- American Eskimo dogs descend from the ancient spitz family of dogs. In fact, this breed is the one many people think of when they think of a spitz. Typical of the spitz family, they have many features to combat cold weather, including a thick coat, small ears, and a bushy tail to warm the nose when curled up sleeping.
- They probably were developed from spitz-type dogs in Germany, with input from other spitz breeds such as the Pomeranian, Volpino Italiano, and Keeshond. In fact, it was the exclusion of white Keeshonden and oversize Pomeranians in the early 1900s that produced a population of dogs that probably played a large role in establishing the American Eskimo dog.
- These dogs were general farm dogs and watchdogs, and they often accompanied their owners to America.
- The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1913 as the American spitz.
- In the 1920s, the breed gained fame as a circus dog, and many circuses sold puppies on the side. Old pedigrees included information on what tricks each ancestor could do.
- After World War I, the breed's name was changed to the less Germanic-sounding American Eskimo.
- The AKC did not recognize the breed in part because most people did not keep acceptable records attesting to their pure breeding. Once this was overcome, the AKC recognized them as the American Eskimo dog in 1994.
American Eskimo Behavior Concerns
- Makes an amiable and energetic companion; an excellent watchdog.
- Playful and generally good with children.
- True to its spitz heritage, it is independent, bold and adventurous.
- A one family dog, tending to be aloof toward strangers. Early socialization so that it willingly accepts new people is important.
- Some can be unfriendly toward other dogs and pets.
- Learns quickly, but can be stubborn.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or games.
- Some tend to bark a lot, which should be discouraged from an early age.
American Eskimo Suggested Exercises
- Makes a lively and alert housedog.
- Larger Eskies require a good walk or run every day.
- Although many of the physical exercise needs of the toy variety can be met with indoor games, it still needs the mental stimulation of walking and sniffing outdoors.
- Most Eskies do well in dog parks.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Its thick coat provides good protection against cold weather but may make it prone to overheating.
American Eskimo Grooming
- Coat is made up of a soft thick undercoat covered by a longer harsh outer coat.
- Brushing and combing twice weekly-more when shedding heavily-is necessary to prevent matting.
- The hair around the anus should be checked regularly for hygiene issues.
- Shedding is above average.
Suggested American Eskimo Nutritional Needs
- Eskies tend to stay in good weight or to be slightly overweight. The thick coat can obscure weight problems, so be sure to use your hands to feel.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Toy Eskie puppies should be fed often to prevent hypoglycemia, a serious condition to which very small puppies are prone. Meals of high protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates may also help guard against this condition. This should not be a concern in larger varieties.