The American Eskimo, also widely known as an Eskie, is a small to medium-size Nordic-type dog and is bred in three sizes, Toy, Miniature, and Standard. The Eskie has a bright white coat, distinctive black facial points on its nose, lips, and eye rims, and triangle-shaped ears that stand up. The Eskie breed has a double coat consisting of a short undercoat and a long outer coat that stands off the body and require brushing twice a week to prevent matted hair. Like other Spitz breeds, the American Eskimo loves running and requires daily exercise but is calm and well-mannered indoors.
The American Eskimo dog, often referred to as “the beautiful dog” for its long soft coat, is a descendant of an ancient line of dogs extended as far back as the Stone Age, 6000 years ago. Ancient as the bloodline is, this beautiful dog is a close relative of the German Spitz, whose character was first recorded in 1450 in Central Europe as being a valiant defender of homes and field. Before World War I, the American Eskimo dog was known as the American Spitz, a close relative of the German Spitz. However, growing anti-German sentiment in the first half of the 20th century made it necessary to alter the dog’s name to the American Eskimo; despite the dog not having any cultural or genetic links to American or Inuit culture. Many believe the kennel name these dogs were bred in contributed to the name change.
The Eskie close relative, the German Spitz, was originally bred as a watchdog for farmers. The Spitz was not chosen for its aggression but its vocalization and ability to alert people to potential threats. The American Eskimos, like its German cousin, is vocal and a capable watchdog but the Eskie was bred for entertainment. Many American Eskimos first captured the hearts of Americans and European alike with their tricks and abilities and were featured in many traveling circuses as tightrope walking dogs.
The American Eskimo is considered a small, white Spitz-type dog descendant of the German Spitz, white Keeshond, or possibly white Pomeranians that migrated with Europeans in the 19th century. The breed was further distinguished from its cousins in 1917, earning its name as the American Eskimo, and was finally recognized by the American Kennel Club as its own breed in 1994 as a non-sporting dog.
The American Eskimo is a companion dog who embodies strength and agility as well as alertness and beauty; thus, well representing its moniker, “the beautiful dog.” Overall, the American Eskimo is a compact canine, well balanced with a smooth gait. His face is a Nordic type with black points and triangular-shaped ears. Eskies have a keen, intelligent expression in their eyes, which are slightly oval shaped.
The preferred coat color is pure white, though cream colored biscuit is accepted. The Eskie’s coat consists of long soft guard hairs that grow through a dense undercoat to form the overcoat. The American Eskimo is recognized in three sizes; the Toy, measuring 9 to 12 inches, the Miniature, measuring 12 to 15 inches, and the Standard, measuring 15 to 19 inches. All classes have a ruff (mane), though this is more pronounced in the males, and all classes have a tail that curls at the buttock.
The American Eskimo requires frequent brushing because they have fluffy white colored fur that sheds a lot. It is best to brush your American Eskimo two to three times a week to prevent matting and keep his hair well feathered. The American Eskimo’s fur contains oil that prevents dirt from adhering to it so frequent brushing will also help keep your dog clean.
The American Eskimo’s skin is very sensitive and bathing may irritate the skin. Baths should only be given once every couple of months and depending on how dirty the dog is. However, since American Eskimos are prone to eye issues and tear staining, you should clean their eyes often. While grooming, always check your dog’s ears for dirt and possible infection. You may use a pH-balanced ear cleaner at the recommendation of your veterinarian to help keep your American Eskimo’s ears healthy.
The American Eskimo is a very active dog and requires daily exercise. The dog was bred as a watchdog for cooler climates and does very well outside though its size makes it well suited for small spaces. The American Eskimo is a versatile dog capable of living in any climate and any space as long as it can get daily exercise and socialization.
The diet of American Eskimo dogs is much the same as other small and medium-sized breeds but be mindful of your dog’s reaction to any foods. The American Eskimo may be allergic to some food, like salmon and some veterinarians have advised against rawhide chews.