The American Eskimo Dog (or ‘Eskie’) is a breed of companion dog that was born in Northern Europe, specifically in Germany. It descended from various European Spitzes including the white German Spitz, white Keeshond, white Pomeranian, and the white Italian Spitz; hence, it is a member of the Spitz family.
It was originally referred to as the American Spitz but due to anti-German prejudice during World War I, it became known as the American Eskimo Dog in 1917. One reason was also to pay homage to the native Eskimo people who developed the large Nordic dogs associated with this breed.
Aside from being a companion and a watchdog, these dogs achieved wide popularity in the 1930s and 1940s as a circus performer, travelling throughout the United States and entertaining the audience with tricks.
Traits and Behavior
Bright, alert, friendly, and generally an obedient companion, the American Eskimo Dog is among the most biddable breed in the Spitz family. The Eskie learns quickly and is eager to please his owner, thus it is easy to train and often rank among the top scorers in obedience trials.
These dogs are also excellent watchdog. They tend to be very protective of their home and family.
American Eskimos like to work. They are naturally wary of strangers and unfamiliar animals, but once they are introduced to each other, it won’t take long for them to become instant friends.
Generally, they are good and outgoing towards children, their fellow dogs, and as well as other pets.
One important thing to always remember is that if you allow these dogs to assume that they are above you, various behavioral issues might arise.
These includes (but not limited to): separation anxiety, obsessive barking, aggressiveness, stubbornness, and aloofness.
Without keeping their minds busy and activated, they can become hyperactive which people will surely find very annoying.
Pet Care and Diseases
The American Eskimo Dog is generally very healthy. However, some rare health concerns have been reported to several dogs of this same breed:
- PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
- Luxating patella
- Hip dysplasia
Health testing should be performed by all responsible breeders and anyone purchasing a puppy should be aware of the genetic problems which have been found in some individuals of this particular breed.
Pay close attention to the eyes and tear ducts. Some are allergic to fleas. The thick, snowy white, double coat is easy to maintain. Using a soft bristle brush, comb or brush it twice every week or once daily when it is shedding.
The Eskie is energetic and very active indoors, so it needs a good workout every day. Also, aside from exercise, this breed needs a proper diet to maintain overall well being since it tends to become overweight so easily.
The extent of the workout depends on the size of the dog. With the larger Eskies, a good jog or long walks is enough. Actually, for all varieties of American Eskimo, vigorous games and activities will do okay as long as the dog does it regularly.
The American Eskimo dog is a Nordic type of breed that can either be small or medium in size. They share a common resemblance with the Japanese Spitz and Samoyed dog. There are three varieties for this breed – the toy, miniature and standard.
- Toy: 9-12 inches and 6-10 lbs
- Miniature: 12-15 inches and 10-17 lbs
- Standard: 15-20 inches and 18-35 lbs
The American Eskimo has a wedge-shaped head with a muzzle and skull about the same length. The body is elongated.
It has erect, triangular-shaped ears, and a heavily plumed tail curled over the back. Strong pairs of legs allow the Eskie to move and run with high energy. The profuse coat is always white, or white cream markings.
The skin layer beneath the thick fur is pink or gray. Black is the accepted color for its eyelids, gums, nose and pads. The coat is heavy around the neck, creating a ruff or mane, especially among the males.
The American Eskimo dog can live up to 15 years or more. The average number of puppies per litter is 5. Other names for this breed are Eskie, Eskimo Spitz, American Spitz, and German Spitz.
Visit this dog club website dedicated to American Eskimo dogs. Click this link: http://www.aedca.org/