The American Eskimo Dog, also known as the American Spitz or Eskie, is a beautiful, fluffy little dog. Its bright white coat attracts admirers wherever it goes.
They come in three size variants so that they will fit any preference. If you’re looking for a small watchdog and a loving companion, the Miniature Eskimo Dog might be the one for you.
Read this guide to find out if they fit just right.
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The origins of the American Eskimo Dog
The Eskie originated in Germany, where it was initially called the German Spitz, coming from the Spitz family.
These dogs were mainly kept as companions and farm dogs in the 19th century. In the early 1900s, German immigrants introduced these dogs to the United States.
During World War I, American owners of the German Spitz started calling them the American Spitz in a display of patriotism and anti-german sentiment.
At this point, their history becomes even more interesting. They became popular through the American circus.
The Barnum and Bailey Circus had one pooch walk a tightrope, resulting in huge cheers from the crowd.
These circus-performer puppies were then sold after the show, increasing their popularity and likely leading to their current numbers.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) and United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the breed from as early as 1919 as the “American Eskimo”.
The breed adopted this name from a Spitz breeding kennel in Ohio.
Other breed clubs also recognize the Eskie, such as the National Kennel Club (NKC), North American Purebred Registry, Inc. (NAPR), and American Canine Association, Inc. (ACA)
Appearance: What does an American Eskimo Dog look like?
This former circus dog breed is strikingly good-looking. Their fluffy white coat and smiling faces make them stand out from the crowd. But there is more to their looks, hidden under all that fur.
Eskies have a nordic head, in line with their heritage. They also have erect, triangular ears.
And their black lips, nose, and eye rims contrast beautifully with their light coat. Their eyes are slightly oval, and dark or medium brown is the normal eye color.
The neck is erect, medium-length, and graceful. The topline is level, and the chest is deep, broad, and with well-sprung ribs. American Spitzes’ bodies are strong, well-muscled, and compact.
The forequarters, hindquarters, and legs are proportionate and well angulated. The legs turn neither in nor out, and rear pasterns are straight.
How big do American Eskimo dogs get?
These companion dogs come in three distinct sizes – standard, miniature, and toy. So depending on your preferences and the space you have available, you can choose a size that suits you best.
A standard American Eskimo dog weighs in at about 30 pounds (13.6 kg), and they stand at approximately 15 to 19 inches (38 to 48cm).
Miniature American Eskimo dogs weigh around 20 pounds (9 kg), and these stand at around 12 to 15 inches (30 – 38cm).
Toy American Eskimoes weighs just 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and stands at 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm) on average.
Females tend to be lighter and smaller than male Spitz breeds.
And regardless of size, they reach their full height and weight at 9 to 11 months. They’re also excellent apartment dogs, as long as they’re given plenty of opportunities to walk, run, and exercise daily.
Coat and hair of the American Eskimo Dog
American Eskimo dogs have a double coat, common to Nordic breeds.
Their white, fluffy overcoat is thick and glossy and stands off the skin, while their dense undercoat is short, allowing a longer coat of guard hair to grow through and form the outer coat.
Around their neck is a thick ruff or main that gives them a characteristic look.
The most common coat color of this purebred is white, but they’re sometimes mixed with other shades, like biscuit or cream, which is accepted on their AKC breed standard.
American Eskimo Dog vs. Samoyed
Many people ask, Is an American Eskimo Dog the same as a Samoyed? No, they’re not.
They’re different breeds. First, Samoyeds, or Sammies, came from Siberia and are bred to be working dogs.
Then, they’re larger, reaching a height of 21 to 23.5 inches (53 to 60 cm) and a weight of 35 to 65 pounds (16 to 29.5 kg).
Samoyed also has more color variety. Though they also have a double coat, their coat is made of a harsh guard coat and thick wool as an undercoat.
You can watch this video for a quick glimpse of their similarities and differences:
Temperament: Are American Eskimo Dogs good pets?
American Eskimo Dogs have the personality to fit their good looks. They’re clever, playful, hard-working dogs.
Easily trainable and eager to please, these pups could learn all the tricks in the book in no time. Eskies’ lively, loving, and playful temperaments make them great family dogs.
However, they may not be well-suited to families with small children or other pets, as they’re very energetic and can become rambunctious.
But if you’re looking for the best canines that can be watchdogs, Eskies will be up to the task.
Just like their close cousin, the Italian Spitz, they’re naturally wary of strangers. With early socialization, that can be minimized.
Are American Eskimo Dogs dangerous?
Like their Italian Spitz cousin, Eskies have acute hearing and keen eyes that make them excellent watchdogs, but not to the point that they get aggressive.
Most owners and pet experts say that they’re one of the friendliest dogs to strangers. They get jealous when other dogs or pets get their human’s attention, though.
While Eskies are quite independent, they love being part of family activities and are very loving of their owners.
With that said, being left alone for long periods can lead to separation anxiety, and eventually, destructive behaviors.
After all, they’re one of the canines that take a while to mature – up to 2 years of age. So you may notice many of them still have puppy behavior even after reaching their physical maturity.
It’s best to know that these Eskimo Dogs are talented chewers, so having a crate would be handy.
Taking care of an American Eskimo Dog
Caring for American Eskimos is considered moderate maintenance.
They may have the need to socialize and be the center of attention, but when it comes to exercise, grooming, and feeding, these tasks are tolerable.
And like other Spitz breeds, the Eskie has been bred for cold weather, so they’re more suitable to live somewhere cool.
This dog doesn’t do well with hot or humid weather, as their thick double coat traps in heat and makes them overheat.
Exercising your American Spitz
Eskies are high-energy dogs that enjoy vigorous exercise. 20 to 40 minutes a day should be enough. You can also sneak in some activities for mental stimulation, like an assortment of toys and puzzles.
Larger Eskies will need more exercise, and you should take them for a long walk or even a jog. Smaller versions of this purebred would be fine with just a short walk.
An active game in the yard is enough exercise for a toy or miniature American Eskimo Dog.
Grooming: Do American Eskimo Dog dogs shed?
This purebred is a heavy shedding dog, so those looking for a hypoallergenic pooch can cross this one out of their list.
And the only way to control is with frequent grooming, like brushing two to three times a week. We recommend doing this outdoors to keep the fur off your home.
It will also prevent matting, especially if your Eskimo Dog has a long coat.
Never shave that beautiful double coat, though. You may think it’s more convenient for you, but you’re ruining your pet’s hair and removing the fur’s natural purpose.
Protect their skin from elements and extreme weather conditions. A trim now and then to keep your fido looking good and clean.
Do American Eskimo Dogs smell?
These canines are pretty clean and rarely have that dog smell unless they get really dirty.
The oil on their fur keeps dirt from sticking to them, so a bath once every 6 weeks. Proper bathing and drying will help Eskie owners achieve that beautiful white coat.
Other than that, ears should be checked and clean weekly, toenails should be trimmed monthly, and it’s best to have their teeth brushed daily.
Feeding American Eskies
Generally, the recommended amount of dog food to give this purebred is 0.5 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry kibbles daily.
Divide it into two meals so that your Eskie will have something to eat in the morning and evening.
Toy and Miniature American Eskimo Dogs would require less food.
Still, it’s best to consider their age, weight, metabolism, and if any, existing health conditions when deciding what and how much to feed your canine friend.
Health problems that American Eskimo Dogs may have
Despite being generally healthy dogs with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, American Eskimos can be predisposed to genetic health conditions.
Knowing them before getting this pooch will help you know how to deal with them if she gets sick.
Some of those illnesses include Hip Dysplasia, where the hip socket may not fully cover the ball portion of the thigh bone.
The hip joint can therefore become wholly or partially dislocated. This can be painful and can lower the quality of life for your little fluffball.
But, depending on the level of degeneration, your dog may never even feel it. It can also be treated.
Patellar Luxation may also affect their knee joints and cause the dislocation of the kneecap, making movement difficult.
Other health issues that may arise include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), juvenile cataracts, tear staining, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and pyruvate kinase deficiency.
Eskies are also prone to diabetes, weight gain, and skin allergies, so their diet should be kept healthy and without excess.
To ensure that your pup lives a long and healthy life, you should take them to the vet for health screenings. If you take your dog to the vet, ask about the following tests:
- Hip evaluation
- PR Optigen DNA test
- Ophthalmologist evaluation
- Knee test
When inquiring about puppies from a breeder, be sure to find out if the parent dogs had these tests taken.
Recommended tests that are not required also include OFA clearances for the heart, elbows, knees, thyroid, and an evaluation for Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
How much does an American Eskimo Dog puppy cost?
American Eskimo Dogs have a price range of $600 to $1,000, but some can cost more, reaching the amount of $4,500 if an Eskie pup came from a superior bloodline.
Other factors that can affect their price are gender, the kennel’s location, and popularity, as well as the availability of puppies. On average, the Eskies have a litter size of 4 to 6 puppies.
Of course, buying a puppy or an adult dog is not the only cost involved in owning a dog. You should budget for food, toys, grooming, and trips to the vet too.
American Eskimo Dog breeders
If you’ve already done your research and know the do’s and don’ts in finding a good breeder, you can start browsing online for American Eskimo Dog puppies for sale.
The first place we’ll recommend is the AKC Marketplace.
The American Eskimo Dog Club of America (AEDCA) also has a list of breeders you can reach out to. Just select the one that’s near your area or state.
American Eskimo Dog for adoption
If you are not specifically looking for a well-bred puppy, adoption is a wonderful option.
You may even find that an older, calmer Eskie suits you and your lifestyle more than a rambunctious puppy.
Rescue is also always a great way to bring joy into a poor dog’s life and care for a dog that needs it.
You can check out these websites for Eskies that you can adopt or rehome:
- Eskie Rescuers United (Pikesville, MD)
- Heart Bandits American Eskimo Dog Rescue (Fresno, CA)
- Chicagoland Eskie Rescue (Elmhurst, IL)
- American Eskimo Rescue STL (St. Louis, MO)
- Ohio American Eskimo Rescue (Cleveland, OH)
Curious about American Eskimo Dog mixes?
If you think that the Eskie is cute, wait until you see these adorable mixes.
These designer dogs blend the looks and personality traits of two incredible canines to make something new and equally extraordinary.
American Eskimo Dog Husky mix (AKA Huskimo)
A mix of Siberian Husky and American Eskimo Dog, these medium-sized dogs are cute, loyal, playful, and have tons of energy. They can be hard to control, as they are very boisterous.
American Eskimo Dog Pomeranian mix (AKA Pomimo)
A hybrid breed created with a Pomeranian and an Eskie, this cute creature is a small, spunky, and intelligent pooch.
Also known as Eskipom or Eskiranian, they can have the short and thick coat of the American Eskimo Dog or the longer coat of the Pomeranian.
Should you get an American Eskimo Dog?
If you are a first-time dog owner, this clever, energetic dog might not be the right fit for you.
They need to be well trained with a firm hand in order to be suitable household dogs. So you may find that they are a little much for you to handle.
That said, if you are fully aware of what life with an Eskie entails, they will make a wonderful friend and addition to your family.
They are loyal, loving, and fun to train. So if you have the energy, an American Eskimo Dog may be your perfect fit!
If you have an American Eskimo Dog, please leave a comment to tell us about your experience! We love to hear about your pups.