American Eskimo Dog Breed Info And Characteristics

The American Eskimo Dog or American Spitz (Eskimo Spitz, American Eskimo Spitz, Eskie) is a Nordic Spitz-type dog that originated in the US at the beginning of the 20th century, but it actually descended from the European Spitz dogs. In fact, the breed was probably developed from a one variety of the white German Spitz, with influences from other similar breeds, such as the white Keeshonden, the Volpino Italiano, and the larger white Pomeranian. Although purebred, the white Keeshonden and the larger Pomeranians were excluded by the breed standard. So, they became pets of the working people, who brought them into the US in the 1900s. In fact, all these breeds were imported in America by German (mainly) and other European immigrants. At the beginning of the 20th century, these Nordic-type dogs became quite common all around the US, especially in the immigrant communities. At that time, these dogs were all referred to as the American Spitz rather than the German Spitz, and were mainly used as watchdogs and property guardians, as well as working farm dogs. They were highly prized for their incredible intelligence and trainability, but also because of their fluffy, cute look.

In 1917, the name of the breed was changed to the American Eskimo, which resulted in a complete misunderstanding of the breed’s origin. The name was probably changed with the idea to distance the breed from any German connections (“Spitz” is the German word for all Nordic dogs with pointed muzzles), quite a common thing at the end of the WWI. Unfortunately, this resulted in that many had the opinion that the AED descended from the larger sled pulling dogs bred by the Eskimos, and that this dog is actually their miniature variety. This was, of course, completely incorrect and misguiding. Anyhow, the breed finally came into the attention of a wider audience in the 1920s, when these dogs were used as trick performers in circuses across the USA. Many of today’s Eskies actually descended from these circus dogs. Though the Eskies are quite popular in the USA, they are almost unknown abroad. The FCI does not recognize the American Eskimo Dog because it was developed from the German Spitz breeds and the Volpino Italiano, which are both recognized in the European Spitz section, Spitz and Primitive Types group. The breed was, on the other hand, recognized by the AKC in 1995, in the Non-Sporting Group.

American Eskimo Dog Temperament And Personality

The Eskie has such a lovely smile and expressive eyes, which will literally enchant you.

I know, you can’t resist me :)

The American Eskimo Dog is a hardy, playful and alert dog that is best known after its fluffy, gentle appearance, cute smile, great loyalty and incredible agility. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more about the Eskie that makes this dog so special. He is also incredibly intelligent, cunning, thoughtful, brave, hyperactive, vigilant, devoted, versatile, and eager to please its master. In fact, the term “eager to please” was made after the great obedience of this dog, which says a lot about his devotion. Although in the past Eskies were only used as working and circus dogs, today they are mostly known as companions with a reason. The American Eskimo Dog truly makes an excellent family pet. He is naturally very affectionate and loving to all family members, and will always enjoy their company. What’s even better, he is such a loyal and exceptionally devoted dog that will do anything to make you happy. With a lovely smile upon his face, the American Spitz will wholeheartedly join you in your daily activities and will do anything he can to assist you. Well, he will probably just interfere, but will definitely overwhelm you with his positive energy, which is ok in itself :)

Such inexhaustible positive energy is the main reason the American Eskimo Dog is considered an outstanding playmate for older children (8+ years). Indeed, this playful and cheerful dog will enjoy very much all kinds of games and childish activities. He is literally crazy and whacky by nature, so don’t be surprised if he goes nuts with kids. However, the American Spitz is actually not recommended for families with toddlers and small children (though the temperament of individual dogs may vary, and some Eskies can get along quite nicely with them). The reason for that lies in the fact that this dog is incredibly energetic and hyperactive. So, there is always a chance your dog could hurt a child unintentionally, but not just that. Sometimes, he can also start barking at a child out of pure excitement in play. Needless to say, such behavior can definitely frighten small children. That’s why it should be prevented (or corrected) as soon as possible. Of course, the best way to do this is to raise your American Eskimo Dog with your kids. Also, it would be wise to socialize you dog with children and different situations. This will be especially helpful in the case of children outside the Eskie‘s family because this dog can be very protective.

The Eskimo Spitz will not only protect the children, but all other members of the household. Indeed, this is a dog with fiery temperament, which is in addition incredibly brave. So, if he feels that any family member is threatened in some way, he will fearlessly protect him/her. Luckily, such behavior can be expected only in some serious situations. Otherwise, the American Eskimo is rarely ever aggressive, neither is he eager to bite. However, he won’t miss a chance to announce anyone that comes near the owner’s property. Truly, this is an excellent watchdog with keen senses. There is no way anything can sneak up past him, especially not some stranger. The Eskie is naturally mistrustful and wary of strangers. On top of that, he is very territorial and alert, and will always watchfully observe your property, ready to sound the alarm at anything suspicious. And when I say “anything suspicious,” I literally mean that. Every sound, move, or anything unusual can trigger this dog’s reaction – the annoying, high-pitched bark. Yeah, the American Spitz is quite prone to excessive barking. So, teach your dog some commands to control this habit. Also, you should socialize him with people of all ages, different sounds, sights, etc.

Unlike many other Spitz-type dogs, the American Eskimo Dog can get along fine with non-canine pets, such as cats or rabbits. Of course, to become friendly with them, it would be necessary that you raise your dog with other pets. This way they would easily get accustomed to each other, and you could witness a beautiful friendship. Well, it would be all fine and lovely until your Eskimo Spitz switches to one of his crazy, hyperactive moods and start to tease them, but it would probably put a smile on your face. However, you have to be warned that small pets, like hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, or mice, should never be left alone with this dog, doesn’t matter what you do. They are simply too tempting for an Eskie, who will probably chase them around like crazy. When it comes to other dogs, things tend to be even better. The American Eskimo Dog is usually not aggressive nor dominant with other dogs. In fact, he can easily get accustomed to them, especially if they’re raised together. However, there is always a possibility that your Eskie gets into trouble with some unknown dog of the same sex, or a neighbor’s cat. That’s why it would be wise that you socialize your dog as soon as possible with all kinds of pets, including different dog breeds.

The Eskies are more suiter to a colder climate, and they like to play in cold, snowy weather.

Oh, I love snow :)

American Spitz Training

To put it as simply as possible, the American Eskimo Dog is one of the most trainable breeds, but only in experienced hands. Indeed, these dogs are not stubborn or independent like some other primitive dog breeds. Yeah, it is true that they are independent thinkers, but if motivated properly, they can easily learn everything you want them to know. These dogs are incredibly intelligent and bright. They have such excellent problem solving and trick learning capacity, which will definitely leave you amazed. After all, they haven’t been used as circus performers without a reason. However, you have to be aware that American Eskimo Dogs can use their high intelligence in a completely opposite way – to manipulate their owners. This is the reason they are not recommended for inexperienced, novice owners. With that being cleared, let’s jump onto training basics. To train an Eskie successfully, you will have take the role of a confident leader with gentle hand. You will have to be firm and consistent, but patient and calm. Training sessions should be short (30 min), fun and interesting, but never repetitive. Positive reinforcement techniques (praise, play and food rewards) are the best choice in this case. With basic training done, it would be recommended to continue teaching your Eskie advanced commands, just to keep him occupied.

Other Characteristics And Traits

Main American Eskimo Dog characteristics are high intelligence, alertness, high stamina, agility, athleticism, resourcefulness, tenacity, stubbornness, cunningness, liveliness, independence, playfulness, cheerfulness, boldness, and curiosity. Looking at these, it is quite obvious that this is an incredibly agile and lively dog breed, always ready for all kinds of vigorous activities. Indeed, these dogs simply love to work and need to be occupied with something, or else they will probably make a mess. That’s why they are primarily recommended for active and sporting owners, particularly those who are ready to spend a lot of time with their dogs. So yeah, it is more than clear that you will have to provide your Eskie with a good amount of regular mental and physical exercise to keep him healthy. For a start, take your dog for a long walk or hike once or even twice a day. This way you will satisfy his migrating needs, but that definitely won’t be enough. You will also have to play some interesting and fun games with him to challenge him mentally, such as fetch game, hide-and-seek, play with toys, etc. Besides, it would be recommended that you have some enclosed area at disposal to let your Eskie run and play freely on his own.

The Eskimo Spitz makes an excellent watchdog.

Quiet! I’m on the watch :)

The proper daily exercise will be of great importance if you keep your American Eskimo Dog indoors, which is to some degree recommended. In fact, this is a type of dog that is suitable to almost any living place. Whether you are living in an apartment or on a farm, the Eskimo Spitz will do just fine as long as he is properly exercised and in the company of his owner and other family members. This dog literally thrives on human companionship and will gladly spend as much time as possible surrounded by his family. However, if I would have to pick a perfect living place for an Eskie, it should definitely be a house with an open, enclosed area with plenty of room to run. Ideally, you should let your dog play in a yard during the day, but keep him indoors over the night. For this reason, it would be necessary that you prepare some nice, comfortable place for him inside the house. This way you will be able to always keep him by your side, which is very important. Indeed, you should never leave your Eskie alone for long, or keep him locked in the backyard. A dog that’s forgotten or simply not a part of the family can develop all other sorts of bad behaviors, such as separation anxiety, obsessive barking, aggressiveness, chewing, apathy, timidity, etc.

However, if you’d have to leave your American Eskimo Dog for some time, it would be best that you leave him in a crate or yard with a few of his favorite toys. This way you will be sure he will stay occupied long enough to not make a mess. And when I say mess, I really mean that. The American Spitz can easily get into all sorts of trouble thanks to his curious, restless nature. For this reason, it would be wise that you keep your dog on a leash when in walks, but never let him lead the way. Remember, you will always have to be the boss with this buddy! Also, make sure that your yard is securely enclosed with a high, deep pinned fence. The Eskie is an outstanding problem solver, which can easily overcome various obstacles. So, if there is any possible escape route, he will definitely use it. Indeed, this is rather an inquisitive dog that will eagerly check what’s going on in the neighborhood. He will probably return after some time, but you can never know what kind of trouble can he get into. On the other hand, if you intend to keep your Eskie indoors for the most time, you have to know that these dogs are heavy, heavy shedders. I mean, just look at that fluffy coat, it is quite obvious. That’s why it would be necessary that you brush your Eskie as often as you can (once every day). Otherwise, you will have a ton of dead hair all over your floor and furniture.

Eskie Health

The usual lifespan of an American Eskimo Dog is around 14-16 years. This is generally a hardy and healthy breed that is susceptible to only a few of health problems, which are relatively common in other dog breeds. Among them are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), juvenile cataracts, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, diabetes, epilepsy, tear-staining, various allergies, dental issues, etc. Fortunately, none of these is in the category of major concerns, but nonetheless you should be aware of them all. That’s why it is very important that you buy an Eskie from a good, reputable breeder, one that can provide you with clearances that both of a puppy’s parents are healthy. On top of that, a responsible breeder should provide you with the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFA) clearance and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certification that the puppy is screened for both limbs and eye health problems. Remember to inspect your dog’s eyes, tear ducts and ears from time to time, just to be completely sure that everything is ok. In the end, you have to know that these dogs can be prone to obesity, which is why a proper diet and good exercise are mandatory things.

Eskimo Spitz Physical Characteristics And Appearance

The American Eskimo has such an abundant coat that is so soft and fluffy.

Fluffy furball :)

The American Eskimo Dog comes in three sizes – Toy (smallest), Miniature (medium), and Standard (largest). Of course, Toy and Miniature Eskies are small and light dogs, while the Standard Eskies are typical medium-sized dogs as you can see below by their measures. They all have similar temperament and are quite alike in appearance. The Eskie has the compact and well-balanced body covered with a long and fluffy double coat. As usual, the undercoat is lush, dense and soft and the topcoat is long, straight and standoffish. The hair can’t be curly or wavy. It is longer on the neck (forming ruff or mane, which is more noticeable on the males), back of the front and rear legs (feathering), and on the tail. With an abundant coat like that, it is perfectly clear that Eskies are more suited to a colder climate. In fact, they very much enjoy playing and running in cold, winter weather. Cute snowballs :) Of course, such coat will definitely require a lot of grooming. Daily brushing and combing is recommended to remove dead hair and to prevent matting. Luckily, you won’t have to bathe your Eskie too often (once every few months) because the hair is self-cleaning thanks to its natural oil. The only allowed American Eskimo Dog colors are white and cream. The preferred color patterns are solid white and white in combination with cream.

The American Eskimo Dog has a typical wedge-shaped head that is broadest at the back and tapers to the tip of nose. The muzzle is not very long, in fact, it is proportional to the length of the skull. The jaws are normally developed and teeth meet in a scissors bite. The small and round nose is black, just like the lips and eye rims. The medium-sized, oval eyes are dark brown and slightly slanting. The triangular ears are small, thick and well furred. They are set high and relatively close to each other. The moderate and slightly arched neck is set broadly into the shoulders. The well-developed chest is deep, with well-sprung ribs. The stomach is just slightly tucked up and loins are strong, broad and short-coupled. The back is straight, level and firm. The moderate, sweeping tail is set on high and carried firmly over the back. It has a brushy, plumed look since it’s covered with profuse coat. The forelegs are completely straight and sturdy. The hind legs are relatively straight, muscular and very strong. All legs are well-feathered on the back side. The very small, cat-like feet with coarse pads are tightly closed with well arched toes. They are well furred and protected from frostbite. The American Eskimo Dog gait is very fluid, straight and springly.

Toy American Eskimo Dog is the smallest of three varieties.

Toy American Eskimo Dog

Toy American Eskimo Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 10 and 12 inches (25-30 cm)
– Weight between 9 and 11 pounds (4-5 kg)
– Height between 9 and 11 inches (23-28 cm)
– Weight between 7 and 9 pounds (3-4 kg)

Miniature American Eskimo Dog is medium-sized, smaller than Standard AED, but slightly bigger than Toy AED.

Miniature American Eskimo Dog

Miniature American Eskimo Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 13 and 15 inches (33-38 cm)
– Weight between 13 and 18 pounds (6-8 kg)
– Height between 12 and 14 inches (30-36 cm)
– Weight between 11 and 15 pounds (5-7 kg)

Standard American Eskimo Dog is the largest of three varieties.

Standard American Eskimo Dog

Standard American Eskimo Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 16 and 19 inches (41-48 cm)
– Weight between 22 and 35 pounds (10-16 kg)
– Height between 15 and 18 inches (38-46 cm)
– Weight between 18 and 31 pounds (8-14 kg)

Excellent Competitor

Like I said earlier, the American Eskimo Spitz is truly a restless, hyperactive dog with the brilliant mind. His high stamina, incredible agility and great athleticism are marvelous things in themselves, but if you add into the mix his outstanding intelligence, excellent trainability and problem solving capacity, it is not hard to understand that the American Eskimo Dog is truly an awesome competitor in various dog sports. Indeed, this dog excels in all kinds of games and competitions, such as agility and obedience trials, showmanship, tricks, rally obedience, heelwork to music, and other dog sports. In fact, the Eskie is one of the best (if not the best) dog breeds to compete in obedience trials. With that in mind, I guess it wouldn’t be a bad thing to put your dog through extensive training in obedience. Who knows, maybe you have the ace of spades right beside you. Being such an excellent sporting breed, it is not surprising that some American Eskimo owners register their dogs as the German Spitz (almost identical breed) in order to compete in different sports in international dog shows. This is, in fact, quite common practice because this breed is not entirely recognized around the world.

Man’s Best Friend

Above anything else, the American Eskimo Dog is truly an incredible companion. This is such a lively, obedient and fun-loving dog that always craves for human attention. And he’ll definitely get it with that lovely smile and expressive eyes. Once spellbound by this cute furball, you won’t be able to ignore his little requests :) And that’s a good thing because, in return, he will do anything to please you. Whether you are doing something, or just resting on your sofa, your Eskimo Spitz will always join you and stay at your side. So yeah, he will literally be your best friend without any doubt. And not just yours, but to all other family members. Such a heart <3 However, it has to be noted that this is definitely a one person dog that will be more inclined to a family member that spends more time with him. That’s why a well-trained Eskie usually makes an excellent therapy dog. Ok, this dog might be somewhat wary and suspicious of strangers, but once properly introduced, he can easily become friendly with them. So, all in all, the American Eskimo Dog can truly be a wonderful addition to every family as long as you are willing to dedicate a lot of time to him. This dog will definitely know how to reward your attention, just wait until he makes you proud and put a smile on your face :)

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