American Eskimo Dog

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Species group:

Other name(s): Eskie; American Eskimo; American Spitz

The basics:
The American Eskimo Dog is a furry white cutie that belongs to the Spitz family. It looks huggable and is certainly well-regarded as a pet, thanks to its high intelligence and engaging personality. Because it's so open to training and performing, the Eskie has often appeared in circus acts across America. However, thanks to this same high intelligence, a neglected Eskie will find a way to cause trouble. Be sure you have enough time to spend in vigorous play that involves both body and mind if you're thinking about this breed.

The name is completely misleading. The dog was brought to American by German immigrants. However, it began to be recognized as a distinct breed at the same time as the beginning of World War I, when anti-German sentiment was at a high. Therefore, the name was changed from the German Spitz Dog to the American Eskimo Dog.

Appearance / health:
Eskies are recognized by the American Kennel Club (“AKC”) in three varieties: the Toy, which is 9 - 12 inches at the withers; the Miniature, which is between 12 - 15 inches; and the Standard, between 15 - 19 inches.

Eskies give an appearance of a strong, compact, agile dog, with a broad chest. Their neck is thick; their legs are medium length and should be well boned. Though Eskies are born with floppy ears, the ears should stand erect in adulthood. Overall, the American Eskimo Dog should give an appearance of a dog that’s been bred for hard work and endurance.

The Eskie should have a large, wedge-shaped head that is broad and “Nordic” in type and the adults have triangle-shaped ears that stand up (the ears of an Eskie puppy typically flop over). The head of the female is narrower than the male. Their dark eyes are widely spaced and slanting and, while their eyes may sometimes be hazel or yellow, they should never be rounded or bulged. The Eskie has a tapered muzzle that is neither too short nor too long. Their tails curl up and over their backs, in a feather-like manner; this is referred to as a “plume.” Females will sometimes carry their tails down.

Eskies have beautiful and distinctive black (preferable) or brown lips, noses and eye rims. Some consider blue eyes in an Eskie to be an indication of poor health or less than desirable breeding. Blue eyes are considered a defect.

The American Eskimo dog is a heavier than average shedder. During coat blows, your Eskie will need to be brushed daily. For general maintenance of the coat, brushing three or four times a week using a firm bristle brush will go far to keeping the coat in good condition and, even more importantly, this regular brushing goes far toward preventing matting and tangling of the coat. Bathing should be done only when necessary as Eskies tend to have very dry skin and it is very important to brush and comb them until they are fully tangle-free before bathing. As a rule, the Eskie does not have any natural odor and are self-groomers.

Food habits: American Eskimo Dogs have been noted to display food habits different from other breeds and can be very picky eaters. You may notice your Eskie eating fast or, sometimes, they avoid eating at all if they do not like the food. A human-grade, quality dog food that contains no corn is recommended. Many dogs, including the American Eskimo Dog, are allergic to corn; furthermore, corn is not easily digestible. If you notice your Eskie refusing to eat, it is recommended that you try several different foods in order to find one that he likes.

The American Eskimo can do well as an apartment dog provided he can be provided with frequent, long walks and stimulating games. A dog tired from proper exercise is less likely to indulge in destructive behavior. Of course, a nice backyard, properly fenced, is always the preferable environment for your companion dog to safely play and run of excess energy.

The American Eskimo Dog is, for the most part, a healthy breed. However, they can be prone to: Progressive Retinal Atrophy (“PRA”), bladder stones, elbow and knee degeneration, luxating patella, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, cataracts, and epilepsy. The Eskie can be prone to allergies, particularly flea allergies. If your Eskie is not kept flea-free, it can suffer from flea-bite dermatitis/acute moist dermatitis, also known as “hot spots.”

Behavior / temperament:
American Eskimo Dogs are smart, curious, and can be mischievous if it is not properly trained as a puppy and if it is not given something to do; they also have high problem solving skills and incredible agility – two qualities that could cause an untrained Eskie to find all kinds of “fun” stuff to get into. Properly trained, the Eskie can be a very obedient member of the family. They do require mental and physical stimulation and will invent “jobs” for themselves if not given any by their owners.

The Eskie is a wonderful companion dog, as well as a very good watch dog. They are protective by nature but seldom bite; an excellent watchdog that is non-threatening and non-aggressive. They can be “alert barkers,” alerting their people to unfamiliar activity and, to some, this alert barking can become a nuisance. They are very loyal; quite busy and playful as a puppy; and mature into an affectionate companion that enjoys attention. They are suspicious, reserved, and distrustful of strangers. An untrained Eskie who has not been properly socialized as a puppy can be very willful and they can easily develop bad habits if they are not healthily stimulated.

The American Eskimo Dog is extremely intelligent and therefore is easy to train, particularly if the training begins early in puppyhood. The Eskie is obedient and eager to please, but requires firm, fair, and consistent training to achieve and maintain proper social skills. Socialization from an early stage is will, in most cases, prevent later aggressive tendencies.

Eskies are barkers. They were originally bred to warn their owners if anything abnormal approached the home / farm, and they haven't forgotten their watchdog instincts.

Is a American Eskimo Dog right for you?

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American Eskimo Dog, Baby is a baby!

I have been the proud co-owner of a Purebred American Eskimo named Baby for 14 years. We did not know that he would live up to his name so well at birth, as his name was simply the next step from his parents, Guy and Lady. But boy did he turn out to be a big baby. Scared of hi...

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