active dogs who will also need their nails trimmed regularly to keep them from cracking or splitting, and their ears checked and kept clean and free of any excess moisture, debris, or waxy buildup.
You can bathe your Eskie if he gets especially dirty, but keep in mind that the American Eskimo produces his own natural oils that help to keep his skin and coat healthy. Overbathing your Eskie can strip his fur of these natural oils and lead to an unhealthy and patchy looking coat.
If you want to keep your American Eskimo looking and feeling his best, experts suggest bathing him no more than once every two to three months and suggest only using a high quality dog shampoo that is safe for your dog’s skin and fur and that won’t strip him of the natural oils he produces.
Last but not least, we suggest brushing your American Eskimo’s teeth with a dog safe toothbrush and dog toothpaste to help keep his mouth and gums healthy.
And while grooming your American Eskimo will play a large role in his overall health and happiness, there are some inheritable health concerns that come with the breed that potential owners should be aware of.
Let’s learn more.
What Is the Average Lifespan Of A The American Eskimo And Does The American Eskimo Have Any Major Health Issues?
American Eskimos, while generally healthy, can be prone to some inheritable diseases.
American Eskmio Average Lifespan – 13 – 15 Years
- Patellar luxation
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Canine hip dysplasia
Let’s Learn More About the American Eskimo’s Health
The American Eskimo has a wonderfully long lifespan of up to 15 years and sometimes longer if he is well taken care of and doesn’t suffer from any serious illnesses or diseases.
Even better is that the American Eskimo is, for the most part, a healthy dog breed overall who only suffers from a few minor health issues, as you can see from our short list above.
You can help to ensure your American Eskimo lives his longest and healthiest life by keeping up with regular veterinarian visits, keeping your Eskie on a quality diet for his age, weight, and activity level, and by making sure he is adequately groomed and exercised.
And speaking of exercise, let’s talk about how to keep this energetic, outgoing, fun-loving pooch in ship shape, and also learn more about what it takes to properly train an American Eskimo!
What Are The Training And Exercise Requirements For An American Eskimo?
American Eskimos are incredibly easy to train but require lots of exercise.
It is true that sometimes intelligent dogs can also be a bit stubborn and more difficult to train due to their independent thinking. But not the American Eskimo.
American Eskimos are eager to please and considered some of the most trainable dogs in the canine kingdom! They are agreeable companions who get along well with just about everyone, with the only downfall being that they are sometimes slow to make friends, especially if they haven’t been properly socialized at an early age.
Still, and as we mentioned above, once an American Eskimo lets you into his circle, you’ll be in his circle for life!
Neither aggressive nor stubborn, there is a reason the American Eskmio was a favorite for circuses and other types of shows. This is a dog who is friendly, outgoing, intelligent, and keen to learn. He loves pleasing his people and learns best when trained using positive reinforcement methods.
With that being said, like many dogs the American Eskimo is sensitive and his eagerness to please can also lead to him shutting down if training is done too harshly.
It won’t be difficult to train this dog so there is really no reason to use punishment during training anyway. Just use some good, healthy training treats and lots of praise and you’ll have a star on your hands in no time!
Of course, like all dogs, the American Eskimo will need socialization at an early age and small children should be supervised around him, as any dog can be prone to nipping if they are fearful or in pain.
Experts suggest that once children are old enough, parents sit down with them and talk about how to properly and respectfully interact with a dog in order to keep playtime safe and fun for everyone.
Still, Eskies do love having children around as playmates and they also enjoy other household pets.
With that in mind, remember that the American Eskimo can be slow to make new friends. Early socialization will help keep them confident and well rounded when meeting new people and pets and help alleviate any unwanted behavioral issues in the breed.
It is important to also note that Eskies are incredibly intelligent which means they can be prone to boredom and anxiety when left home alone for too long or when left to their own devices.
These pups require plenty of mental stimulation to keep their minds busy, otherwise they can exhibit destructive behaviors like chewing and digging inside and outside of the home.
When it comes to exercise, the American Eskimo requires quite a bit. He needs a good walk or run every day and then plenty of playtime inside and outside of the house.
Because of his intelligence and energy level, the American Eskimo can be prone to destructive behaviors and won’t do well left to his own devices for too long.
For this reason, we suggest dog proofing your home to help keep your American Eskimo and your belongings safe should he decide he wants to start chewing.
What Are Some Pros And Cons To Owning An American Eskimo Dog?
All dogs come with some pros and cons, but the Eskie has a bigger list of pros than most.
Pros To Owning An American Eskimo:
- American Eskimos are incredibly intelligent
- They are easy to train and eager to please
- Eskies get along well with children and other household pets
- Their white coats are easy to keep clean and they only require the occasional bath
- Eskies are playful and happy almost all the time
- American Eskimo dogs are generally pretty healthy and have a long lifespan
- They come in three different sizes ranging from quite small to large
Cons To Owning An American Eskimo:
- American Eskimos are high-energy dogs who need lots of exercise
- Their thick coats shed constantly and they are not ideal for allergy sufferers
- Eskies can be prone to destructive behaviors if not properly trained and exercised
- American Eskimos can be slow to make new friends and may be standoffish if not properly socialized at an early age
What Is The Ideal Home Type For An American Eskimo Dog?
American Eskimos are adaptable companions, but they do require lots of time and commitment from their owners.
And while they do great with children and other household pets, American Eskimos are energetic and will thrive with more active families who have plenty of time to commit to them.
The ideal home type would be one with a decent sized backyard with lots of toys where your Eskie can run and play when he needs to burn off some excess energy and a home that doesn’t mind having lots of dog hair around.
If you want to raise your American Eskimo in an apartment, you’re in luck! American Eskimos come in three different size varieties!
Still, regardless of the size of your American Eskimo, he is going to need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation each and every day.
Furthermore, American Eskimos also become very bonded to their families and will do best with owners who have flexible schedules and can be home often to train and play with them, otherwise they can be prone to suffering from depression and separation anxiety.
Is An American Eskimo Right For Me?
The American Eskimo sounds like a wonderful dog on paper, and he does have an incredibly large and loyal fanbase of Eskie lovers worldwide!
Still, this isn’t the right dog for every person. As we now know, American Eskimo dogs require lots of time and commitment and will need owners who are able to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
If you are super busy in life and don’t have time to train, exercise, and otherwise just be around your Amerian Eskimo, then an American Eskimo probably isn’t right for you. Also, keep in mind that the American Eskimo is not hypoallergenic, meaning he is not the ideal dog for those who suffer from allergies.
In fact, the American Eskimo sheds. A lot. So, if you don’t like dog hair everywhere, don’t get an American Eskimo.
However, if you have a flexible schedule and are looking for a dog who will be more of a constant companion both at home and on the go, then you’ll likely fall in love with this fluffy white breed.
And remember, the American Eskimo is a family dog who will love having little ones to play with, so as long as you don’t suffer from allergies, don’t mind dog fur on your floor, furniture and clothing, and have time to train, exercise, and play with your Eskie, then maybe this is the perfect breed for your household!
How To Choose The Healthiest American Eskimo Puppy Or Rescue Dog
Choosing a healthy puppy begins at the source. Make sure you go through responsible breeders or rescue organizations to ensure your puppy is as healthy as possible.
Is the American Eskimo the right dog for you? That’s great!
We love the American Eskimo and love the fact that, for the most part, this is a healthy, happy, and family-oriented dog breed.
It’s even better that the American Eskimo has only a few minor health issues to contend with, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp when it comes to where you get your American Eskimo dog or puppy.
If you plan to get your Eskie as a puppy from a breeder, experts urge you to stay away from backyard breeders, online sellers, and pet stores.
These sources may cost you less up front but could wind up costing you much more both financially and emotionally down the road, especially if you end up with a sick puppy or poorly bred dog.
Make sure you go through reputable sources who are able to offer you health certificates and can prove to you that their American Eskimo puppies have been health screened for any major health issues before clearing them to go home with you.
On the flip side, if you have your heart set on rescuing or adopting your American Eskimo dog, you’re in luck. Adopting a dog is usually much less expensive than buying one from a breeder and there are plenty of breed-specific rescues around the United States that specialize in the American Eskimo and other Spitz type dogs.
There are several benefits to adopting an American Eskimo, and one of them is that your dog will likely come with a free vet exam from the shelter. If you get an adult American Eskimo, chances are that much of the training will have already taken place as well.
And if not, then the good news is that these dogs are easy to train, so you shouldn’t have that tough of a time getting your pup where you want him!
So, do you have your heart set on an American Eskimo dog? Tell us why or why not in the comment section below.
Sara Seitz has spent most of her life in the pet industry and has a bachelors in animal behavior from Colorado State University. Sara started working with dogs and cats as a high schooler at a rural boarding kennel. There she learned a lot about the bad and the ugly of the pet service industry. But not even the toughest day at that job would dissuade Sara from following her dream of working with animals.
In college, Sara got a job at a dog daycare and boarding facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her new career provided even more opportunities for learning about dog behavior than her classes did. As general manager of the daycare, Sara helped the company launch a new in-home pet sitting branch and trained to become a certified dog trainer. Between shifts taking care of peoples pets in-home and supervising dogs during playtime at the daycare, Sara organized and taught obedience classes.
Sara has always been passionate about bettering the lives of our canine companions. She soon found that advocating for and educating owners in the power of positive reinforcement training was one of the best ways to help dogs and their owners live happier lives.