American Eskimo Dog

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Are you looking for a dog with looks and charm who is also great with kids? The American Eskimo Dog may just be your perfect family pet.

Also known as the American Spitz or Eskie, the American Eskimo Dog is a small to medium size breed known for its intelligence, loyalty and playful personality. With their striking appearance and strong work ethic, it’s no wonder that these dogs have been popular for the past 100 years or more.

Friends of ours had an American Eskimo Dog–which they referred to as a Spitz. In fact, its name might have even been Spitz. Anyway, Spitz was always great with our daughters.

You may recall the American Eskimo puppy in the hilarious Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds films “The Proposal.”

Here are ideas on how to find dog names inspired by movies and theater.

Press still from “The Proposal.” Photo credit: IMDB

Perhaps I should add this dog to my friendliest dog breeds article.

History of the American Eskimo Dog

From their early days as working dogs — as herders, hunters, guards, watchdogs, and even pulling carts and sleds — to being circus performers, this breed has an interesting evolution story.

The American Eskimo dog breed is included in the Nordic Spitz breed (the Spitz breed also includes Pomeranians, Samoyeds and Keeshonds.) My dog Sadie is part Pomerians. However, unlike the all-white Spitz, she is black and brown. I digress.

The breed was originally called the German Spitz. However, during the 1910s and ‘20s, when anti-German sentiment was at a peak, the breed’s name was changed to the “American Eskimo Dog” in an effort to distance them from their German roots. In 1923, the United Kennel Club (UKC) officially changed its name.

In 1995, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the American Eskimo Dog. Today, they are a popular companion animal in the United States.

Eskimo dog with striking features

Eskies are beautiful dogs with several distinctive features. Here is some basic American Eskimo dog breed information.

American Eskimo dog coat

This breed has a thick coat. Like other Nordic breed dogs, they have a double-layer coat that can protect them from very cold temperatures.

Their thick coat is easy to maintain, requiring nothing more than a once- or twice-weekly brushing. However, because of their double coat, they do shed quite a bit as the seasons change.

Unfortunately, due to this shedding, I can’t include them on my list of hypoallergenic dog breeds.

In addition to their overall thick coat, they have a “mane” of fur around their neck, which gives them a regal appearance.

Colors of American Eskimo dogs

Nearly every dog has a thick, white coat. However, you might find some biscuit-colored bits mixed in it.

On the other hand, you’ll never see an Eskimo dog or Spits that is black or brown. If you do, it’s likely not a purebred.

Head and face

You’ll notice that their heads are wedge-shaped and they have pointed snouts with black eyes, lips and noses. They have perky “up ears” that make them appear especially alert. Frankly, I think they look like two little triangles on top of their heads.

American Eskimo dog size

Eskie dogs come in a range of sizes. In general, they can weigh between six and 35 pounds, depending on the “kind” of dog you get.

The American Kennel Club recognizes three sizes:

  • Toy American Eskimos start as small as 9 inches tall
  • Miniatures range from 11–15 inches
  • Standard American Eskimos max out at 19 inches tall

Dog temperament

In addition to their stunning appearance, these dogs are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They are generally good with children and other pets. Also, they are known to develop a strong bond with their family.

American Eskimo Dogs are highly trainable, affectionate and love to play. This, of course, makes them great pets, especially for families.

Whether you get an American Eskimo puppy or a full grown one from a rescue, you’ll find them easy to incorporate into your family life.

Health concerns and issues

These spitz dogs are a relatively healthy breed, but like any breed, there are certain health conditions that might be more common for them.

One of these fairly common health issues is hip dysplasia, which affects many small dog breeds, including the Eskie. It’s a condition where the hip joint doesn’t form properly and can cause pain and lameness.

Eye problems, like cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, can lead to vision loss for Eskies.

American Eskimo Dogs are also at risk for skin allergies, which can cause itching and discomfort. That seems almost ironic, given their thick coat. But it happens.

How To Keep an Eskie Happy

American Eskimo dogs may be on the small side, but they still require plenty of daily exercise. Walks, hikes, playing fetch and running through fields are great ways to keep them in shape.

Eskies also need plenty of mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They are intelligent dogs who love training and solving puzzles. Providing them with toys, working on skills, and playing games will keep them sharp.

Bred for cold weather, these dogs love a good romp in the snow. On a snowy winter day, head outside for some doggy playtime.

In warmer climates, you can always interest them in a game of fetch or entertain them with long walks or trips to the dog park. Maybe bring along some ice cubes or other frozen treats to keep them cool and hydrated.

American Eskimo Dog rescues

If you like to rescue dogs as our family does, you may be surprised to learn that there are purebred dog rescues. This includes the American Eskimo or Spitz.

You can start your search on and then filter by breed.

In addition, I would recommend finding Facebook groups dedicated to Eskies or Spitzes. These can be a great resource when looking to adopt.

A great family dog

In addition to their affectionate, trainable and playful nature, American Eskimos are an adaptable breed. They can thrive in a variety of environments, even apartment living. This is true, as long as they are you give them plenty of opportunities to exercise and interact with their families.

If you want to dive more deeply into dog breed information, standard breed characteristics, or find a purebred to add to your family, visit the American Eskimo Dog Club of America. They even have rescue resources on their website.

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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